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Thanks a Lot, Universe
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Thanks a Lot, Universe

4.90  ·  Rating details ·  39 ratings  ·  18 reviews
A moving middle-grade debut for anyone who’s ever felt like they don’t belong.

Brian has always been anxious, whether at home, or in class, or on the basketball court. His dad tries to get him to stand up for himself and his mom helps as much as she can, but after he and his brother are placed in foster care, Brian starts having panic attacks. And he doesn’t know if things
Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: May 11th 2021 by Amulet Books
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Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*ARC from Netgalley*

This book was a delight. Both light and heavy, this packed a little bit of everything and, while dark at times with difficult topics, it manages not to be too much on other stuff, like there was little to no homophobia and the bullying was tackled well, in my opinion.

Brian has the worst birthday ever and it's the start of so many things that can go wrong, and will actually go wrong. Poor boy, I wanted to hug him so badly. He went through so much, and he didn't deserve any of
Will Skrip
Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved Chad Lucas' triumphant THANKS A LOT, UNIVERSE. Told through the perspective of Brian and Ezra, two 13-year old boys navigating very truthful and well-developed obstacles, Lucas effortlessly balances the sweetness of adolescence with the actual challenges of real life. Without over-articulating exposition or surface character description, he skillfully writes a very memorable cast of characters. Even though the orbit of key individuals weaving in and out of the two boys' life i ...more
I haven't smiled so hard at the conclusion of the book in a long while. This book just makes you want to cheer (and cry) and laugh (and cry) and cheer some more. Brian and Ezra are two 7th-graders whose lives are changing in big ways. Brian's family is falling apart as his father faces legal troubles, his mother's mental health deteriorates, and his anxiety worsens. Ezra is questioning his sexuality and having to face the way friendships change (and fall apart) over time. This book takes on heav ...more
Nicole Lesperance
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you're looking for a book that perfectly demonstrates kindness and compassion in a modern, engaging, non-preachy way, this is it. Poor Brian goes through so much in this story, and the way the other characters look out for him, give him space for his feelings, and support him brought genuine tears to my eyes. The relationships, interactions, and dialogue felt very authentic, and I can see this really appealing to both male and female MG readers. This is one of my favorite reads of 2020, and i ...more
James O'Brien
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thanks A Lot, Universe follows two first-person POVs. Brian, a shy boy, suffering from social anxiety, and Ezra, a boy on Brian’s basketball team, who’s friend group is going through some changes. The two boys had a lot of fun together while serving as benchwarmers during the winter basketball season but grow apart as the school year nears its end.

This heartfelt middle-grade novel swept me off my feet. After I got my NetGalley ARC, I finished the book in just three days! The characters in this
Josephine Sorrell
Nov 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First off, I love the title of this book! It precedes the emotion you’ll experience as you read.

This is a very timely novel geared to the middle school reader who feels he/she just doesn’t have a place in the world. I guess that describes about 99% of the middle school population.

Brian is a worrier, he is anxious, at home, in class, and even on the basketball court. His dad who is quite the colorful guy, tries to get him to stand up for himself and his mom helps as much as she can. One day dis
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
THANKS A LOT, UNIVERSE is a stunning story about finding your people and being real – with them and with yourself. Brian is holding up under the weight of so very much (no spoilers here, though). Your heart breaks for him as he tries to care for his younger brother under extraordinary circumstances while simultaneously managing his own anxiety (he calls it SAWS, or Super Awkward Weirdo Syndrome). Ezra is the popular kid who is afraid to reveal his crush to his friends. You will root for him as h ...more
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this novel!

Told in alternating first person points of view, this delightful story of Brian and Ezra, two boys turning thirteen and learning to navigate the often-confusing world of adolescence, will pull you in from the first page. When you reach the inciting incident (quite early on), you'll be hooked until you finish reading! No spoilers here, though.

Many one-sentence paragraphs help make the pace lightning-fast. I read this in two days, which is some kind of miraculous record for me.
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks a Lot, Universe explores the changes that everyone experiences in middle school as well as some trauma that one main character, Brian, goes through. There is also excellent discussion of the evolution of a close friendship that has grown distant over the past year. Ezra isn’t happy about this and he is unsure of how he should handle the changes between him and his friend, Colby.

Another sub-plot is how Ezra deals with his growing feelings for Brian. He isn’t sure if he should tell him give
Emily Matthys bennett
Great characters, well written, and such a valuable story to tell! I love that the characters are so well developed and that we really get to see the perspectives of the two main characters as whole people. They're not caricatures or one dimensional. There are so many aspects of this story to love. I find very few works that really discuss some of the realities that many of our young people face.....criminal activity of the parents is one that often gets either overlooked or sensationalized. I l ...more
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Link to my book talk:

I LOVE this book! This is a beautiful story of two boys, Ezra and Brian, who live different lives- they have different friends circle, different personalities, different struggles, but they connect and make a really good and supportive relationship. Never underestimate a small act of kindness! You never know what the other person is going through. The author did such an incredible job of capturing the moments and describing the scenes. It's a gre
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Middle grade reader that is sure to appeal to students that feel like they are the only awkward or weird student in their class. Bryan has family problems and is expected to carry the load when his dad ditches the family because of legal troubles. His mom overdoses on pills and Bryan has to call the ambulance, all on his 13th birthday. Now he must take care of his brother and navigate middle school all on his own. Bryan’s story is interwoven with 4 other boys in his class, all trying to make the ...more
Sam Subity
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From the moment Brian's life implodes on the morning of his birthday, this story grabs you and doesn't let go. I loved 1) how the characters felt so real and relatable as they learn to embrace the "weird" stuff that makes them unique and 2) how the dual POV storytelling style lets you see the two main characters from within their heads and how they're seen by people around them. The author deftly balances the mix of heavy stuff and humor, and ends the story on a perfect note of hopefulness among ...more
Kate Foster
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Incredible! I absolutely LOVED this book. It has one of the best middle grade voices I've read in a while and is a masterclass in characterisation. All the characters are so real and so well balanced, I related to them all. It never once gets preachy or repetitive, ends realistically, and after I finished I continued to hope the characters went on to be happy. Brilliant!
Chrystal D. Giles
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant debut novel! There are so many great things to say about this book! It's complicated but easy to read, relatable but specific, each subplot and character is handled with nuance and care. This will be a very notable book in the upper MG space, prepare yourself for hearing about it often! Can't wait for more books by this author!
Nicole Melleby
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
A wonderful story about sexuality, mental health, and growing (and changing) friendships all while navigating junior high.
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Life is not going well for Brian, family, school and his anxiety are all spiraling out of control, leaving him feeling isolated and at sea.
Ezra on the other hand seems to have everything - friends, popularity, and a sunny disposition.
But like Brian, he's fighting doubts and trying his best to hide some truths from himself.
Told in alternating points of view, this wonderful debut is a celebration of compassion, growth, and the struggle to build resilience. Lucas tackles some very painful issues he
Jessica Vitalis
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this entire story in less than 24 hours; the book tackles heavy subjects but in a way that feels accessible to young readers. One of the main characters is forced to grow up too quickly after his father leaves and his mother lands in the hospital, but the support he finds in the community and a new group of friends pulls him out of a spiral of despair. The other main character has a seemingly perfect life, but through the dual POV perspective we learn that he's hiding an important part of ...more
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