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Closer to Nowhere

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  987 ratings  ·  243 reviews
A novel in verse about coming to terms with indelible truths of family and belonging.

For the most part, Hannah's life is just how she wants it. She has two supportive parents, she's popular at school, and she's been killing it at gymnastics. But when her cousin Cal moves in with her family, everything changes. Cal tells half-truths and tall tales, pranks Hannah constantly,
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published October 6th 2020 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
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Emma Lauren No there is not! Just finished today, and there is NO profanity, and NO sex. The main characters are 12, and is told from their perspective.
kate ♥ Read it however you want! Don't feel like you have to read it a certain way :)…moreRead it however you want! Don't feel like you have to read it a certain way :)(less)

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Rating details
 ·  987 ratings  ·  243 reviews

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Ms. Yingling
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Hannah is happy with her life, but things have been upended ever since her mother's twin sister, Caryn, died of cancer. Her cousin, Cal, lived with his father for a while, but his father used drugs and was abusive. When he went to jail, Cal ended up with Hannah's family. Suffering from PTSD, Cal's behavior can be erratic, and he sometimes runs away or has screaming fits. Hannah's mother tells her that this is Cal's way of coping, and that these things helped him s
CutieChuchu(っ.❛ ᴗ ❛.)っ
Hold on---

Finally got a good cry after a while. This book made me feel variety of emotions and this is absolutely one of my favourites now.

This story follows the life of two cousins, Cal and Hannah. Cal is currently in the custody of Hannah's parents after his mother passed away due to cancer and his father locked in the jail because of abuse and possession of illegal drugs. Things gone complicated as Hannah's parents' relationship became shaky and she slightly blamed Cal over this sad eve
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A sincere and heartfelt 5 stars! Bless you Ellen Hopkins for telling a story you know to be true in nature, and help others to see into "troubled kids". A truly beautiful story illustrating the inner thoughts of kids from troubled families, and how their classmates can perceive them and learn to understand them. So glad I mowed through it in about 5 hours before my free copy expired!

And I cried over the leotard ;)
Shaye Miller
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this one really hit me in the gut. It was the perfect time to read it, too, since they were preparing for Thanksgiving dinner near the end. The story focuses on Hannah and her cousin, Cal. These two couldn’t be more different from one another, even though they look very much alike. Hannah lives in a home with a loving mother and father, she’s an accomplished gymnast, and she’s very popular at her school. Cal’s father is in prison and his mother (who was twins with Hannah’s mother) recently ...more
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Calvin’s mother has died and his father is in prison. He is sent to live with his mother’s twin sister and her family. This means he is forced to get along with his cousin Hannah who couldn’t be more different.

The story is written in verse and in alternating viewpoints: Cal’s and Hannah‘s. I like that we hear the story from the pre-teen’s perspective. The characters are twelve, but they read older to me; more evolved with their thoughts and understanding of the world.

The story focuses on Cal’s
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Absolute brilliance. The structure. The message. Another masterpiece by Ellen Hopkins.
Deena Lipomi
Nov 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Middle-schooler Hannah has two great parents, friends at school, and a budding dance or gymnastics career, but a year ago her same age cousin Cal had to move in with them after his mom died and dad went to prison. She tolerates his outbursts and tall tales, but knows he's put a strain on her parents, which all comes to a head on Thanksgiving. EH's first middle grade novel is based on her experiences raising her 9yo grandson and the PTSD he suffered between his addicted mom and absent dad. It rin ...more
Mar 04, 2020 marked it as to-read
ahhhhh 😍😍
Laurie Hnatiuk
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, middle-grade, verse
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and G.P. Putman’s Son’s for a digital eARC of this book.

As a first time reader of author Ellen Hopkins, I truly hope that she will continue to share stories for middle grade readers, her MG debut is gut-wrenchingly powerful. A story told in verse, we meet Cal and Hannah who are cousins who have their worlds turned upside down when Cal comes to live with Hannah’s family. Hannah’s mom and Cal’s mom were identical twins and with the death of Cal’s mom due to cancer and his f
Sierra Dertinger
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What I love about this novel-in-verse is the dual perspective between Hannah and Cal. Hannah is the popular girl at school, she has friends, a loving family, and there's nothing really wrong with her life until Cal moves in with her. Cal is her cousin and he's known for having episodes at school when he is stressed out and/or bullied. No one really hangs out with him, and he often keeps to himself. However, when he is at "home" with Hannah and her family he loves to prank Hannah on the regular. ...more
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have been a huge fan of Ellen Hopkins for years, reading everything that she publishes. I was so excited to see she was writing a middle grade story about Cal and his cousin Hannah.

I loved this story! It was so sad but I loved Cal so much. He has been through so much in his short life and while he is so sweet and kind, he doesn't show that side to anyone. He loves his aunt, uncle and cousin, but knows that him being there is causing problems and he doesn't like that. My heart just broke for h
Jamie K
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-shelf
I just want to thank Ellen Hopkins for writing this story. It's true, heart felt, and was a story that needed to be shared. Her books have saved me on countless occasions and I'm sure this book will do the same for children. Her books make u feel heard, understood, and not alone. This book is no exception and as her first middle grade, this one is special. Please give it a read :) ...more
Andrea Arango
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Coño, this book hit me deep. I don't talk about it often here, but I was a foster mom up until this past summer. I fostered teens. I don't know if/when I'll keep fostering. Letting go of my last foster daughter is something I am not fully over, nor can really discuss here. But wow this book took me back.

Stories like these are so important, y'all. Whether or not kids realize it, there will always be someone in their classroom struggling with trauma. With PTSD. With foster care or kinship care or
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Penguin and Edelweiss for the advance Kindle copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for this heartfelt novel in verse. It is told in two voices: cousins Hannah and Cal. Cal has been living with Hannah’s family after his mother (Hannah’s mother’s twin) died of cancer, and his father is in prison. He has outbursts at school, makes up ridiculous stories, and in Hannah’s opinion ruins her life. What she doesn’t realize, though, is the extent of everything Cal has been thr
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Closer to Nowhere by Ellen Hopkins, 416 pages. Putnam’s (Penguin), OCT 2020. $18

Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG (abuse mentioned); Violence: PG (school lockdown)



Since her cousin Cal moved in with her family, Hannah, 12yo, has struggled to empathize with him or, sometimes, really tolerate him. She knows that Cal has dealt with a lot of crap – his mother died of cancer three years ago, and his entire life his father has been opp
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow... I read this book in one sitting... I have so many emotions running through my mind right now... I can’t lie... this book broke me. It made me cry. It made me mad. It made me afraid. It put me on the edge of my seat. It made my heart pound. It made my heart break.
This is Ellen Hopkins first middle grade novel, and I will admit it’s a tough one to get through.
TW: death, abuse, bully’s, violence, alcoholism, verbal abuse from family members, young child running away, PTSD.
I love all of El
Jessica White
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ellen Hopkins has written a beautiful middle-grade novel.

Closer to Nowhere follows cousins, Cal and Hannah.
Both of them have been only children for a very long time, that is until Cal moves in with Hannah's family. Cal's had a rough go of it; his dad is in prison, his mother's cancer just killed her. So the closest relative he was placed with was Aunt Taryn, his mom's identical twin sister. Hannah wasn't ready to share her family, her home, her school, and her friends with Cal. He struggles with
I put Closer to Nowhere on my TBR as soon as I heard about it, and in the time I waited for it to come out, I almost decided to skip reading it. On a whim, I checked it out from my library, and before I decided to return it (after having way too many books checked out and feeling the pressure to return some), I decided to read a chapter of two first. That was yesterday evening, and I ended up reading over 200 pages in one sitting. Now, after finishing the book (after my second sitting), I have t ...more
Melissa Mcavoy
Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Some people are just a pain and Hannah is certain her cousin Cal is one of those people. Hannah is organized, directed, athletic - she plans on competing in the Olympics in gymnastics - and popular. She and her very supportive parents have a great life until the death of her mom’s twin sister lands her family with custody of Cal. Cal is combative, sarcastic, fragile and he is in Hannah’s grade, so there is no escape from him at home and school.
I loved the structure of the story. Alternating chap
Liz Friend
May 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
The story: Hannah's family seems to be coming apart, and Hannah knows just who's to blame: her cousin Cal. Things were going fine before he moved in, with his screaming and running away and mean pranks. Cal can't help it that his mother died and his dad's in prison, and it seems that he can't even help his own bad behavior--but it's only as the whole family moves through the pain of his PTSD that there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel...right about the same time that his dad gets ...more
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Ellen Hopkins has done it again. It's been a minute since I have plowed through a book in a weekend, and I so miss being 12 and, like Cal, reading 3 books a week. This book is amazing. The emotions are real - the exploration of grief and loss, of belonging and family dynamics, of trauma and healing and hope is all so well done. A must for anyone working with traumatized youth who want to step into their skin for a bit, see the world through their eyes - and a must for other kids who may enc ...more
Jan 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
When I got this book, I didn't realize it was a novel in verse. However, once I opened it, it was obvious and the perfect format for this story. This book alternates from the point of view of Hannah and her cousin Cal. Both are 12 years old. Hannah is the only child of her two parents, who aren't getting along well. Her dad is constantly traveling and missing her gymnastics meets and dance recitals. Cal is the son of a mother who recently died of leukemia and a father that is abusive and was sen ...more
kate ♥
-this middle-grade novel in verse (!) deals with lots of hard things, especially PTSD as a teen and all that comes with someone moving into your home. i love how it was written, with a dual-perspective from both hannah and cal. it gives such an amazing view -- what it's like for the person dealing with all this inside, and what others see on the outside, and how hannah and cal grow and learn to see more of each other's views.
-books like these truly give me such empathy and understandin
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, 2020, poetry
I received an E-ARC from Penguin via Net Galley after attending an ALA webinar. I am not a big fan of e-readers, but I’m happy I decided to download and read this book on my kindle because it is so so good! They story of a boy, Cal, who has had much trauma in his short life on earth. When his mother dies, he ends up living with her twin sister and her family. Cal’s cousin Hannah and his uncle are not very excited to have him around. Cal’s PTSD makes his behavior volatile and unpredictable which ...more
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Cal and Hannah are cousins who are the same age. Hannah is a popular girl in school, has Olympic dreams (gymnastics), and is close to her parents. However, things started to change when her mom’s identical twin sister passed away. Things became harder for Hannah after Cal moved in. Cal plays pranks that frustrated and upset her. He also has meltdowns, tells lies, and more.

The story is told in verse through alternating perspectives; thus the reader gets to know Cal and Hannah fairly well. The cou
Hannah White
That was so good. From the first poem, I was hooked--heart and soul. Cal's story is heart-wrenching, and Hannah is super relatable. Between the two of them, I think most readers will connect pretty deeply with this book. Not to mention the poetry--it's so lyrical and beautiful, and I love the unique way each character's POV is written, with trademark intros and different fonts. I'd definitely recommend this novel--it's a really good story about learning to empathize and learning to accept the lo ...more
Feb 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
I had expectations for this book. And the book exceeded them.

Although the beginning was very slow, I really liked the characters and I could somewhat relate to them. I mean, Hannah was your typical gymnast, dancer girl which is kind of overused in books these days. But I really did like Cal. I thought he was neat and really liked his point of view. I though he looked at the world in a neat way.

I enjoyed this book and though it was very interesting and fun to read. Very well done.

Dena Smee
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rae Lipkin
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gifted, kids-books
A middle grade novel written in verse. YES PLEASE. Ellen Hopkins has done it again. This story pulls at my heart ♥️ and I found myself crying more than once. I’m in awe and so sad how adults treat their children. Hopkins did a magnificent job because she’s a fantastic writer but also because she knows from experience. This story is fiction but can easily be a story of a child we know right now.
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tbr-mg-general
Hopkins' novels-in-verse are always well-written and compelling. Her first foray into MG is no exception. CLOSER TO NOWHERE is fast-paced, engrossing, and even funny in places despite its heavy subject matter. Both Cal and Hannah are sympathetic characters who are easy to root for. The book teaches important lessons about seeking to understand before judging, the need for kindness and compassion, the true meaning of family, and standing up for one another. It also shows the far-reaching conseque ...more
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Ellen Hopkins is the New York Times bestselling author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks, Fallout, Perfect, Triangles, Tilt, and Collateral. She lives in Carson City, Nevada, with her husband and son. Hopkin's Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest pages get thousands of hits from teens who claim Hopkins is the "only one who understands me", and she can be visited at ellenhopkin ...more

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