2014 Hub Reading Challenge discussion

The Universe Versus Alex Woods
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Jenni Frencham (jennifrencham) I ended up enjoying this book a lot more than I expected. Alex and Mr. Peterson are good characters and fun to get to know throughout the story. I also was glad that this book features several atheist and secular humanist characters, as that seems relatively rare in YA literature.

message 2: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Ann atheists? (pops head up like meerkat)

Jenni Frencham (jennifrencham) Yep, Rebecca, I thought of you when I read this one. I think you'll really like it. :D

Adrienne | 6 comments This one was a pleasant surprise. In fact, it is on my list of favorites in the 2014 Challenge.

Kelly | 13 comments It took me a couple of chapters to get into this, but once I was in, I couldn't put it down. Here is the review I wrote... Spoiler alert, in case you haven't read it yet (but not a terrible spoiler...just a hint of what's to come.)

** spoiler alert ** OK, let''s start with the obvious....I LOVE Kurt Vonnegut and there is a lot of connecting him and his books to the lives of the characters in this book. So there. There's that. And it deals with some big issues in a pretty cool way- euthanasia, seizure disorders (you learn a lot about that), coming of age, taking a stand, genuine friendship between an adolescent and an older man, religion.

The book opens with 17 year old Alex Woods getting pulled over at customs with a ton of marijuana and an urn of ashes. He's famous...and you want to know why. But you'll have to wait until the end of the book for the whole story. In the meantime, you discover...

Alex was hit in the head by a meteorite when he was ten years old. He developed a seizure disorder and learns how to control it through meditation....His mother reads tarot cards. His best friend is a disabled Vietnam vet who recently lost his wife and who has a marijuana habit. There are bullies at his school.... One of my favorite parts of this book (and one I'll be using as a discussion point for my middle schoolers, even if I do it as an excerpt) had to do with what made bullies pick on certain people. He talked about being different, and all of the ways to be different, and how he hit the motherload of different. He's different in such a cool way, though. In my opinion, the best thing about Alex is that he doesn't have an agenda. He is an innocent. I love that about him. :)

Lucie | 11 comments I loved this one, it is definitely one of my favorites in the Hub challenge! I thought the voice was so strong, and it was a wonderful story about (among many things) figuring out what you believe in and what is important to you. Extence's writing made me actually laugh sometimes, which was great, but it was also so wonderfully earnest and as Kelly said, innocent.

It definitely fits my definition of what an Alex award winner should be like, so good on them!

Cindy | 7 comments Great read and it gave me a lot to think about. I'll definitely recommend this book to others.

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