Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Clues to the Universe



by
Christina Li

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Quill Tree
Imprint
Print
ISBN
9780063008885
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism
$16.30
SEE MEMBER PRICE
QTY

This #ownvoices debut about losing and finding family, forging unlikely friendships, and searching for answers to questions bigger than yourself will resonate with fans of Erin Entrada Kelly, Sara Pennypacker, and Rebecca Stead.

The only thing Rosalind Ling Geraghty loves more than watching NASA launches with her dad is building rockets with him. When he’s unexpectedly killed, all Ro has left of him is an unfinished model rocket they had been working on together.

Benjamin “Benji” Burns doesn’t like science, but he can’t get enough of Spacebound, his favorite comic book series. When he finds a sketch that suggests his dad created the comics, he’s thrilled. Too bad his dad walked out on the family years ago and Benji has no way of contacting him.

Though Ro and Benji were only supposed to be science class partners, the unlikely pair become friends: Benji helps Ro finish her rocket, and Ro figures out a way to reunite Benji and his dad. But Benji hesitates, which infuriates Ro. Doesn’t he realize how much Ro wishes she could be in his place?

As the two face bullying, grief, and their own differences, Benji and Ro must try to piece together clues to some of the biggest questions in the universe.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

304

Trim Size

8 3/10" x 5 1/2"

Dewey

F

AR

4.5: points 9

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Mar 2021

Book Genres

Fiction

Topics

Friendship. Loss. Family life. Single-parent families. Middle schools. Science fairs. Model rockets. Outer space. Comic books. The 1980s. Absent fathers. Asian Americans (biracial). Bullying.

Standard MARC Records

Download Standard MARC Records

Cover Art

Download Cover Art

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 4-7–Twelve-year-olds Ro and Benji are both having a rough start to the school year. Ro’s father recently died, and her mother can no longer afford her private school tuition. Transferring to a school where she knows no one proves difficult, and overhearing conversations of students trying to guess her biracial ethnicity (she is white and Chinese) is painful. Benji, who is white, is lonely and aimless because his best friend, Amir, moved across the country. When Ro and Benji begin working on a science fair project together, an unlikely friendship is formed. While the two are very different in terms of personality and interests, they bond over the shared experience of not having a father. The combination of Ro’s aptitude for science and logic and Benji’s artistic talents and laid-back personality results in a good team. Soon the two are working on more than a science fair project. They are helping each other fulfill a dream that will bring them closer to their absent fathers—building the rocket Ro and her dad were going to work on together and tracking down Benji’s comic book creator father. Since the story is set in the 1980s, before use of the internet was widespread, finding Benji’s father is no easy task. The novel feels contemporary, so the setting may be somewhat confusing for readers who don’t understand the technological limitations. Ro and Benji alternate narration, which helps the reader see their evolving perspectives of each other and provides a mechanism for telling their backstories. The book would have benefited from a stronger distinction between the two voices, though a heading at the beginning of each chapter indicates which character is speaking. It is refreshing to see a strong friendship between female and male characters depicted in a middle grade novel; it’s the authenticity of this relationship that drives the heart of the story. VERDICT The message of resilience, courage, and friendship will resonate widely with young readers. Themes touched on include grief, fears, bullying, and identity, making the work highly discussable and a good candidate for classroom use.–Juliet Morefield, Multnomah Cty. Lib., Portland, OR

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 4-7–Twelve-year-olds Ro and Benji are both having a rough start to the school year. Ro’s father recently died, and her mother can no longer afford her private school tuition. Transferring to a school where she knows no one proves difficult, and overhearing conversations of students trying to guess her biracial ethnicity (she is white and Chinese) is painful. Benji, who is white, is lonely and aimless because his best friend, Amir, moved across the country. When Ro and Benji begin working on a science fair project together, an unlikely friendship is formed. While the two are very different in terms of personality and interests, they bond over the shared experience of not having a father. The combination of Ro’s aptitude for science and logic and Benji’s artistic talents and laid-back personality results in a good team. Soon the two are working on more than a science fair project. They are helping each other fulfill a dream that will bring them closer to their absent fathers—building the rocket Ro and her dad were going to work on together and tracking down Benji’s comic book creator father. Since the story is set in the 1980s, before use of the internet was widespread, finding Benji’s father is no easy task. The novel feels contemporary, so the setting may be somewhat confusing for readers who don’t understand the technological limitations. Ro and Benji alternate narration, which helps the reader see their evolving perspectives of each other and provides a mechanism for telling their backstories. The book would have benefited from a stronger distinction between the two voices, though a heading at the beginning of each chapter indicates which character is speaking. It is refreshing to see a strong friendship between female and male characters depicted in a middle grade novel; it’s the authenticity of this relationship that drives the heart of the story. VERDICT The message of resilience, courage, and friendship will resonate widely with young readers. Themes touched on include grief, fears, bullying, and identity, making the work highly discussable and a good candidate for classroom use.–Juliet Morefield, Multnomah Cty. Lib., Portland, OR

Grades 5-7
Upper Elementary & Junior High
For Grades 5-7

The perfect literary mix for your middle-grade readers. Featuring subject matter a bit more complex and multi-dimensional, this category is packed with captivating novels and fascinating nonfiction. Expect the 12 books offered in tis category to fly off the shelf.

12 books per Year
$195.60 per Year
Interests
Clean Books,Chapter Books/Novels,Fiction,Reluctant Readers,Transitional Readers,Realistic Fiction
Like this book?
Get more like this every month.
LEARN MORE
Grades 5-7
Upper Elementary & Junior High
12 books per Year
$195.60 per Year

Other Recommended Titles From Upper Elementary & Junior High

Upper Elementary & Junior High

July 2021

Starfish

by Lisa Fipps

Upper Elementary & Junior High

June 2021

Of a Feather

by Dayna Lorentz

Upper Elementary & Junior High

May 2021

One Jar of Magic

by Corey Ann Haydu

Upper Elementary & Junior High

April 2021
Copyright © 2017 Magento, Inc. All rights reserved.