The Center of Everything

The Center of Everything

eBook - 2013
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"Another gem from one of my favorite authors! Ruby Pepperdine and her wish will work their way into the center of your heart, where they'll remain (along with a yearning for donuts) long after you close the book." -- Ingrid Law, author of Savvy, a Newbery Honor Book "A beautiful, sensitive, thoughtful novel that will make you think and smile and think some more, and fall in love with Linda Urban's books." -- Kathryn Erskine, National Book Award-winner "Every book by Linda Urban makes me laugh, cry, hope, wonder, and fall in love with her writing. With The Center of Everything, she has done it again!" -- Barbara O'Connor, author of How to Steal a Dog "Throughout this slim, affecting novel, Urban treats Ruby's bewilderment with care, and gracefully reinforces the value of friends, family, and community." -- Booklist, starred review "Ruby's large imagination and even bigger heart are beautifully evoked as the sixth grader finds a way to keep the memory of her grandmother alive." -- Publishers Weekly "A poignant, finely wrought exploration of grief." -- Kirkus, starred review "By turns thought-provoking, humorous, and poignant, Ruby's story introduces a multi-faceted character well worth meeting." -- Horn Book "Give this to patient readers who enjoy Polly Horvath's The Vacation (2005) and Everything on a Waffle (2001)." -- School Library Journal "[Urban] compactly, gently addresses some common aspects of grief: the isolation, the regrets, the bargaining, and the epistemological questions about meaning. . . This is a terrific first step up for kids who are just beginning to explore more complicated novels." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review "The Center of Everything travels a satisfying, circular path that deliberately echoes the shape of a donut. . . . Wishing has a useful place both in childhood and in this novel; but so, too, does reality, especially when rendered with this kind of sensitivity." -- The New York Times Book Review
Spring 2013 Kids' Indie Next List For Ruby Pepperdine, the "center of everything" is on the rooftop of Pepperdine Motors in her donut-obsessed town of Bunning, New Hampshire, stargazing from the circle of her grandmother Gigi's hug. That's how everything is supposed to be -- until Ruby messes up and things spin out of control. But she has one last hope. It all depends on what happens on Bunning Day, when the entire town will hear Ruby read her winning essay. And it depends on her twelfth birthday wish -- unless she messes that up too. Can Ruby's wish set everything straight in her topsy-turvy world?
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013
ISBN: 9780547763835
Characteristics: data file
1 online resource (208 pages)
Call Number: eBook


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JCLChrisK May 23, 2014

I only regret my reading of this was so sporadic, because I'm pretty sure I would have gotten even more out of it and given it a higher rating had I enjoyed it as a continuous experience instead of a series of spurts.

Nearly the entire story takes place over the course of a single parade, after all. Ruby has won her town's annual essay contest and gets to read her winning entry as part of the festivities, and as she waits for her moment she reflects on everything that has led to it. Particularly, her bottled grief over her grandmother's death, her fight the day before with her two good friends, and her wish that she is sure will magically come true to make everything better. Ruby may appear nondescript and go (intentionally) unnoticed by most adults, but inside she is a mess of deep emotions, thoughts, worries, and questions.

Just like its protagonist, this is a deeply thoughtful, quietly affecting book that feels entirely real and true.

m2 Sep 03, 2013

Beautifully written and plotted book about a young girl's struggle to deal with grief over the loss of her grandmother. There is humor, sweetness, gentle sadness and the spark of a new relationship. Lovely.


A literary work of middle grade to its core, I’m not going to tell you that every kid that reads this book is going to love it, because it simply isn’t true. This is a book for the thinkers and the dreamers. Philosophical kiddos. Smarter than the average bear, Urban’s put her neck out there and written something big in a small package.

JCLBrownM Apr 30, 2013

Don't confuse this with Linda Moriarty's very good adult book with the same title, though both are about struggling young girls. This one is about 12 yr. olf Ruby Pepperdine who is struggling with the death of her grandmother and misunderstandings between friends.


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Everything hinges on Ruby getting this right. Today, after all, is Bunning Day, the most important day in Bunning, New Hampshire. It’s the day she’ll get up and read her award winning essay in front of everybody. And in that moment she’ll be able to make everything right with her best friend Lucy and her new friend Nero. They’ll forgive her. And that wish she made on her birthday, the one that is destined to come true . . . well, that’s a given, isn’t it? Trouble is, even the best laid plans of mice and men sometimes go horribly awry. It’s Bunning Day. Ruby has her notecards in her hands. The parade has begun. Something is going to happen.

JCLBrownM Apr 30, 2013

Don't confuse this with Linda Moriarty's very good adult book with the same title, though both are about struggling young girls. This one is about 12 yr. olf Ruby Pepperdine who is struggling with the death of her grandmother and misunderstandings between friends.


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“What if there is no supposed to? What if there is no one way things are meant to be? What if it all is just random and spinny and wild?”


“In third grade she figured out that if you put your hand up in class when everyone else did, you probably wouldn’t get called on, but you also probably wouldn’t get called on when nobody put their hand up either. Teachers mostly picked the kids who never put their hands up . . . ”


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ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 12


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