The Very Hungry Librarian

consuming, sharing, and reviewing books for children

Mock Newbery 2014: The Center of Everything by Linda Urban

The Center of Everything

Ruby wants to know if there is such a thing as “supposed to.” Is there some complex plan to her life, a fate she cannot see? After losing her grandmother Gigi, everything that was right seems to have collapsed in on itself, and a feeling of guilt overwhelms her. If only she had listened to Gigi. On her twelfth birthday, Ruby tries to make everything right through a wish, but what if she messes everything up? Can she return everything to how it’s supposed to be?

One of the hardest voices to capture in middle-grade fiction (in my opinion) is that of a tween girl, and I think Linda Urban did a fantastic job bringing Ruby’s voice to life. At this age, Ruby truly feels she is the center of everything, which is completely true-to-life for most tweens, and I do not mean tweens are “self-centered,” but rather their perspective is consistently based on how certain events will affect them, their world, their fate, their life etc. I think this is most clearly illustrated by Ruby’s belief that everyone is OK or normal following Gigi’s death. She is so overwhelmed with her own feelings and emotions; she is not able to see how others are affected. I think so many readers, girls in particular will relate to Ruby, and see part of themselves in her character.

Urban’s analogies were very effective, and I think she was able to bring them to a level middle-graders will understand and appreciate. Though the story is not packed full of action or drama, it’s a sweet little piece of literature that will strike a chord with many kids. This is not a book I think will be hugely popular, but it will be a book loved by those who understand Ruby’s thinking and the challenges she faces after losing someone she loves.

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This entry was posted on May 12, 2013 by .
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