Newbery Verdict: Hello, Universe

20220527ma_0718Book: Hello, Universe (2017)
Author: Erin Entrada Kelly
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Newbery Winner (2018)

Opening Lines of the Book…

Eleven-year-old Virgil Salinas already regretted the rest of middle school, and he’d only just finished sixth grade. He imagined all those years stretching ahead of him like a long line of hurdles, each of them getting taller, thicker, and heavier, and him standing in front of them on his weak and skinny legs. He was no good at hurdles.


This was an interesting story about two shy kids (Virgil and Valencia) and how they are brought together into a friendship, with the help of another friend (Kaori). And there’s the bully (Chet). Valencia is a character who can’t hear, something that fits in quite nicely into the plot. When the moment at the well came, I was like … Wow! This is genius.

I particularly liked the little sister (Gen) and her jump rope. I’m not sure why I was drawn to this character, but I was. I was a little surprised that the bully doesn’t get in trouble for his part in the story, but that’s sometimes how real life goes. (Kind of reminds me of old Mr. Potter in the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. He never gets “punished” for the trouble he causes George Bailey. All except to see George succeed despite his meddling. Which is a punishment in its own way, isn’t it. And that’s how I see Chet.)


I quite enjoyed this book. It won the Newbery in 2018. That was the same year that Long Way Down was also up for a Newbery. I would have had a hard time voting between these two books.


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Newbery Verdict Reading Challenge: This is a personal challenge for me to read books that have either won the Newbery Medal or are a Newbery Honor book. The Newbery is named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. Since 1922, this annual award has given to the author of the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” A Newbery Honor book is given to the runners-up. (Note: This year is the 100th Anniversary of the Award!)

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday


6 thoughts on “Newbery Verdict: Hello, Universe

  1. I read fiction to see the good guys win and the bad guys lose though… only joking, I was annoyed with Potter getting away with it when I was younger but it probably irked him more than his dishonest mean act didn’t destroy George (in fact, it brought out the best in others). I’ve haven’t read this book but I am intrigued now. Thanks for the review.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I still haven’t had the chance to try a book by Erin Entrada Kelly, and your review makes me want to try this one (or any of hers, for that matter) even more! And I agree, it is frustrating but realistic that the bully faces no consequences in the end. Thanks so much for the wonderful review, Maria!

    Liked by 1 person

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