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Hello, Universe: 12/28/18
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly is a middle grade novel about a group of kids who live on the edge of a forest. Virgil Salinas is shy and embarrassed by his loud family. Valencia Somerset is deaf and loves to explore and sketch nature, and Kaori Tanaka is psychic. Then there's Chet Bullens who is the bully of the area — a monster in the middle.
Over the course of a day, all these lives will intersect. Virgil is Kaori's client. Valencia is Chet's victim. Kaori's rituals and understanding of people and the forest will help Virgil rescue Valencia.
Like this year's novel, You Go First, it's difficult to describe the book without either doing a plot summary or revealing spoilers.
Although this book is set entirely in and around a forest, it fits into the road narrative spectrum. I didn't read this book for the project but recognized aspects of spectrum while reading it. Looking at the spectrum, then, this book comes in as a 9999CC — minotaur, wildlands, maze.
It is Chet's role as the bully of the forrest, that puts the traveler aspect of this novel into the minotaur range. The forest here is the wildlands. It is the place of their adventure and for some, the place of their destination. The method of travel, though, is a maze because of the abandoned well that features so prominently as both a blind alley and a trap.