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Tween Tuesday: The Center of Everything by Linda Urban

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 3/5/2013

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About the Book: Everyone in Ruby's town knows that if you make a wish on your birthday and a quarter with your birthday year goes through the statue of Captain Bunning's donut, your wish will come true on Bunning Day. Ruby didn't listen to her grandmother and grandmother recently passed away. Ruby wants to know what it was her grandmother was trying to tell her. Plus Ruby's  best friend isn't speaking to her, her new friend is mad at her too, and Ruby's world is spinning out of control. Will her Bunning Day wish help her put everything straight?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Linda Urban is a tween queen. I've been a fan of her books since her debut with A Crooked Kind of Perfect and Ms. Urban is a master at writing tween voices. She gets right to the heart of a story-you try and not get misty when you read a Linda Urban book.

In The Center of Everything Ms. Urban writes a gentle story of family and friendship. Ruby is in that tween stage of trying to figure friendships out, still believing and hoping in magic, and struggling to discover where and how exactly you fit in. She's not sure how to handle the grief over her grandmother and she's not sure how to talk about it with anyone. The tween voice is perfect and spot on and I think tweens will relate to Ruby.

The entire book takes place over the course of a day but with flashbacks what led up to Ruby's Bunning Day speech. While this is a short novel (maybe it just felt short because of all my YA reading lately!), each character is well developed and the plot moves at a nice pace. I think it would be a wonderful read aloud for families and classrooms and I would love to have a donut celebration like the one in the book!

Ruby is an avid reader and mentions When You Reach Me and A Wrinkle in Time. I think you could easily add The Center of Everything as a readlike for When You Reach Me and I think tweens who enjoy gentle, quiet stories about family and friends will enjoy this book.

Readalikes: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, Shug by Jenny Han, Mimi by John Newman

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC received at ALA.


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