Review: The Center of Everything
The Center of Everything
by Linda Urban
Published: Harcourt Children’s Books (March 5, 2013)
Recommended reading age: 9 & up
In a nutshell: Ruby Pepperdine misses her grandmother. It seems as though since Gigi passed away that everyone is acting like nothing has happened. To Ruby, her death has left a huge hole. No more beloved trips to the roof of her parent’s automotive dealership to decipher constellations. No more Gigi. Worst of all, Ruby feels guilty about something her grandmother told her to do the day she died, and Ruby feels she failed to do it. Listen.
Which is why on Bunning Day, Ruby has a plan to rectify the past with one wish.
In Ruby’s town of Bunning, New Hampshire, a place named after a sailor and the inventor of the hole-less doughnut, Captain Bunning, the biggest day of the year is Bunning Day. It was also the day her Gigi loved more than any other. The biggest part of the celebration is the Bunning Day Parade, featuring floats from the town’s various organizations. It’s also when the winner of the Bunning Day day essay, the Essay Girl or Boy, reads their prize winning, one-minute essay to the crowd. This year, Ruby’s essay was selected and she is the Essay Girl. On Ruby’s twelfth birthday, she made a wish ninety times, on a quarter she pitched through the hole in Captain Bunning’s doughnut, the bronzed statue in the center of Bunning. If you’re able to accomplish this feat, Bunning legend has it your wish will come true before the next Bunning Day was over. Her essay, her destiny, the way things are supposed to be… It’s all apart of her wish. A wish she hopes will lend answers about Gigi.
Without revealing the wish she enlists the help of the inquisitive boy, Nero DeNiro, to help her, which in turn upsets her best friend Lucy. Quickly Ruby starts to feel as if she is spiraling out of control, as the story cycles between past and present, and Ruby’s view point and the view points of various other characters from the town of Bunning.
“Some say it was destiny.”
In the first line of Ruby’s essay and in the early chapters, it was apparent that this book was going to be about something far greater than a girl, her grandmother, and a town parade. Abound with metaphors of destiny, the universe, mathematics, time, and the realities of life, The Center of Everything is flush with theories and curiosities. This is fitting, because Ruby is at a time when friendships, turns of event, and life itself become question marks more than anything else. At least, in retrospect, that’s how I felt as a twelve-year old.
The Center of Everything is full of depth and soul. It is a prime example of why I keep coming back around to being an avid fan of Linda Urban, but I do have one qualm; it will probably also leave you with a serious doughnut craving. A problem I find can easily be remedied.
Don’t take my word for it: Review from Secrets & Sharing Soda
Source of book read: Advanced Readers Copy I picked up from Harcourt Children’s Books while at ALA Midwinter.