Hello, Universe

Hello, Universe

Book - 2017 | First edition.
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Lives of four misfits are intertwined when a bully's prank lands shy Virgil at the bottom of a well and Valencia, Kaori, and Gen band together in an epic quest to find and rescue him.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Greenwillow Books,, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062414151
Characteristics: 313 pages : illustrations
313 pages : illustrations
313 pages : illustrations
313 pages : illustrations
313 pages : illustrations
313 pages : illustrations


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

IndyPL_SteveB Nov 12, 2018

Exciting novel about new friendship between three children with few connections between them. Winner of the 2018 John Newbery Medal.

Extremely shy 7th-grader-to-be Virgil Salinas would like to meet hearing-disabled 7th-grader-to-be Valencia Somerset, whom he has seen every day in school. They are each isolated in their own way but don’t know how to break out. Both are being harassed by Chet, a bully in their grade. In hope of getting a new perspective, Virgil and Valencia separately decide to visit another middle school student, Kaori Tanaka, who is trying to be a fortune teller, in hopes of getting a new perspective.

However, when Virgil is walking through the woods to get to Kaori’s house, Chet throws Virgil’s backpack down a dry well. Since the backpack contains Virgil’s pet guinea pig, he climbs into the well and gets trapped, comforted only slightly by his memories of his grandmother’s heroic stories of Filipino folklore. The excellent characters, even the bully, are what make the story work.

DPLjulie Sep 24, 2018

When a bully's prank has unintended consequences, it takes determination and some big hearts to make things right. With elements of suspense, featuring interesting and diverse characters, "Hello, Universe" is a compelling, satisfying read.

plymc_lindsAy Jul 17, 2018

"There are no coincidences"...such a simple theme, and yet such a cool read! Valencia reminded me so much of Melody from Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. She's witty and perceptive. Definitely check this one out!

Jul 02, 2018

I read this book to my 8 year old and it only took about five hours (a few chapters at a time). We both really enjoyed it, there were some intense scenes when Virgil is stuck down in the well, and it allowed my son and I to discuss some philosophy and also practical safety matters, like what choices would you make in that situation? It was neat to have two protagonists and different tenses, and to see how their paths would finally meet. I liked all the names of the characters... Virgil being Dante's companion in his descent into hell... and the theme of the guinea pigs named after gullivers travels. I liked the changes that Virgil went through, and found a lot of humor in his relationship with his grandma.

Jun 21, 2018

Hello Universe is a amazing book! I couldn't put it down!!

Jun 13, 2018

This book is a very unique book. Most books only have one point of view, but in this book, there is four. The main characters, Virgil Salinas, Kaori Tanaka, Valencia Somerset, and Chet Bullens, all experienced coincidences. I read most of the other comments about this book, and most of it is about coincidences. But what could the author do? Life is full of coincidences, which only makes it better. I would recommend this book for 5th graders and middle schoolers, because the vocabulary seems to be just right. The only part that I do not like about this book is the strange actions. For example, one of the characters mentioned a Spirit thing, and this just made very weird. Overall, this book is one of the greatest books that I have ever read. I recommend this book to you. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the book! :)

kirstd31 Apr 02, 2018

I am not a fan of this book. The story line was very slow. It was also confusing at time with 4 different characters telling the story.

pstc Mar 27, 2018

A well told story about four middle school students who become unexpected friends. The story is told from the perspective of four friends and deftly conveys how taking the time to know someone can lead to a blossoming friendship. The author, Erin Estrada Kelly, unwinds the story in its four parts to reveal four unique characters whose strengths shine when the universe conspires to create a situation where they need each other.

Mar 23, 2018

Apparently I did not love this book as much as the Newbery Committee. The diverse characters were a plus: a small Philippino boy, a deaf girl, a wannabe fortune-teller and a bully. I did appreciate the way the plot brought these characters together in the woods and also gave each of them some resolution to their particular problem. Although the universe is credited with the random events that bring them together, I prefer to give that credit to our Creator. The plot line with a boy stuck in the well also added suspense. What I did not love was a preteen girl casting herself as a fortune-teller, drawing other kids in as her customers and inventing ceremonies. Religious rites should be given their due respect and are not to be used for profit.

mko123 Mar 07, 2018

Is life just random? Or does everything happen for a reason? That is what 11-year-old Kaori, the neighborhood psychic, believes. So when her classmate and client Virgil does not show up for his 3:00 session, she knows something is amiss. Kaori recruits new new client, 11-year-old Valencia (who wears a hearing aid but is very nature-smart) to help her look for Virgil and his pet guinea pig. The paths of four oddball middle-school kids cross in the woods. Was this meant to be?

I enjoyed the wide-eyed openness to the synchronicities in life of this book. Four young people learn to find inner strength and friendship in the delightful twists of fate.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

Jul 02, 2018

ericasomething thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

May 09, 2018

black_wolf_1850 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Feb 12, 2018

gjrainey thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Feb 09, 2018

booknrrd thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MPL

To Top