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The Universe Versus Alex Woods
Cover of The Universe Versus Alex Woods
The Universe Versus Alex Woods
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A rare meteorite struck Alex Woods when he was ten years old, leaving scars and marking him for an extraordinary future. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, Alex...
A rare meteorite struck Alex Woods when he was ten years old, leaving scars and marking him for an extraordinary future. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, Alex...
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Description-

  • A rare meteorite struck Alex Woods when he was ten years old, leaving scars and marking him for an extraordinary future. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, Alex hasn't had the easiest childhood.

    But when he meets curmudgeonly widower Mr. Peterson, he finds an unlikely friend. Someone who teaches him that that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make it count.

    So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the front seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he's fairly sure he's done the right thing ...

    Introducing a bright young voice destined to charm the world, The Universe Versus Alex Woods is a celebration of curious incidents, astronomy and astrology, the works of Kurt Vonnegut and the unexpected connections that form our world.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Gavin Extence was born in 1982 and grew up in the interestingly named village of Swineshead, Lincolnshire. From the ages of 5-11, he enjoyed a brief but illustrious career as a chess player, winning numerous national championships and travelling to Moscow and St Petersburg to pit his wits against the finest young minds in Russia. He won only one game.

    Gavin now lives in Sheffield with his wife, baby daughter and cat. He is currently working on his second novel. When he is not writing, he enjoys cooking, amateur astronomy and going to Alton Towers.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 22, 2013
    Seventeen-year-old Alex Woods was a household name even before authorities discovered 113g of marijuana and the ashes of an old man in the car he drove across the English border. At the age of 10 Alex became a national celebrity after being hit by a meteorite. In his teenage years he was most comfortable with adults like his doctors and Isaac Peterson, an irascible, reclusive, pot-smoking American widower who lives nearby in Alex’s small village; Alex’s only teenage friend is an emo goth girl named Ellie. Alex’s naiveté, bookishness, and oddness make him a target for bullies and his earnest response to one instance of abuse only solidifies his reputation. His mother’s self-proclaimed powers of clairvoyance don’t help Alex’s rep, nor does the epilepsy he acquired after the accident. Peterson encourages Alex to read Vonnegut, prompting Alex to create a book club called the Secular Church of Kurt Vonnegut, giving Alex a leadership position that brings him the confidence he needs to help navigate his neighbor’s lengthy illness, albeit with major missteps along the way. Extence’s engaging coming-of-age debut skillfully balances light and dark, laughter and tears. Agent: Alice Howe, Hodder & Stoughton (U.K.).

  • Library Journal

    May 15, 2013

    Most teens think the universe is against them at some point. Seventeen-year-old Alex Woods has plenty of evidence for his case: a tarot-reading witch for a mother, his father a one-night Solstice stand long since forgotten, a chunk of meteorite crashing through the roof and smashing into him, the onset of epileptic seizures, and school bullies eager to target him. Luckily for Alex, the meteorite and bullies have an upside. While the meteorite accident introduces him to two unusual doctors and the worlds of astrophysics and neurology, the school bullies chase him into a life-changing friendship with the semi-reclusive Mr. Peterson after Alex takes the blame for Mr. Peterson's broken greenhouse windows. Rather than revealing the bullies' names, Alex accepts a punishment of helping out the curmudgeonly widower. Neither is very happy about the arrangement until they bond over books and Alex founds the Secular Church of Kurt Vonnegut reading group. Over the course of a year, they also come to terms with a terminal diagnosis. Their plans for a simple trip to a Zurich clinic turn into a wild wheelchair ride through a hospital, an unexpected kiss, and international media attention. Not your average rite of passage but one Alex can ace. VERDICT A bittersweet, cross-audience charmer, this debut novel will appeal to guys, YA readers, and Vonnegut and coming-of-age fiction fans.--Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll. Lib., NC

    Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Observer (UK) Mark Haddon meets Kurt Vonnegut.
  • Jasper Fforde Warm and funny and tragic and uplifting all in one. Extence should be on everyone's radar.
  • Sunday Express With wit and warmth, Gavin Extence shines a light on one of the darkest, most difficult subjects of our times.
  • Library Journal A bittersweet, cross-audience charmer, this debut novel will appeal to guys, YA readers, and Vonnegut and coming-of-age fiction fans.
  • Publisher's Weekly (Starred review) Extence's engaging coming-of-age debut skillfully balances light and dark, laughter and tears.
  • NPR Books Included on their The Universe Versus Alex Woods will put you through the wringer. But oh, what a wringer!
  • New York Post [The Universe Versus Alex Woods is] done in a dark, offbeat style that brings to mind the characters' hero, the literary giant Kurt Vonnegut
  • Denver Post Clever storytelling, winning characters and nuanced rhythm... Alex is a precocious, endearing, infuriating and unexpectedly brilliant teenager, and he and his indelible voice are incapable of sticking on the most traveled. Lucky us: We get to go along for the (sometimes bumpy) ride.
  • People Magazine The great joy of this quirky novel is Alex Woods, an English boy who's been hit by a meteorite. Alex recounts what follows with charm and wit, even when it includes seizures, bully and the grave illness of his best friend, an old man. Pulsing with humor and insight, this book is a delight.
  • Arkansas Democrat-Gazette The Universe Versus Alex Woods is the story of how misfit Alex comes to befriend an elderly American curmudgeon, learns to cultivate marijuana and develops a deep appreciation for the work of Kurt Vonnegut. It's a wonderful coming-of-age story, delivered in an offhand casual style that belies the deeply moral concerns of the author.
  • Charleston City Paper Precocious and awkward, Alex Woods truly is a welcome addition to the literary world.
  • Seattle Post-Intelligencer If you enjoy interesting and unique experiences, you will find this to be the must-read of the summer...[The Universe Versus Alex Woods] is a must-have for your library, and a treat for both the young, as well as the young at heart. There is some very deep subject matter discussed, yet the end result is extraordinary. Gavin Extence is an author to watch for.
  • Amazon.com (Best Book of the Month, July 2103) [An] incredibly touching tale... [Extence] strikes a balance of describing tragic events with comedic style, wrapping his seriousness with subtle absurdity.

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