Hello, Universe

Erin Entrada Kelly

Hello, Universe
Bonnier Books Ltd
United Kingdom
2 July 2020

Hello, Universe

Erin Entrada Kelly

In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways.

Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his loud family.

Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and loves everything about nature.

Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister Gen is always following her around.

And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just act normal so that he can concentrate on basketball.

They aren’t friends - at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find the missing Virgil. Is it a coincidence that their lives collide? Or are some things just meant to be?

An irresistible story about unlikely friendships from an acclaimed and award-winning author.


Winner of the prestigious Newbery Medal for 2018, Hello Universe explores some common and not-socommon themes with a charming and funny deftness. We are issued into the world of four middle-school kids who are, for varying reasons, disenfranchised from the mainstream. One day, through mishap, their fates converge and offer up a new universe where friendship will be the winner.

Erin Entrada Kelly’s perfectly pitched novel encompasses multiculturalism, disability, loneliness, shyness and bullying. Does that sound like too many themes and dilemmas? It’s just a normal day in any community, but presented lightly and sensitively. I absolutely loved the characters in this kind exploration of friendship and self-acceptance; Hello Universe champions resilience and applauds difference and I heartily recommend it for girls and boys of 9+.

Alexa Dretzke is the assistant manager and children’s book buyer at Readings Hawthorn.

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