Ok, did you read it? So AWESOME, right?!
Wait…you DIDN’T read it yet? What’re you waiting for?! Oh, you need some convincing, is that it? Well, I LOVED this book so here are a nine reasons why I think everyone who reads it will love it too!
1) Unforgettable Intro:
The first few pages of At the Edge of the Universe grab you immediately with an explosive introduction that will leave you slack-jawed and ravenous for the rest of the story. I don’t want to give away too much, but I can guarantee that even the most reluctant reader will be hooked within the first ten pages.
2) Re-read Value:
Throughout the book, we are treated to asides that document the life that Ozzie remembers with his boyfriend, Tommy. As the story speeds to its conclusion, these scenes are rife with hints of Tommy’s whereabouts. Upon finishing the book, you’ll eagerly go back through the book and see if you can discover the subtle hints that may (or may not) explain the mysteries that Ozzie has been living with.
From LGBTQIA characters, characters of different ethnic backgrounds, and even different economic strata, the level of diversity of characters in the book is impressive. Difference is not treated exotically or in a cartoon-ey way, but in an honest sympathetic way that makes every character feel real, and not an archetype copy-and pasted in for diversity’s sake.
4) Engrossing Mystery:
As the universe continues to shrink around Ozzie in his quest to discover what happened to his boyfriend, the reader is confronted with a plethora of other questions. Is Ozzie a reliable narrator? Why does no other character seem to remember anything? Is our narrator being gaslighted? Unraveling these complicated threads adds to the fun of this book.
5) Being a Teenager Bites:
We can all admit it. Growing up is insanely hard. You lack perspective. Every negative experience, from fighting with your best friend to unrequited crushes can be physically and emotionally crushing. Your hormones are driving you crazy, and society just decides you should makes all these decisions about the rest of your life while they don’t even trust you to go to the bathroom without permission. Shaun David Hutchinson crafts a world that combines both the mundane disasters and misadventures of everyday adolescence with a sci-fi twist that’s perfect for anyone who is or ever was a teenager.
6) Confronting Tough Issues:
At the Edge of the Universe does not shy away from discussing painful topics like divorce, family bankruptcy, abuse, assault, and trauma. Any fans of Ellen Hopkins, Jason Reynolds, and Tommy Wallach will want to check this one out.
7) Absurdist Humor:
This is not just a book that pounds the reader with “tough stuff” until they fall over from sympathy overload. Despite the serious topics dealt with the book, humor is also injected in, reminding the reader that even in the harshest situations, there are bright spots. I mean – a character cycling through therapists like chewing gum. Friends whose banter is on par with Gilmore Girls in terms of quickness. The odd couple pairing of the brooding, quiet heartthrob Calvin and obsessive Ozzie as they work on an eccentric school project. Even if you were tragically born without a sense of humor, you’ll get a quiet chuckle or two.
8) Shaun David Hutchinson is on fire:
Ok, so maybe this one is cheating, but Shaun David Hutchinson’s fantastic credits include We Are the Ants, Violent Ends, and The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley. He’s a growing author and a worthy addition to any personal library.
9) Twist Ending:
As can probably be expected from a Shaun David Hutchinson entry, this quirky story features an ending that, if you’re like me, you will not see coming. Enjoy the ride, and then be sure to come back and let me know what you think in the comments!