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Thanks a Lot, Universe

af Chad Lucas

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler
874315,551 (3.9)Ingen
"Brian has always been anxious, whether at home or in class or on the basketball court. His dad tries to get him to stand up for himself, and his mom helps as much as she can, but after he and his brother are placed into foster care, Brian starts having panic attacks. And he doesn't know if things will ever be 'normal' again ... Ezra's always been popular. He's friends with most of the kids on his basketball team--even Brian, who usually keeps to himself. But now, some of his friends have been acting differently, and Brian seems to be pulling away. Ezra wants to help, but he worries if he's too nice to Brian, his friends will realize that he has a crush on him ... But when Brian and his brother run away, Ezra has no choice but to take the leap and reach out. Both boys have to decide if they're willing to risk sharing parts of themselves they'd rather hide. but if they can be brave, the might just find the best in themselves--and each other."--… (mere)
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Viser 4 af 4
Gr 5–8—Newfound friends Brian and Ezra roll with some serious punches at the end of their seventh grade year.
Brian's family traumatically fractures, and his anxiety becomes overwhelming. Ezra navigates rapidly changing
friendships and struggles to share his sexuality with those close to him. As their bond grows, they see and uplift
each other, demonstrating the importance of honest friendships. At times heartbreaking and other times laugh-outloud funny, this deeply empathetic story radiates hope.
  BackstoryBooks | Apr 1, 2024 |
Book 6 of 7 for the Cybils Awards Middle Grade Fiction category! Review to come after the awards.
  GRgenius | Jul 31, 2022 |
I could have read Thanks a Lot, Universe straight through had it not been so late. I read it in two nights, which is why I gave it four stars. I would say it's a middle of the road book, but then I think about not being bored and wanting to keep on reading.

Meet Brian. He suffers from pretty severe anxiety which means he doesn't say much. He feels like his tough father believes Brian can just "decide" not to be so anxious. He really loves his mom, dad, and brother. The family is a real family. They all love each other and pretty much accept each other, and yes, even annoy each other a bit. Dad plays basketball with Brian and gives him frequent advice. It's not bad--it's a good family. On the morning of Brian's birthday, Brian's dad must leave suddenly and get ahead of the cops. Often in books the criminal dad is misunderstood, abusive, or trying to change and gets caught. Brian's dad resembles most pretty good dads. He just happens to do some shady things. Brian's mom succumbs to depression and attempts suicide. Yes, on Brian's birthday! When Brian finds her, he realizes what has happened and calls 911. Brian and his brother have no place to go except foster care. Needless to say, the foster couple fail to match up to Brian's needs. Brian realizes he and his brother, Richie, should be alone and they leave.

Meet Ezra. His friends remind me of the boys at the middle school where I am the librarian. Boys are so funny to listen to. They have the weirdest conversations and they're so funny. I think that's what makes the book so realistic to me. Ezra and his friends act exactly like real kids act. Ezra struggles with letting people know he's gay. He's one of the few people who notices Brian--probably because he has a crush on him. Ezra loves his older sister and tells her all about his life when she calls from college. His parents are fine although they enjoy doing their stuff and trust Ezra in his day to day life. Ezra seems older than a 7th grader I will say. He has a good friend from childhood who hangs out with guys who appear to snicker at others. One, Victor, gives Brian a hard time regularly which bothers Ezra.

Meet Ezra and Brian. Brian ends up staying with a family where the father died in another country as a soldier. The teenage son, Gabe and his girlfriend who possesses super cool-ness are perfect for Brian. They are all friends with Ezra and his friends as well. Brian needs Gabe who has fought through despair when his dad died. Gabe understands and seems to know inherently how to help him. Brian also speaks easily with Ezra. He has a healing place here and with Ezra. Ezra explains to his friends about Brian's social anxiety and they just accept it and try to help as well. Brian easily becomes a member of their group and feels accepted, not pitied. Because of Ezra and his friends, Brian feels a real connection and enjoys something new--friends! He doesn't feel anxious either.

Gabe tells Brian, "The thing about surviving the end of the world is you still have to crawl out of the rubble and learn how to rebuild." As Brian's family tries to take the next steps in their lives, this quote is only too true. There's no fairy tale ending, but it is realistic: "sometimes wallowing is unacceptable. Sometimes you need to punch your sadness in the throat." The sadness in the novel balances well with the humor. I also like that there's puppy love just as there's puppy love in middle school in real life. Some boys are ready to date. Some boys don't know how to communicate with each other and need to learn about judging others. Some boys flirt with being a bully, thinking they're being funny. Some boys know who they are while others have no clue because they're not at that stage yet and have other problems to handle first. It's realistic. The adults may seem a bit too perfect, but that's to be forgiven. The point is that adults can help if you find the right ones, which Brian does. The side characters add to reality as they are just like friends you had growing up. It's truly a rather delightful book. ( )
  acargile | Sep 6, 2021 |
First off, I love the title of this book! It precedes the emotion you’ll experience as you read.

This is a very timely novel geared to the middle school reader who feels he/she just doesn’t have a place in the world. I guess that describes about 99% of the middle school population.

Brian is a worrier, he is anxious, at home, in class, and even on the basketball court. His dad who is quite the colorful guy, tries to get him to stand up for himself and his mom helps as much as she can. One day disaster strikes his family and Brian and his brother are placed in foster care. Brian begins to experience panic attacks. This doubles his already worrisome nature and he wonders if things will ever be normal again. In 2020, I guess a lot of us wonder that. Then there is Ezra who had always been popular. He’s friends with most of the kids on his basketball team, even Brian, who usually keeps to himself. But now, some of his friends have been acting differently, and Brian seems to be pulling away. Ezra wants to help, but he worries if he’s too nice to Brian, his friends will realize that he has a crush on him.

One day Brian grabs his younger brother and they run away from the foster home. Ezra feels he has no choice but to take the leap and reach out to Brian who have feeling for each other. Now both boys must make the decision if they willing to risk honesty about their feelings or would if be easier to keep it hidden.

This title just may be the book to help a reader discover that is is okay to come out. Of course we all know that life instantly becomes a bigger challenge when you are considered different. The book ends before we know much about the boys decision and how life goes on from there.

Maybe Chad Lucas will write a sequel to this fine novel. I really enjoyed the character development.

After all it’s okay to...
“Be brave, Be real Be weird” ( )
  jothebookgirl | Nov 2, 2020 |
Viser 4 af 4
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"Brian has always been anxious, whether at home or in class or on the basketball court. His dad tries to get him to stand up for himself, and his mom helps as much as she can, but after he and his brother are placed into foster care, Brian starts having panic attacks. And he doesn't know if things will ever be 'normal' again ... Ezra's always been popular. He's friends with most of the kids on his basketball team--even Brian, who usually keeps to himself. But now, some of his friends have been acting differently, and Brian seems to be pulling away. Ezra wants to help, but he worries if he's too nice to Brian, his friends will realize that he has a crush on him ... But when Brian and his brother run away, Ezra has no choice but to take the leap and reach out. Both boys have to decide if they're willing to risk sharing parts of themselves they'd rather hide. but if they can be brave, the might just find the best in themselves--and each other."--

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