Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

The Universe Versus Alex Woods
by Gavin Extence
Hachette Book Group
ISBN: 9780316246576
Buy from Indigo

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. 


The Good Stuff
  • Totally unique
  • Sweet, clever and wonderfully endearing
  • You will totally fall in love with Alex and his supporting cast of unique and and intriguing secondary characters
  • Enjoyed the scenes between Alex and Dr Weir - loved the way she conversed with a 10 yr old boy
  • Dark and witty humour
  • Actually learned a lot while reading and it was done in such a simple and matter of a fact way and it made you want to learn more - yet never made you feel like you were stupid
  • Perfect book for a book club discussion, so many fascinating discussions to be had - assisted suicide, mental illness, death penalty, meaning of life, religion and so much more
  • This is one of the Indigo recommends titles at work, and usually I dislike anything that gets a label of any kind, but the description intrigued me, and glad I decided to pick it up - this will definitely be a title that I will be selling to the right customer
  • You will have a sudden desire to read some Kurt Vonnegut - and no I have never read anything by him
  • The relationships between the characters are the heart of the story.  Alex himself is a delightful character, but its his relationships with the secondary characters that make this novel shine
  • There is a Star Wars reference to explain asteroids - yes, I am that much of a geek
  • Bang on analysis on the crime of being different
  • Wise
  • Ranks Librarians up with Neurologists and Astronomers - hell that is enough for me to buy the book
  • Loved Alex's reasoning behind his decision to give his meteorite to the Natural History Museum - the analogy using his cat is positively brilliant and heart warming

The Not so Good Stuff
    •  I wanted more
    • Jumps around a wee bit and I found the first 20 pages a little off - but once you get past that its positively brilliant
    • Do you have any idea how hard it was to choose only 3 quotes for this review - so I just gave up and gave you a few more examples why you have to pick up this book right away
     Favorite Quotes/Passages

    "Dr Enderby said that an epileptic seizure was like a thunderstorm taking place in the brain - a storm that temporarily knocks out all the communication links so that any messages from the outside world get either lost or scrambled. All that's left is your brain talking to itself."

    "Rest assured: by the time I was ten, I had managed to find out what my mother meant. She meant that as far as our family was concerned, only the cat had a sex life." 

    "She doesn't think that God sounds like such a great boss.  Not the way he's presented in the Bible, anyway. She thinks that if she'd been an angel, she'd probably have quit too."

    "Kid, I'm American. We've been suspicious of intellectuals for hundreds of years."

    "Yes, I see. Still, not all scars are bad, Alex. Some are worth hanging on too, if you understand what I mean."

     Who Should/Shoudn't Read
    • This is the type of story that needs to be slowly savored not rushed through
    • Not for those who need something fast pac
    •  For those who enjoy something just a little bit different
    4.75 Dewey's

    I picked this up at Chapter's Shawnessy

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