Title: THE UNIVERSE IS EXPANDING AND SO AM I
Author: Carolyn Mackler
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
ARC?: Yes, provided from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Publish Date: 05/29/18
TW/CW: Fatphobia, homophobia, parental neglect/mental abuse, rape (not described in detail), alcohol abuse (mentioned briefly, twice).
From Goodreads: Virginia Shreves’ world implodes again in this long-awaited follow-up to Printz Honoree The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things.
Sixteen-year-old Virginia Shreves’ life is finally back on course: she’s accepted who she is inside and out and is rebuilding her relationship with brother Byron, whose date-rape charge shattered everything.
But just as she adjusts to her new normal, her world turns upside down again. Sparks with boyfriend Froggy fade, her best friend bombshells bad news, and then the police arrest Byron. As Virginia struggles to cope, she meets Nate, an artist with his own baggage. The pair vow not to share personal drama. But secrets have a way of coming out, and theirs could ruin everything.
Weezie’s Thoughts: I read the predecessor to this book, THE EARTH, MY BUTT, AND OTHER BIG ROUND THINGS, nearly 10 year ago. While the writing was simplistic, the story and its characters stuck with me, and when I found out Mackler was writing a sequel, I knew I had to read it.
My five star rating is probably a little generous (those nostalgia feels had me messed up), but it is at least a four star book, even with the little things I didn’t enjoy. Which was mostly that while this book seamlessly transitions us into a sequel for a book written 15 years ago… it kinda feels like a book that was written 15 years ago. Seriously, if something reminds me of being a teenager… it probably doesn’t apply to this new generation of teenagers. Still, it was good.
I particularly appreciated the honesty Mackler shows when writing about Byron, his arrest, and how his overbearing parents act. I liked the fact that Virginia knew her brother was in the wrong but still was unsure of her feelings towards him. Not just because of the rape and arrest, but also because of the way he treated her.
Personally I hope there is a third book where Virginia stands up to her entire insufferable family. We’ve dealt with weight issues. We’ve dealt with break-ups and new love. It’s time for Virginia to take a stand against the people who have tormented her more than anyone else. I’m also eager to get more of Annie Mills’ story and the punishment Byron deserves FINALLY handed down to him.
Carolyn Mackler, please don’t make me wait another 15 years.