"Hello, Universe" is a really fantastic tween/middle grade story about four tweens during one eventful day. We get each of their perspectives, and they are all unique and well-developed characters. We begin with Virgil, whose family is loud, boisterous and calls him Turtle (which he doesn't like), and he is an easy character to love- he's shy and quiet and wishes he could ask one of his classmates to be his friend, but can't quite work up the courage. Valencia is smart, brave, and deaf, but she won't let anyone drag her down- certainly not Chet who is a bully and picks on Virgil a lot. Even Chet seems to be a product of his father but will learn a lot. Kaori is a delightful addition, a 12-year-old psychic who only works with kids and will absolutely make you laugh out loud throughout.
Together, they make this an unforgettable and delightful story of being a tween and all the issues that entails- with family, bullies, friendships, identities and everything. The character development here is really incredible, and I would highly recommend it to all tweens. The inclusion of some main characters who happen to be deaf and their struggles/triumphs is also a wonderful addition to an already fantastic book. If you have a middle grade reader or tween, you won't want to miss out on this one!
Please note that I received an ARC through a goodreads giveaway. All opinions are my own.