Everything Else in the Universe (Hardcover)
Lucy is a practical, orderly person--just like her dad. He taught her to appreciate reason and good sense, instilling in her the same values he learned at medical school. But when he's sent to Vietnam to serve as an Army doctor, Lucy and her mother are forced to move to San Jose, California, to be near their relatives--the Rossis--people known for their superstitions and all around quirky ways.
Lucy can't wait for life to go back to normal, so she's over the moon when she learns her father is coming home early. It doesn't even matter that he's coming back "different." That she can't ask too many questions or use the word "amputation." It just matters that he'll be home. But Lucy quickly realizes there's something very wrong when her mother sends her to spend the summer with the Rossis to give her father some space. Lucy's beside herself, but what's a twelve-year-old to do?
It's a curious boy named Milo, a mysterious packet of photographs and an eye-opening mission that makes Lucy see there's more to life than schedules and plans, and helps to heal her broken family. The latest from critically-acclaimed author Tracy Holczer is a pitch-perfect middle grade tale of family and friendship that's sure to delight fans of One for the Murphys and Rules.
An ILA Teachers’ Choices Reading List – 2019
★“Affectingly tracing Lucy’s struggles with her altered family, Holczer also credibly portrays the conflicting views on the war, from protestors to former vets. Well-grounded in its era and peopled by fully realized characters, the book is a resonant historical novel and a thoughtful exploration of how war and injury affect family, friendships, and individual growth.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Lucy’s adjustments are thoughtfully examined, and her evolving efforts to stabilize her family in general, and her father in particular, are well crafted…Holczer does a fine job of piercing the weight with bits of family levity, and with the ethereal beauty of the dragonflies—Milo’s obsession—that flit in and out of the story.” —Booklist
“Lyrically written, the novel portrays the war's corrosive, divisive impacts with compassion…A touching, memorable read that explores the costs, large and small, of an unpopular war.” —Kirkus
“The novel introduces a nuanced view of the Vietnam War to readers…This is a quiet, tender work of historical fiction about grief, love, and learning to let go…A worthy addition to any middle grade collection.” —School Library Journal
“Heartbreakingly poignant…the portrait of two children maturing with grace and tolerance is triumphant.” —Horn Book Magazine