cover image The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I

The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I

Carolyn Mackler. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-68119-599-5

Virginia Shreves is back in Mackler’s sequel to her award-winning 2003 novel, The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things. She’s still worried about her weight, still worried about boys and finding love, but most of all worried because her brother, Byron, has just been arrested. Mackler infuses momentum into Virginia’s story by returning to the alleged sexual assault Byron committed at Columbia, for which he faces trial and possible jail time. Virginia must parse her feelings about her brother and what he did (or may not have done)—not an easy subject, but one that Mackler handles with sensitivity and complexity. Meanwhile, Virginia resists getting her driver’s license and embarks on a secret romance with the brother of the woman who accused Byron of rape. Though a sense of impending doom looms over their new relationship because of the circumstances, the tension doesn’t lead to predictable conflict. Mackler provides Virginia with plenty of opportunity for growth as she navigates romance, family difficulties, and relatable struggles with self-image. A thoughtful and engaging read. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (May) [/em]