Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

At the Edge of the Universe

At the Edge of the Universe

Spring 2017 Fiction
Ages: 14 & Up
Author: Shaun Hutchinson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9781481449663
Hardcover Price: $17.99

Ever feel like the universe is closing in you?

For Ozzie, the teen narrator of At the Edge of the Universe, it is. Literally, it seems. Stars are vanishing from the sky and countries seem to be slipping off the map. But what's more important is that his best friend— and boyfriend—Tommy, is gone. And no one remembers him. Except Ozzie.

Ozzie and Tommy have known each other since second grade, but Tommy is missing. Was he kidnapped? Did he run away? Are there alien forces at work?

Ozzie turns to his parents to discuss his longing and sadness over Tommy not being in his life, but they're busy fighting, consumed with their impending divorce. Ozzie's big brother is about to ship off to basic boot camp, and high school is coming to an end. The struggle and pain of senior year and all the decisions that go with it is evident in every one of the characters.

Ozzie needs his friends now more than ever. There's Lua, whose sexual identity seems to be in flux, and there's Calvin, who has secret troubles of his own—troubles that Ozzie wants to help alleviate. In the meantime, Ozzie must find Tommy. Life feels crazy and complicated; Hutchinson's metaphysical touch —what is happening to the universe?—offers a apt metaphor. The concept of the world closing in on Ozzie makes the story verge into sci-fi territory. And it takes until the end of the book to understand that whatever else is going on, At the Edge of the Universe is about love—losing it, having it, missing it and desperately needing it.

Author Shawn David Hutchinson tackles sexual and gender-identity, domestic violence, mental illness, family struggles and relationship dilemmas in a beautifully written, contemporary story.

Ann Oldenburg   ©2017 Parents' Choice
Ann Oldenburg, assistant director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, began her career at The Washington Post and went on to spend more than two decades with USA Today, where she covered pop culture topics. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.

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