Title: Hello, Universe
Author: Erin Entrada Kelly
Publication Information: 2017 by Greenwillow Books/Harper Collins
The Plot: Virgil Salinas is a shy boy who is overshadowed by his older brothers and pushed around by the neighborhood bully Chet. He longs to talk to the pretty girl in school Valencia Somerset. To overcome his shyness, he seeks the help of local child psychic Kaori Tanaka and her sister Gen. When an accident occurs, Virgil must rely on the team of Valencia, Kaori, and Gen to help him.
My Take: This Newbery Medal winner has gentle characters and a straightforward plot but lacks narrative momentum. Even a major accident that befalls the main character does not stir enough urgency into the plot. Erin Entrada Kelly definitely surpassed this work with her more recent novel Lalani And The Distant Sea. For those looking for a middle grade realistic fiction, I would recommend other titles.
One Interesting Note About The Author: According to her website, Erin Entrada Kelly is of mixed Philippine descent. She was raised in a household in which people spoke the Philippine dialect Cebuano (as opposed to Tagalog).