A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Shaun David Hutchinson's At the Edge of the Universe is about high school senior Ozzie as he tries to find his boyfriend Tommy, who's mysteriously disappeared. Occasional profanity includes "f--k," "pr--k," "d--k," and "s--t." Sexy stuff is infrequent, with some kissing, hand-holding, making out, and a couple of instances of teens having sex that are not directly narrated. All the sexual relationships in the book are same-sex, but homosexuality itself isn't a topic. A new friend of Ozzie's was sexually involved with a teacher who drugged and sexually abused the teen. Ozzie discovers the teen cuts himself as a way of coping. Another teen has injuries from being beaten by his father, and Ozzie is conflicted about whether to notify authorities. The novel has overall positive messages about facing uncertainty, making choices instead of hiding away, and choosing to make the most out of what you have instead of grumbling about what you don't.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE, Ozzie and Tommy have been best friends since grade school and boyfriends since middle school. Now, in their senior year, Tommy has disappeared without a trace. Ozzie will do anything or go anywhere to find Tommy. But he's also the only person in the world who remembers that Tommy existed. Not Ozzie's family, not any of their school friends, not even Tommy's family have the foggiest idea who it is Ozzie's looking for. Oh, and the universe is shrinking. Can Ozzie find Tommy before he and the universe disappear into the void?
Is it any good?
Author Shaun David Hutchinson offers another angsty but compelling teen hero in Ozzie Pinkerton. At the Edge of the Universe combines Ozzie's efforts to face life's biggest changes with the fantasy element of a shrinking universe. The characters are compelling and well developed, and it's refreshing that their sexual orientation, gender identity, or even race aren't what defines them or even the most interesting things about them.
Although hefty at just under 500 pages, the story is well structured, and the frequent but small revelations and hints keep the pages turning. Teens who're thinking about how they'll face the challenges of entering adulthood and leaving childhood behind will easily relate to Ozzie and have a lot to think about comparing their own challenges and attitudes as they face the unknown.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the strong language in At the Edge of the Universe. Does it seem realistic? Is it necessary? Why, or why not?
How does the author keep sexual orientation, gender identity, and even race from defining the characters? Would the story or the characters be any different if Ozzie were looking for a lost girlfriend? Why, or why not?
How well do you think the fantasy element mixes with the realistic setting?
- Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon Pulse
- Publication date: February 7, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
- Number of pages: 496
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
Our editors recommend
For kids who love coming-of-age tales and LGBTQ stories
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.