Parents' Guide to

The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Long-awaited sequel should satisfy fans of Book 1.

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Author Carolyn Mackler's sequel comes 15 years after the first book, and fans of that one will be glad to be back in Virginia's company once more. In some ways, The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I takes Virginia on a similar journey as the one in The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things. She's still relatable, still has a messed-up family, and still has a way to go as far as self-esteem and body image are concerned. But fans of the first book will enjoy following her as she continues to heal, grow, and learn that she's so much more than a fat girl.

Mackler conveys the events of the first book well enough that you don't need to read it before this one in order to understand the characters or events. But it will deepen your understanding of everything Virginia's been through if you do. It's also a good chance to talk about the importance of consent, date-rape culture, and body image with teens during a crucial time in their development.

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