Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2013. 978-0316089166
Synopsis: Joss is the seventh son of the Supreme Overlord of the Universe whose job is to deliver pies holding the secrets of the universe to the Powers That Be. He’d rather be doing something more important, like his brothers, but he’ll stick to pies. Then Earth and the Milky Way are taken completely out of existence, his best friend Kal disappears, and he’s stuck with an Earth girl named Annika who is supposed to help him bring Earth back. This would be cool, but Joss would still rather have stuck to pies rather than planet building.
Why I picked it up: I ran across the title on Amazon and it’s a popular selection at the local library, so I decided to check it out.
Why I finished it: The idea of watching life in the entire universe unfold before you is a pretty cool notion, and the fact that life as we know it started by smashing the smallest possible particles together is pretty amazing when you get down to it. With all of time and space out in front of you, the possibilities for exploration seem endless (unless you cancel the shuttle program, but that’s a different story). Joss feels like he may not have the most awesome job in the universe, but it’s his caring and his friendships with Kal and Annika that keep him moving forward to find a solution to bringing Earth back into existence. When the reader first dives into the story, everything is in stasis, the way it is supposed to be, but as Joss learns, even the smallest acts have greater consequences. Mass notes that nothing really exists within Dark Matter, but the world she creates in the space between galaxies is fantastic, imaginative, and believable. The beings age at a much slower rate, they’re not quite as solid, and they can transform their bodies at will. Everything about it is just plain cool. The marriage of science and comedy fits together well, giving the reader a lesson in the beginnings of the cosmos and a heartfelt look at trying to find one’s place in the universe. It goes to show us that even what is perceived as insignificant has a greater importance in the long run and that greatness is achievable…even if you are the youngest son of the Supreme Overlord.
Other related materials: Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass; The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins; A Really Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson; Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein; The Apprentices by Malie Meloy; The Apothecary by Malie Meloy; What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved The World by Henry Clark; How Do You Burp in Space?: And Other Tips Every Space Tourist Needs to Know by Susan E. Goodman; History Year by Year by DK Publishing; That’s a Possibility!: A Book About What Might Happen by Bruce Goldstone