Monday, July 29, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING, by Linda Urban--plus a giveaway!

I have now officially entered the KEEPER 3 drafting cage (we won't talk about how behind I am) so once again, I wasn't able to put together an MMGM for you. But luckily, the awesome Deb Marshall was willing to cover it for me with a guest post.  And she's chosen to feature THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING, by

Here's how the publisher describes it:

For Ruby Pepperdine, the “center of everything” is on the rooftop of Pepperdine Motors in her donut-obsessed town of Bunning, New Hampshire, stargazing from the circle of her grandmother Gigi’s hug. That’s how everything is supposed to be—until Ruby messes up and things spin out of control. But she has one last hope. It all depends on what happens on Bunning Day, when the entire town will hear Ruby read her winning essay. And it depends on her twelfth birthday wish—unless she messes that up too. Can Ruby’s wish set everything straight in her topsy-turvy world?

And like always, here's Deb explain for herself why all of us need to read this one. Take it away Deb!
After reading several reviews on Linda Urban’s latest book I decided this was one to buy. Bought it, started reading and immediately started thinking “oh yeah, baby….this is going to be good.” It was, it is and like many I will be reading this one again. It’s also got some Newbery rumblings going on about it. I can see why-the characterization is spot on for the twelve year olds, the plot and theme are woven together beautifully and the author approaches the subject of grief in a powerful and unique way. Unique because the story belongs to Ruby and her grandmother. Unique because of the ripple effect that relationship has on Ruby and her other relationships after grandma dies. How does Ruby cope when her center of everything is not there? I found it heart breaking at times. Watching Ruby try to figure out how to figure everything out when life is moving along so fast. There were times I wanted to reach into the story for her and slow it down so she could have more time to deal. But as the author clearly knows it does not work that way. Life after the death of a loved one does go on and sometimes it really does feel like everything is moving forward to fast. The way this story is told I think kids will get it and they will relate to Ruby and feel for her, especially when her friendships start to fall apart. Some have noted that the plot is a tricky one because of how it moves back and forth in time. It is, but kids will stick with it and follow along because at its centre is Ruby-a completely and utterly real twelve year old who is struggling with the death of her grandmother and trying to keep up with her friends and all the excitement of the approaching Bunning Day Festivities. Plus, there is the wish she has made and desperately wants to come true. Before I leave you to carry on with your MMGM reading and booklist growing, I must mention the really cool history and town and townspeople the author has created! Not a one dimensional anything to be found there. Rich, rich, rich and a whole lot of fun. If you are interested in learning more about this book and its author the following Publishers Weekly interview is well worth taking a look at:

An interview with Linda Urban that is well worth reading:

Thanks for letting me share the love, Shannon!
Wow--that sounds awesome.  Thanks so much for spotlighting it, Deb!

And like always I'm giving away a copy to one of you guys!  To enter, make sure you leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm PST on Sunday August 4th. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Monday, August 5th. International entries welcome.

For more awesome middle grade recommendations, check out these other MMGMs floating around the blogosphere.*

- Jess from Reading Nook Reviews joins the MMGM fun with a feature on MY BASMATI BAT MITZVAH! Click HERE to welcome her to the group. 
- Laurel Holman also joins the MMGM fun with a feature on THE BOOK OF STORY BEGINNINGS. Click HERE to welcome her to the group.
- 11-year-old Xander is gushing about KEEPING SAFE THE STARS. Click HERE to see what he thought.   
- Joni Patterson is back with a feature on THE WIG IN THE WINDOW. Click HERE to see her review.  
- Mariah Lyons is cheering for THE FALSE PRINCE. Click HERE to see why. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck has two features, WHISTLING PAST THE GRAVEYARD and PRINCESS ACADEMY--with a GIVEAWAY. Click HERE for all the fun. 
- Alex Baugh is spreading the word for ROMEO BLUE. Click HERE to see why. 
- Heidi Grange is raving about CLONEWARD BOUND. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Flash, the Feline Extraordinaire, (and Professional Mews to Cindy Strandvold) recommends THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE. Click HERE to see what that's all about.   
- Jennifer Rumberger has chills for DEAD END. Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Natalie Lorenzi is interviewing Ammi-Joan Paquette about RULES FOR GHOSTING. Click HERE for all the fun 
- Maria Selke is championing ZERO TOLERANCE. Click HERE to see her review. 
- Medeia Sharif is sharing some love for ANASTASIA, ASK YOUR ANALYST. Click HERE to read her review. 
- Michelle Mason is totally addicted to ONCE UPON THE END. Click HERE to see her review.  
- Kimberley Griffiths Little also has an MMGM feature. Click HERE to see what it is.
- Barbara Watson has a double feature this week: HATTIE BIG SKY and HATTIE EVER AFTER. Click HERE for both reviews.
- Dorine White has a review of NATHANIEL FLOOD, BEASTOLOGIST: FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX. Click HERE to read more. 
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome!    
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week!
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.
- Deb Marshall is an MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week. 

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so I see it)

NOTE: I used to not have a cut-off time for adding links to the post, but with how insane my schedule is right now, if you don't email me by Sunday evening (usually around 11pm PST is when I put the links together) I can't guarantee I'll have a chance to add you. BUT, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you!

*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen posts ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me ahead of time


  1. I think this mighht be more successful in elementary school' but I know that teachers and brarians adore Urban's work. I have a review of the slightly less serious Dorko the Magnificent up today. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Missed last night's link deadline, but wanted to mention here: Today I'm interviewing Erica Perl about her new MG Aces Wild. Thanks so much!!!

  3. I haven't read this one but want to. Thanks for the highlight, Deb, and for hosing the giveaway, Shannon!

  4. I've been wanting to read this book. The cover and summary seem pretty cool and interesting. Thanks for the review and giveaway, guys!

  5. I am really looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for running the giveaway. Fingers crossed!

  6. Looks awesome!! I so love middle grade :)

  7. Not entering the contest, but this sounds good. Thanks for reviewing it, Deb.

  8. I've wanted to read this book for some time! Great review! ;) @MLConklin

  9. Looks great. Hope to read this one!

    Jill A.

  10. The cover is both simple and captivating at one. This book definitely has me interested.


  11. Thanks, Deb. It sounds like a good one. Nice review! Thanks, Shannon, for hosting this series and my first link!

  12. This sounds like an intriguing book! Thanks, Deb. Would love to win. I forgot to send the info to Shannon, but I've got an author interview on my blog and a free ebook download till Wednesday on her book geared toward MG readers.

  13. The Center of Everything sounds awesome! I will have to check it out! Thanks for sharing. :)

  14. This sounds like a great read. I'm excited to follow along with the weekly MMGM!

  15. I've heard this is a great book, thanks for the review, Deb! And thanks for giving away a copy, Shannon! :)

  16. We recommended The Center of Everything too! Here's a link to our review:


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