BookPage Teen Top Pick, February 2017
Oswald Pinkerton has an unfortunate moniker and a boyfriend who has disappeared. Ozzie is a thinker—perhaps too much so—and he wonders endlessly about how his boyfriend, Tommy, vanished. Not only is Tommy gone, but he’s been erased from the memories of everyone who ever knew him.
As Ozzie navigates school (the bullies, as well as a potential new love interest, Calvin), work (where he often sees Tommy’s mom) and friends (including gender-bending Lua), he also travels from therapist to therapist (reluctantly) to deal with issues relating to Tommy, his parents’ rocky divorce and a plane crash that nearly took his life.
At the Edge of the Universe tackles it all—relationships, gender issues, family angst, sexual abuse, alcoholism. It’s a heavy read, but a surprising page-turner. Author Shaun David Hutchinson (We Are the Ants) infuses the very likable yet troubled Ozzie with a lot of interest in and knowledge of the metaphysical world, but there is enough added drama and typical teen issues to keep readers wondering: Will Calvin and Ozzie become a couple? Will Tommy return? Is the universe really shrinking?
This is a well-composed, intelligent young adult read with contemporary themes and plenty of descriptive detail. Some of the issues aren’t pretty or easy, but today’s teens will thrill to Oswald’s story of great heart and big ideas.
Sharon Verbeten is a freelance writer and children’s librarian in De Pere, Wisconsin.