Friday, March 29, 2019

The Center of the Universe by Ria Voros
[Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway]

Hello! Welcome to the next stop on blog tour for The Center of the Universe hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. I'm really happy to share my thoughts on this book with you!

Title: THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE
Author: Ria Voros
Pub. Date: April 2, 2018
Publisher: KCP Loft
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 512
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, TBD

Grace Carter's mother --- the celebrity news anchor GG Carter --- is everything Grace is not. GG is a star, with a flawless wardrobe and a following of thousands, while Grace --- an aspiring astrophysicist --- is into stars of another kind. She and her mother have always been in different orbits.

Then one day GG is just ... gone. Cameras descend on their house, news shows speculate about what might have happened and Grace's family struggles to find a new rhythm as they wait for answers.

While the authorities unravel the mystery behind GG's disappearance, Grace grows closer to her high school's golden boy, Mylo, who has faced a black hole of his own. She also uncovers some secrets from her mother's long-lost past. The more Grace learns, the more she wonders. Did she ever really know her mother? Was GG abducted ... or did she leave? And if she left, why?

Author Ria Voros (Nobody's Dog, The Opposite of Geek) reaches for the stars here, deftly combining mystery with a passion for science and themes of mother-daughter bonds, celebrity, first love and best friendship.

Facts about astronomy and astrophysics are seamlessly woven into the story and are supplemented by an interview with real-life astrophysicist Elizabeth Tasker, making this the perfect book for readers who love STEM. And even readers who don't have stars in their eyes will love this smart, suspenseful, relatable and literary novel. 

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I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

The Center of the Universe was an amazing all-around read. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters, and always looked forward to picking it up again. Typically, I try to do housework while the kids take their naps, but this week I've been staying in their room long after they've fallen asleep, just so I could keep turning the pages. (You should see my house right now...eesh. Neglected and scary, but totally worth it!)

I still cannot believe this book is over 500 pages! It never felt long, and all of the information was relevant and necessary. The writing flowed beautifully, and I was completely entranced by what was happening. Did her mom leave willingly? Was she abducted? Was that a clue? Honestly, I considered everything a clue, and I was still surprised by what happened. Ria Voros is clever -- loved it!

More than anything, I think The Center of the Universe is about a relationship between a mother and a daughter. Grace starts gathering tiny fragments of information about her mother after her disappearance, and she was surprised by how much she didn't know. I feel like that's true for all of us, because how well do we really know our parents? What were they like before we existed? Her dad, grandmother, and some of her mother's friends, shed a light on GG Carter that Grace was unaware of before. It allows Grace another perspective of her mother, and maybe a better understanding. 

Iris and Mylo are amazing friends (can we get a Mylo book, please), and they're both there for Grace throughout the book. Mylo's constant reminders to breathe were sweet and thoughtful. He shared his own experiences with loss, and was able to relate to Grace in a way no one else could. Iris is simply the best! I also loved her parents and their cooking -- yum! They both go above and beyond to help Grace, despite having their own problems to deal with. 

Families are messy and complicated, and I thought the author did a fantastic job of painting a very realistic picture. Grace fights with her brother, is annoyed by her grandmother, and is sarcastic with her father. She fought with her mother (repeatedly), and yet they were still a family. It was obvious they loved one another, and it was clear that they were all trying to do their best under the circumstances. There were happy moments amidst all the sadness, and we see people trying to cope with their grief while also supporting their loved ones.

I was totally and completely engrossed in The Center of the Universe from the very first page. I loved the opening quote by Neil deGrasse Tyson, and all of the scientific facts shared throughout the book. I've always been enamored by space and the mysteries of the universe, so Grace was a character after my own heart. It was never overwhelming, just a girl sharing her knowledge and her passion.

If I keep listing all of the things I enjoyed about this book, this post will go on forever. It's a truly remarkable read that I look forward to reading again in the future! 


About Ria:
Ria Voros is a YA and children’s author, teacher, presenter and obsessive reader. Her children’s and young adult novels have been finalists for the White Pine Award, the Rocky Mountain Book Award, and been a Best Books for Kids and Teens selection. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia. When she’s not writing, teaching or eating sweet things, Ria can be found hiking to the tops of mountains or buying too many books at any bookstore she enters. She lives in Victoria, BC, Canada with her husband, daughter and son.

Giveaway Details:
3 lucky winners will win a finished copy of THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
http://www.rockstarbooktours.com/
Tour Schedule:

Week One:
3/25/2019- Sweet Southern Home- Review
3/26/2019- Lifestyle of Me- Review
3/27/2019- Ramblings of a Book Nerd- Review
3/28/2019- Book-Keeping- Review
3/29/2019- Do You Dog-ear?- Review

Week Two:
4/1/2019- Moonlight Rendezvous- Review
4/2/2019- PopTheButterfly Reads- Review
4/3/2019- A Gingerly Review- Review
4/4/2019- Here's to Happy Endings- Review
4/5/2019- two points of interest- Review

16 comments:

  1. I hadn't heard of this book before but it sounds wonderful! I love the focus on family and the mother/daughter relationship, and I especially love that it was 500+ pages long but didn't feel like it. That's the sign of a great story, in my opinion. Excellent review!

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    1. It actually focuses on more than one mother/daughter relationship! There are three generations in this book, and we see two mother/daughter and one grandmother/granddaughter. I really loved all of it! Families are complicated, and this book highlights how little we actually know about our parents. We might know some of the big facts, but it's hard to understand who they were before we existed. We didn't grow up with them, so there will always be things we don't know. It's crazy to think about. Almost like space! This book really didn't feel like it was 500+ pages -- I devoured it! <3

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  2. Sounds like you really liked this one.

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  3. Nothing wrong with dodging the housework and having a bit of 'you' time to finish a book you were really enjoying! Honestly, housework can keep. As long as there's some clean kitchen wear and clothing you're golden. 😉

    I love this cover!

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    1. Truth! I make sure the dishes and laundry are done before bed every night, and everything else has to wait until I have time for it. Saturday is the day I try to do most of my cleaning, and then I just try to survive until the next weekend, haha. During their naps is when I catch up on some things around the house, but occasionally I'll sit down and read or blog. It's good to take breaks! <3

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  4. This one interested me because of the science slant. Glad to hear there was a lot of science peppered throughout.

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    1. The science was actually really interesting. I loved the interview with Elizabeth Tasker at the end! She's a real person (an astrophysicist that talks about exoplanets in the book), and I really loved how she was incorporated into the book. She even left a review for it on Goodreads! How awesome is that? I think this is one you'd like, Sam! :)

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  5. Sounds like this book really captured your heart. Thanks for sharing!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. Her mother (GG Carter) goes missing, which is a significant aspect of the story, but that wasn't what the whole book was about. There's before, during, and after the incident, and we see how it impacts various people. There's also Iris and Mylo, amazing friends and characters, that I hope have their own books in the future. It's really great, Nicole!

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  6. The mother-daughter relationship dynamics explored in this book make me want to read it even more. Gorgeous cover!

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    1. I thought Ria Voros did an amazing job highlighting the different aspects of a mother/daughter relationship. There will be anger and fights, but there's also love and acceptance. Relationships are complicated, especially between family members, and sometimes we don't have the entire story. A remarkable read for sure!

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  7. Oh I have to look into this one. Sounds so interesting. Love books that have me guessing what is happening. Seems like a realistic book as the heroine is with her family. Awesome it was a page turner for you. I really need something like that.

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    1. This one felt very realistic! Definitely a page-turner that I look forward to re-reading in the future. I loved everything about this book, and cannot wait to read more by this author! I think you'd like this one, so let me know if you decide to give this one a shot. <3

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  8. Thank you for the review. This books sounds fantastic and I definitely plan to read this one. I like the science content as well as the mystery component.

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    1. This book was wonderful! I loved the scientific aspects, and how thoroughly the author researched everything. You can tell Voros took a lot of time with the details! The mystery was interesting, and definitely impacted everyone, and I enjoyed the twist. Normally a book ends once the mystery is solved, but with this one we get to see what happens afterwards. It was very interesting and hard to put down! I hope you have a chance to read it soon. :)

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