Monday, February 2, 2015


ISBN #: 978-0316246576
Page Count: 416
Copyright: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Redhook

Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

The universe works in mysterious ways ...

Alex Woods was struck by a meteorite when he was ten years old, leaving scars that marked him for an extraordinary life. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, he hasn't had the most conventional childhood.

When he meets curmudgeonly widower Mr. Peterson, he finds an unlikely friend. Someone who tells him that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make it count.

So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at Dover customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the passenger seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he's fairly sure he's done the right thing ...

Kathy's Review:
(Re-printed with her permission from her personal blog, Grown Up Book Reports)

In my mind, there are only two ways a book that heavily references Kurt Vonnegut can go. Either it’s going to get major fire from me because it doesn’t measure up, or it’s going to be a total home run. As my favorite author and a major influence on my life and writing, Vonnegut is on a level that I don’t think “just anyone” can go and try to emulate or mix in to their own writing.

I’m pleased to report that Gavin Extence hit a home run.

The Universe vs. Alex Woods is a quirky novel, starring a young boy whose life is altered by fate – he is hit by a meteor in his own house, as it crashes through his roof. He survives the incident and goes on to become a very thoughtful, intelligent young man who, in another twist of fate, becomes friends with a retired widower with no one in his life. Mr. Peterson is a lover of literature, particularly Vonnegut, and he turns Alex on to the writing. The two start a Vonnegut book club with some of the other people who have kind of randomly happened to cross paths with Alex – a neurologist, for instance.

Peterson becomes gravely ill with a rare condition, and Alex must care for him in his last days. It’s what he does, though, that almost lands him in jail…

How’s that for a teaser? Anyway, in addition to the Vonnegut references and passages and just general nod to the great author, Alex Woods is touching, funny and just all-around well done. With an unforgettable set of characters, including both Alex, Peterson and a few supporting roles such as Alex’s tarot card-reading mother, and a knack for capturing emotion and relationship building without knocking you over the head, I’m going to give this one of my highest marks. Definitely recommend, Vonnegut fan or not, and it’s one I will plan to return to at some point in my life.

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