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. Read more...
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?
- ISBN-13: 9780547763484
- ISBN-10: 0547763484
- Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
- Publish Date: March 2013
- Page Count: 197
- Reading Level: Ages 10-12
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-01-07
- Reviewer: Staff
The poignancy that characterized Urban’s A Crooked Kind of Perfect and Hound Dog True is also present in this novel about wishes and regret. Months after her grandmother’s death, 12-year-old Ruby Pepperdine composes a winning essay honoring her New Hampshire town’s namesake: Capt. Cornelius Bunning, inventor of the doughnut. Ruby should be ecstatic that she gets to read her essay in front of the whole community on Bunning Day, but her mind is on other things, especially how she didn’t listen to her grandmother’s final words before she died. Ruby thinks that maybe if she wishes hard enough, “everything will be back to how it is supposed to be,” but making a wish the right way is a tricky business. In a story whose winding plot echoes the doughnut shape that fascinates Ruby, Urban traces how Ruby discovers connections among dissimilar phenomena, including the nature of relativity, everyday sounds, and being part of a community. Ruby’s large imagination and even bigger heart are beautifully evoked as the sixth-grader finds a way to keep the memory of her grandmother alive. Ages 9–12. (Mar.)
A wish to set things right
Is it destiny when 12-year-old Ruby is named the Bunning Day Essay Girl and chosen to deliver a rousing speech at her New Hampshire hometown parade? In Linda Urban’s thoughtful novel, The Center of Everything, Ruby keeps looking for signs like these that her wish will come true and she’ll be able to go back in time and be with her grandmother Gigi on the day she died. Maybe then she will understand the final word Gigi uttered that day.
Despite the weighty topic of Ruby’s mourning, this story also produces plenty of smiles as a delightful narrator gives the history of the fictional town of Bunning. During a fierce storm in 1847, Captain Cornelius Bunning rammed his donuts onto the spokes of the ship’s wheel, thus creating the first donut holes. He later used the beams of his ship to build a schoolhouse in the town. “Hole”-some puns and legends abound in Bunning’s honor.
Dealing with her grandmother’s death is not the only big adjustment in Ruby’s life. When classmate Nero DeNiro (who’s as outlandish as his name) takes an interest in Ruby, she must reconcile her relationship with her longtime best friend and her feelings of first love. In a bittersweet ending, Ruby discovers that her grandmother’s death has given her a new appreciation of the world around her. The only holes in this charming story are the ones served up in this donut-obsessed town.