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Octavia Boone's Big Questions about Life, the Universe and Everything Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 14, 2010

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, September 14, 2010
$7.87 $16.01

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8–Seventh-grader Octavia Boone is having a tumultuous and life-changing year. Her mother, who has always been flighty and in search of fulfillment, becomes enamored with a fundamentalist religious group. She soon begins a radical transformation that ultimately results in her moving in with fellow Redeemers a few towns over. Octavia's problems are exacerbated by her father, who constantly quotes Henry David Thoreau. He is angry at his wife and rather selfish to begin with. While Octavia is respectful of religion, she does not like the Redeemers and questions why this is all happening. She decides that if she is able to use her science-fair project to prove that there is no god, her mother will come home and everything will go back to normal. Rupp does exhibit a bias against some aspects of this religious group and also shows that adults are not always right, do not always know what is best, and can be quite flawed. The sensory condition synesthesia is used as a device, but seems a bit unnecessary in a story that already has so many complicating elements. However, there are great lessons to be learned about judging others and being torn between opposing views, and the author does show how hard it can be to be a kid sometimes.Kerry Roeder, The Brearley School, New York City
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

About the Author


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763644919
  • ASIN: B005DI9BFO
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,671,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rebecca Rupp has written nonfiction articles for many national magazines on topics ranging from the history of blue jeans to the science of ice cream. She is also the author of THE DRAGON OF LONELY ISLAND, THE WATERSTONE, and several nonfiction books, both for children and adults. Of THE RETURN OF THE DRAGON, she says, 'I hope all of you enjoy the return of Fafnyr's cave - and hearing from Aunt Mehitabel again - as much as I have. Much as I love the three-headed dragon, I also love Aunt Mehitabel. I plan to be just like her when I turn eighty-five.' Rebecca Rupp lives in Vermont with her husband, three sons, three cats, and a tarantula named Immanuel Kant.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Sandford on April 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Seventh-grade Octavia's mother becomes involved with a fundamentalist group, which results in her leaving her husband, child and home. Octavia's happy life is disrupted as she is shunted between her parents, having no say in the matter. She also must attend religious training which she despises and previously has nothing in common with. Octavia had Big Questions before her life was shaken up, but she expands to ask others what their Big Questions are. There is a bias towards the religious group, but it is fair questioning from the protagonist (who narrates her own story). For this reason I recommend this book to students ages 12 and up, who are likely able to form their own opinions and have knowledge of the world outside of their parents' codifying influences. It's wickedly funny-- caustic, even, and if you are a parent who monitors your child's reading, don't pick this book up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Diane Stranz on June 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book should get 2 1/2 stars: there is nothing objectionable enough for me to say 'I hate' it, so it gets a 3 star rating.

My reaction can be summed up in one word: MEH. It's sad that a young person would waste his or her time reading this book when library bookshelves OVERFLOW with meaningful, exciting, transformative and enlightening books, both fiction and non-fiction. Life is short, time is valuable, and what you read (or otherwise focus your attention upon) shapes you as a person. So: choose to spend your reading time wisely. MY time was wasted reading this book, but if my review helps you decide to pass it by, then I can salvage at least SOME purpose for the time spent.

Author Rebecca Rupp has a Ph.D. in cell biology yet makes her heroine Octavia sound like a scientific moron by having her think she can use her science fair project to destroy her mother's interest in fundamentalist religious beliefs. Octavia believes she is doing actual scientific research when she asks different people to pray, meditate and/or engage in feng shui over bean plants to influence their growth rate. When there is no obvious difference between the control plants and the plants subjected to "spiritual practices," Octavia is crushed and moans, "I'd been so sure that I would be able to prove that prayer doesn't work and that, therefore, there is no God."

Give me a break that any teenager with half a brain would seriously think he or she could so easily "prove" there is no God. Rupp takes a situation which COULD have led to thought-provoking dialogue and a realistic story and simply makes it an asinine joke.
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