A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin

A Corner of the Universe. Ann M. Martin. Scholastic, c.2004. 189 pages.


Twelve-year-old Hattie is very shy. She helps her parents run their boarding house and is friends with the boarders and the cook, though she does have trouble making friends with children her own age. Hattie is looking forward to an uneventful summer, when her Uncle Adam, who she never knew existed, shows up. Adam’s behavior surprises Hattie and her mother tells her that he has “mental problems.” Though her grandparents are embarrassed by him and other children laugh at him, Hattie befriends her Uncle Adam.

Review/personal thoughts:

In the author’s note, A Corner of the Universe author Ann M. Martin writes, “like Hattie in A Corner of the Universe, I found out as a young girl that I had had another uncle, and that he had been mentally ill.” Though Martin never knew her uncle, her experience obviously led to Hattie’s story. A Corner of the Universe is a wonderfully emotional and touching novel from the author of the Babysitter’s Club series. Hattie is a sympathetic character, befriending her Uncle Adam though he is a social outcast. Uncle Adam himself will allow readers the opportunity to grow and learn to accept those different from them.

Genre: contemporary realistic

Reading/interest level: ages 12 and up


Newbery Honor, 2003

ALA Notable Children’s Book, 2003

Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year

Book Sense Top Ten Pick

Booklist Editor’s Choice

Similar titles: Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes

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