I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Although Grace Carter shares a name with her mother, they are not at all alike. Grace loves science, especially the science of space, and has goals to become an astronomer once she finishes high school. Grace’s mom, GG Carter, is a famous newscaster, known for her great style and graceful personality. Grace’s world gets turned upside down when her mother disappears. There one minute, gone the next, nobody knows where GG is. Grace struggles to cope with the sudden disappearance of her mother and finds understanding in her school’s golden boy.
This book was very…not the type of book I usually read? I like to say that I’m open to reading almost any type of book, and I am! But regardless of that, I don’t really come across many books that are as character driven as this one was.
I know that some people may fight me on this, and it’s not completely accurate, but I didn’t really feel like there was much plot to this book. It’s hard for me to explain this, but I want to clarify that this is not at all a bad thing. Obviously, there was a plot, Grace’s mother goes missing, and that is a huge conflict that needs resolving throughout the book. Did her mother leave or was she kidnapped? Where is she? Who’s responsible for her disappearance? There are loads of questions to be answered plotwise, and while the plot definitely does deliver in that way, the book was written in a way where the “conflict” felt smaller and less important to me than the actual characters and the way they reacted and developed in each situation.
An issue that I did have was that I wasn’t particularly engaged with the book. It may be because I don’t usually read mysteries and am not used to all the build-up and solving-like plotlines, but the beginning of the book really seemed to drag out for me. After I was about 25% in, it definitely picked up and I began to enjoy the book more.
One thing I loved about this book, on the other hand, was how real it all seemed. Often times I come across characters in contemporaries who are larger than life and extremely unrealistic, but all the characters in this book felt so genuine and thought out. I loved how Grace’s relationships with everyone developed throughout the book as well, her relationships with her family – her grandmother, her father, and her brother – and her relationship with her friends – Iris and Mylo.
Another thing I adored were all the sciencey tidbits sprinkled in throughout the book. Grace is obsessed with space and studies exoplanets in her spare time, hoping to one day become a full-fledged astronomer. Ria Voros seamlessly manages to explain advanced scientific concepts while also crafting them into beautiful metaphors.
All in all, The Center of the Universe wasn’t what I was expecting, but I ended up enjoying it all the same. It’s not the most thrilling book out there, but if you’re looking to read something that has great character and family development, this would be a great choice for you.
Have you read this book? Are you planning on reading it? What book do you love that has great character development?