Cover image for A corner of the universe
Title:
A corner of the universe
Author:
Martin, Ann M., 1955-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic Press, [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
xi, 189 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
The summer that Hattie turns twelve, she meets the childlike uncle she never knew and becomes friends with a girl who works at the carnival that comes to Hattie's small town.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
750 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.5 6.0 63410.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.1 11 Quiz: 31364 Guided reading level: Y.
ISBN:
9780439388801

9780439388818
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

On the heels of her acclaimed novel BELLE TEAL, bestselling and beloved author Ann M. Martin presents a searing story about family ties and how they bind us.

The summer Hattie turns 12, her predictable smalltown life is turned on end when her uncle Adam returns home for the first time in over ten years. Hattie has never met him, never known about him. He's been institutionalized; his condition invovles schizophrenia and autism.

Hattie, a shy girl who prefers the company of adults, takes immediately to her excitable uncle, even when the rest of the family -- her parents and grandparents -- have trouble dealing with his intense way of seeing the world. And Adam, too, sees that Hattie is special, that her quiet, shy ways are not a disability,


Author Notes

Ann Mathews Martin was born on August 12, 1955 in Princeton, New Jersey. She received a degree in elementary education and psychology from Smith College. She worked as a teacher, was an editor of children's books for both Bantam and Scholastic, and then became a full-time writer.

She is the author of several series including the Baby-sitters Club series, Baby-Sitters Little Sister series, California Diaries series, and Main Street series. Her other works include Ten Kids No Pets, Here Today, On Christmas Eve, and Rain Reign.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-8. It is 1960, Hattie Owen is about to turn 12, and her world is about to be turned upside down. She loves her small town and the boarding house her parents run (enabling her father to pursue his art), in part because of the security and familiarity her surroundings represent. The boarders seem to be as much a part of the family as her grandparents, who live in a mansion and literally look down their noses at the Owens. But Hattie's perceptions of life in general--and her life in particular--change when 21-year-old Uncle Adam returns to town after his residential school closes. Adam seems to be manic-depressive, and he's a savant when it comes to dates. He's news to Hattie, but he mostly delights her, and she feels she can help him. His problems, however, are more than anyone--including Adam--can handle. The book's message--that people like Adam help "lift the corners of the universe" --is passionately offered, though perhaps too oft repeated. It is Martin's characters that shine, especially Hattie, who is trying to feel her way through family secrets, and Adam, whose valiant efforts to forge a life for himself are as uplifting as his failures are heartrending. The supporting characters are strong pillars that hold up the rest of the story, and their subtle depictions provide a depth that makes it much more than a "problem novel." This is a fully realized roller coaster of emotions, and readers take the ride right along with Hattie. --Ilene Cooper


Publisher's Weekly Review

Martin (Belle Teal; the Baby-Sitters Club series) hints at a life-changing event from the first paragraph of this novel narrated by a perceptive and compassionate 12-year-old, and set in the summer of 1960. Hattie Owen had been anticipating a summer as comfortably uneventful as all the others ("I just want things all safe and familiar," she admits), helping her mother run their boarding house, painting alongside her artist father and reading "piles" of books. Then Uncle Adam (whom Hattie never knew existed) makes a surprise entrance, turning everything upside-down. Hattie's mother says that Uncle Adam has "mental problems." Hattie's grandparents act embarrassed whenever he is around, and her peers laugh at him. The author authentically conveys the ripples Adam sends through this small town. The heroine is continually amazed by his outlandish antics, moved by his sudden mood changes and secretly wonders if she and Adam might be kindred spirits. Hattie finds adventure and tragedy as well as enlightenment as she "lifts the corners of [her] universe" in order to better understand Adam. With characteristic tenderness and wisdom, the author portrays the complex relationship between the sympathetic heroine and her uncle ("I feel a little like his baby-sitter, a little like his mother, not at all like his niece, and quite a bit like his friend"). Readers will relate to Hattie's fear of being as "different" as Adam, and will admire her willingness to befriend an outcast. Hearts will go out to both Hattie and Adam as they step outside the confines of their familiar world to meet some painful challenges. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Twelve-year-old Hattie Owen's life changes forever when a hitherto unknown mentally disabled uncle returns to live with her grandparents in the small town that comprises Hattie's entire world in this novel by Ann M. Martin (Scholastic, 2002). From their first meeting it's clear that Adam sees life much differently and expresses emotions more intensely than is "normal" or comfortable for his aging and controlling parents. His outlandish antics, unexpected outbursts, and emotional vulnerability make him an appealing, yet challenging person whose tendency to ask questions that others might prefer be left unvoiced creates both humorous and uncomfortable situations. Judith Ivey's soft-spoken yet impassioned narration perfectly captures Hattie's desire to help her uncle navigate the raging currents of his feelings as well as her fear that his problems may someday surface in her own personality. Hattie's longing for things to remain the same and her fear of the world beyond her neighborhood conflict with her tentative efforts to make new friends. Ivey effectively uses this tension to draw listeners ever deeper into Hattie's world, providing a thoroughly satisfying and thought-provoking auditory experience.-Cindy Lombardo, Orrville Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.