The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe - Review

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Watch a video of Tricia talking about her new release here! Click on the book cover to watch the video. 

For fans of Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly and The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle by Christina Uss, a novel about one unadventurous girl who discovers she is anything but.

Eleven-year-old Loah Londonderry is definitely a homebody. While her mother, a noted ornithologist, works to save the endangered birds of the shrinking Arctic tundra, Loah anxiously counts the days till her return home. But then, to Loah's surprise and dismay, Dr. Londonderry decides to set off on a perilous solo quest to find the Loah bird, long believed extinct. Does her mother care more deeply about Loah the bird than Loah her daughter?

Things get worse yet when Loah's elderly caretakers fall ill and she finds herself all alone except for her friend Ellis. Ellis has big problems of her own, but she believes in Loah. She's certain Loah has strengths that are hidden yet wonderful, like the golden feather tucked away on her namesake bird's wing. When Dr. Londonderry's expedition goes terribly wrong, Loah needs to discover for herself whether she has the courage and heart to find help for her mother, lost at the top of the world. 

Beautifully written, The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe is about expeditions big and small, about creatures who defy gravity and those of us who are bound by it.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

A very engaging middle grade novel that is well put together and not complicated in the slightest. The book is very well written given the primary topic of the book (bird watching). The main character is constantly getting bullied; chubby, lazy eye, non-athletic. Her mother bought a house that needs so much work; yet, not concerned about the house. Her mother leaves on a job and leaves her with an older couple. The couple works really hard to get Loah outside more and takes really good care of her. Loah gets freaked out one day at her house as Loah runs into a young boy and girl in a fork in the road - the two kids are very self sufficient (essentially raising themselves). After a while, her mom calls Loah to let her know that she is not returning because she swears that she has found this super rare bird. Loah is disappointed, but never feels as though her mother doesn't lover her, just learning that her mother loves nature the exact same. Loah starts to get a spiral of bad news (when it rains it pours) - including potentially losing her home. Loah's caretakers are now both in the hospital. Loah runs into the kids again, inviting the young girl who was "running away" to stay with her. This girl from the woods gives Loah courage and bravery that she never once portrayed having. Loah gets a phone call from her mom and Loah realizes something is very, very wrong. Loah finding a way to her moms university seeks out her boss to find a way to get her mother back. Again, she returns to bad news with child protective services at her front door on top of her house being condemned, BUT mom will be returning and was injured. 

You don't have to leave home to find adventure and discoveries. 

Themes: climate change, self acceptance, bullying, courage, bravery, friendship, and true family. 




*Afflink to support my reviews! 

Goblin is a fantasy story about overcoming great odds and about finding light in even the darkest of places.

A young, headstrong goblin embarks on a wild journey of danger, loss, self-discovery, and sacrifice in this new graphic novel adventure.

One fateful night a sinister human warrior raids the home of the young goblin Rikt and leaves him orphaned. Angry and alone, Rikt vows to avenge the death of his parents and seeks a way to destroy the man who did this. He finds aid from unlikely allies throughout his journey and learns of a secret power hidden in the heart of the First Tree. Will Rikt survive the trials that await him on his perilous journey to the First Tree? And is Rikt truly prepared for what he may find there?

A heartfelt fantasy yarn about finding light in a world filled with darkness. A really great spin on growing up and high fantasy.-Dave Scheidt (Mayor Good BoyStar WarsAvatar the Last Airbender)

Goblin is a massive journey of heartbreak and healing in a world so full, every chapter could fill an entire book!-Marcus Emerson (Ben BraverKid YoutuberDiary of a 6th Grade Ninja)

Grissom and Perkins have created my favorite kind of book. Chock full of strange monsters, big adventure, and a whole lot of heart. The perfect graphic novel for the entire family.-Rafer
Roberts (GrumbleMinecraftModern Fantasy)

Goblin is exactly what I look for in a fantasy story. Beautiful landscapes, curious creatures, and an adorable hero who rises to the challenge and happens to be a goblin!-Claire Connelly (Black EyesDown with the ShipThe Long Year)

Rikt enjoins us to delight in his triumphs, wallow in his sorrows and take pleasure in the journey that lies ahead. Grissom and Perkins show that even the smallest of us can achieve great things.-Jeff McClelland (The TickHonchoBlack Terror)

Website AND game: 

About Eric and Will:

Written by Eric Grissom. Twitter: @egrissom, Instagram: @egrissom
Illustrated by Will Perkins. Twitter: @DillGerkins, Instagram: @willperkinscomics

Eric Grissom (author):

Eric Grissom is a writer whose comic works include Gregory Suicide with artist Will Perkins, Deadhorse with artists Phil Sloan, David Halvorson, and Marissa Louise, Animals with artist Claire Connelly, and Planet Gigantic with artist David Halvorson.Eric lives in New Jersey with his wife, three children, a cat, two dogs, assorted clown dolls, a broken heart, a pile of old dreams, and the memory of a tadpole.

Will Perkins (Illustrator)

Will Perkins is an illustrator, amateur paleontologist and co-creator of Gregory Suicide and Beware...Comics as well as contributing to publishers FUBAR press, Action Lab Comics, 215ink Comics and IDW. 
Will Currently survives with his wife in Rochester, New York.


The Book No One Wants To Read



Runaway Train Blog Tour


HOLLOW CHEST blog tour!


Afflink - Click on the image to order! 

Debut author Brita Sandstrom arrives with a sweeping, unforgettable historical ghost story of the darkness around and inside us, and the courage it takes to keep hope alive.

Charlie has been having nightmares. Eyes watching him in the night, claws on his chest, holding him down. His dreams have been haunted for years, ever since German bombs rained down on London, taking his father’s life, taking his city’s spirit, taking his beloved brother, Theo, off to war in France. 

Now Charlie is left to take care of his grandpa Fitz while his mother works, waiting for the day when Theo will come home. And with World War II nearly won, that day is almost here. Grandpa Fitz warns Charlie that soldiers sometimes come back missing a piece of themselves, but Charlie isn’t worried. Whatever Theo has lost, Charlie will help him find it. 

When Theo finally does return, though, he is cold and distant. But Charlie refuses to accept that the brother he knew is gone, and soon, he discovers the reason for his brother’s change: war wolves. These are terrifying ancient beasts who consume the hearts of those broken by grief. 

The wolves have followed soldiers back home from the front. And if Charlie truly wants to save Theo, he’s going to have to find them and get his brother’s heart back. But can a heart that’s been eaten ever be replaced?

I read Hollow Chest and then I gave to my mom to read (retired librarian) who grew up right after WW2. Because she is a retired librarian she is very hard to excite sometimes when it comes to new books I put in her hands a lot, obviously times are a lot different now than they were when she was working - BUT her exact first statement to me about Hollow Chest was, "I can not believe this is a debut. The writing she does, and how she brings so much in is beyond well done. If I was a teacher in a classroom I would be going through this and highlighting this is important, this important, over and over, and then read it again and do it all over." 

For me, sometimes reading books that deal with grief in such a metaphorical way is the best way for me to relate to the loss of my dad (even being almost 3 years ago). Brita does something in the way she recognizes grief, experiencing trauma, and managing anxiety that is both honest and brutal, and overall just really great writing. If you are teaching a historical fiction unit, I would read aloud this story. The discussions that students can pull out I envision to be compelling, to say the least. There is so much in the character development to unpack, the themes are higher level and go much more beyond the surface. 

Guided Discussion Teacher Guide 

If you want to know more about the insight of Brita's writing adventure of Hollow Chest check out the first link in the blog tour to Nerdy Book Club - I LOVED what she shared about how this started as a "late" assignment turned into what she still claims "unfinished".

Brita Sandstrom is a graduate of Hamline University’s MFA program in writing for children and young adults. Hollow Chest is her first book. She lives with her family and a collection of cats in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can visit her online at



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