A moving middle-grade debut for anyone who's ever felt like they don't belong
Brian has always been anxious, whether at home, or in class, or on the basketball court. His dad tries to get him to stand up for himself and his mom helps as much as she can, but after he and his brother are placed in foster care, Brian starts having panic attacks. And he doesn't know if things will ever be "normal" again . . . Ezra's always been popular. He's friends with most of the kids on his basketball team--even Brian, who usually keeps to himself. But now, some of his friends have been acting differently, and Brian seems to be pulling away. Ezra wants to help, but he worries if he's too nice to Brian, his friends will realize that he has a crush on him . . . But when Brian and his brother run away, Ezra has no choice but to take the leap and reach out. Both boys have to decide if they're willing to risk sharing parts of themselves they'd rather hide. But if they can be brave, they might just find the best in themselves--and each other.
About the Author
Chad Lucas has been in love with words since he attempted his first novel on a typewriter in the sixth grade. He has worked as a newspaper reporter, communications advisor, freelance writer, part-time journalism instructor, and parenting columnist. A proud descendant of the historic African Nova Scotian community of Lucasville, he lives with his family near Halifax, Nova Scotia. He enjoys coaching basketball and is rarely far from a cup of tea. Thanks a Lot, Universe is his debut novel.
"A glorious ode to the beauty of pre-teen friendship and the beginnings of blurred lines and vital questions of identity. By far my favorite middle grade novel of 2021!" —Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Clean Getaway
“Thanks a Lot, Universe demonstrates how you don't always know what your peers are going through, and how powerful kindness is. This honest portrayal of family trauma, changing friendships, and big emotions tugged at my heartstrings. Brian and Ezra will stick with me for a long time!”—Janae Marks, author of From The Desk of Zoe Washington
“I loved this book. It's raw and heartfelt and debut author Chad Lucas has a gift for detail: the way a shirt scrunches up beneath the arms, the dialogue that would fit right into any middle school school hallway, the really poignant descriptions of anxiety and panic attacks...there is a distinctive honesty to the writing. I found myself cheering for our protagonists almost immediately, and their voices drew me along through a story and a message that should be widely shared. This book is going to do a lot of good.”—Wesley King, Edgar-award winning author of OCDaniel
**STARRED REVIEW** "Featuring snappy dialogue from earnest tween voices, skillful prose guides this engrossing story from start to finish. The themes and social commentary found here are gentle and organic—never heavy-handed—and the plot’s antagonists are far from two-dimensional, expertly reflecting real-life human complexity for a middle-grade audience." —Kirkus Reviews
**STARRED REVIEW** "Lucas’s prose is funny and deeply empathetic, respecting readers’ ability to handle heavy topics but lightened with frequent laugh-out-loud moments. . .Perfect for the transition from middle grade to young adult literature." —School Library Journal
"Lucas concludes with a welcome touch of realism." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books