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Review: Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth by Andy Hueller

Wednesday, July 27, 2011
5 Stars: An Incredible Read
Paperback: 241 Pages
Publication: August 8, 2011 by Cedar Fort

Calvin Comet Cobble lives at Hidden Shores Orphanage. Location: the very center of the earth. Cal's life is full of the school bully and mean teachers, but when he meets Mr. E, who can skip a stone clear across Lake Arctic, everything about Cal's life changes. Told with wit and charm, Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth is guaranteed to excite and inspire readers of all ages.

Cal is no hero. He regrets not taking action in the past, and he suffers form discrimination because of his hair color. He's learned not to talk back to adults because he's always dealt swift and horrible punishments. What he wants is not to attract attention. Then he meets Mr. E., and he learns to see another side of the world, one where one tween can make a difference. From there, the story quickly progresses, sweeping you into a story very similar to Cal's and which took place twelve years ago.

Twelve years. This number plays a significant role in the book. Twelve years ago, Bart's Screw was discovered. Twelve years ago, Cal was born. Twelve years ago, two brothers' lives changed. Twelves years into the future (aka. present day), Cal is in an orphanage in the middle of the Earth, and he spies on Mr. E. early in the mornings. The switching perspectives develops the backstory of the novel while furthering the plot. These shifts take place just as you reach the climax in one story, leaving you hanging until the last few pages of the book when it all comes together.

Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth brings to you a child's worst fears (cue: evil teacher, bad cafeteria food, and oversized bullies). On the brighter side, it expresses the importance of speaking out and being yourself. It tells of relationships: friend-friend, student-mentor, and child-parent. It brings to you the best friend who isn't afraid to tell you off and who is too smart for her own good, the quirky teacher who has a big heart under his scary exterior, and the no-good father who's never been around but who also has a story to tell.

This book would make a good novel for a middle-grade reader book club. It has the bad and the funny of tween life and will entertain readers while keeping them engrossed in life at the center of the Earth. At the same time, it instigates the reader to raise questions such as the justice of judging people based on looks, how the city of Robert came to be forgotten, and the role that Mr E. plays in Calvin's lives. There are more thought-provoking questions provided in the back of the book that will generate great discussions.

Related Posts
Interview with author Andy Hueller


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An ARC was provided for review purposes by the publisher
1 comment on "Review: Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth by Andy Hueller"
  1. Great review thank you!!

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete

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