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The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole

by Ryann Shearer (2019-05-27)


There’s no shortage of books for young readers about grief, but it’s safe to say that Michelle Cuevas’ new novel isn’t quite like any of them. Set in the mid-1970s, The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole is poignant, funny, inventive and downright wacky, and at its center (literally!) is an unforgettable metaphor for the grieving process.

Stella Rodriguez’s world hasn’t been the same since her joke-telling, science-loving dad passed away. As the story opens, she is swinging by NASA headquarters, hoping to ask them to include a recording of her dad’s laugh—alongside other iconic Earth sounds—on the Voyager interstellar spacecraft.

On her return home, Stella discovers that she’s picked up a stray—and very hungry—black hole. She soon realizes that the black hole, which she names Larry (short for cosmic singularity), is also starving for companionship. Stella wonders whether Larry might be her best hope to get rid of now-painful memories and reminders—but when that plan begins to backfire, Stella realizes that perhaps the only way to escape the black hole is to travel through it.

In addition to being a powerful story about how to live with—and through—grief, Stella’s tale is a wild adventure, featuring talking garden gnomes, mutant sweaters, a not-too-annoying little brother and the world’s smelliest hamster. Just like Larry, this book will absorb pretty much any young reader—whether they are coping with a loss, love scientific speculation or just enjoy an imaginative tale.

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