Extence, Gavin. The Universe Versus Alex Woods. Redhook, 2013.
Alex was hit by a meteorite when he was ten, which not only scarred him for life (literally) but also gave him a seizure disorder. This disorder led to teasing, which eventually led to an old man's greenhouse windows being smashed, which in turn led to Alex being required to help this man for a number of weeks until his debt had been paid. This is why, at the beginning of the story, Alex is arrested on his way back to the UK when he is found in possession of a considerable amount of marijuana as well as the cremains of this same elderly gentleman. The rest of the book leads up to the first chapter.
This book caught my attention and managed to hold it even after I figured out why Alex was caught at the border with drugs and ashes. I liked Alex's personality and enjoyed watching his relationship with Mr. Peterson grow. I appreciated the way this book handled the topic of assisted suicide as well as secular humanism. While this book doesn't currently exist in my library, I could easily recommend it to teens who are interested in stories that wrestle with difficult topics.
Recommended for: young adults
Red Flags: marijuana use, language, assisted suicide
Overall Rating: 5/5 stars