The Universe Versus Alex Woods


How did I get it?
I bought it.


A tale of an unexpected friendship, an unlikely hero and an improbable journey, Alex’s story treads the fine line between light and dark, laughter and tears. And it might just strike you as one of the funniest, most heartbreaking novels you’ve ever read.

Alex Woods knows that he hasn’t had the most conventional start in life.

He knows that growing up with a clairvoyant single mother won’t endear him to the local bullies.

He also knows that even the most improbable events can happen – he’s got the scars to prove it.

What he doesn’t know yet is that when he meets ill-tempered, reclusive widower Mr Peterson, he’ll make an unlikely friend. Someone who tells him that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make the best possible choices.

So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at Dover customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the passenger seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he’s fairly sure he’s done the right thing . .


I’m not going to lie, from reading the synopsis I was so excited to read this book. I’m glad I did! It is the second book of the Waterstones 11 for this year, highlighting some promising debut authors. I can safely say that to me, Gavin Extence is definitely a promising author and I will be looking out for his work in the future.

This book is so unusual. I found myself wondering whether I liked it or not, but I did. It’s certainly different and it does make you think about life and death. I found Alex to be a lovable character, he was so geeky and endearing. His friendship with the unlikely Mr Peterson was both touching and believable. I don’t want to say too much about the plot because I don’t want to ruin it.

Gavin Extence is such a talented writer. The story was witty at times but incredibly sad at others. I was surprised how much information there was about epilepsy in the book, as it is a book of fiction, but it was written so well that I didn’t feel like I was reading a medical text. I have no interest whatsoever in astro-physics, yet Gavin Extence’s writing made me carry on reading when I’m sure less talented writers would have completely killed the book for me. I thoroughly recommend it!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Reading next:
Dance of Shadows- Yelena Black

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