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Extended Audio Sample The Center of Everything Audiobook, by Linda Urban Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Linda Urban Narrator: Suzy Jackson Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2013 ISBN: 9781490601304
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For Ruby Pepperdine, the “center of everything” is on the rooftop of Pepperdine Motors in her donut-obsessed town of Bunning, New Hampshire, stargazing from the circle of her grandmother Gigi’s hug. That’s how everything is supposed to be—until Ruby messes up and things spin out of control. But she has one last hope. It all depends on what happens on Bunning Day, when the entire town will hear Ruby read her winning essay. And it depends on her twelfth birthday wish—unless she messes that up too. Can Ruby’s wish set everything straight in her topsy-turvy world?

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A beautiful, sensitive, thoughtful novel that will make you think and smile and think some more, and fall in love with Linda Urban’s books.”

    Kathryn Erskine, National Book Award–winning author of Mockingbird

  • “Another gem from one of my favorite authors! Ruby Pepperdine and her wish will work their way into the center of your heart, where they’ll remain (along with a yearning for donuts) long after you close the book.”

    Ingrid Law, Newbery Honor–winning author of Savvy

  • The Center of Everything travels a satisfying, circular path that deliberately echoes the shape of a donut…Wishing has a useful place both in childhood and in this novel; but so, too, does reality, especially when rendered with this kind of sensitivity.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Urban has deftly structured Ruby’s story as a series of flashbacks…Throughout this slim, affecting novel, Urban treats Ruby’s bewilderment with care and gracefully reinforces the value of friends, family, and community.” 

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “The poignancy that characterized Urban’s A Crooked Kind of Perfect and Hound Dog True is also present in this novel about wishes and regret…Urban traces how Ruby discovers connections among dissimilar phenomena, including the nature of relativity, everyday sounds, and being part of a community. Ruby’s large imagination and even bigger heart are beautifully evoked as the sixth-grader finds a way to keep the memory of her grandmother alive.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This story is sweet.”

    School Library Journal

  • “A poignant, finely wrought exploration of grief.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “By turns thought-provoking, humorous, and poignant, Ruby’s story introduces a multifaceted character well worth meeting.”

    Horn Book

  • “This picture of life in a small town and the worries of a preteen will hit home with middle schoolers.”

    Children’s Literature

  • “Every book by Linda Urban makes me laugh, cry, hope, wonder, and fall in love with her writing. With The Center of Everything, she has done it again!”

    Barbara O’Connor, author of How to Steal a Dog

  • “Narrator Suzy Jackson offers a sparkling portrayal of twelve-year-old Ruby Pepperdine…Jackson’s youthful voice is perfect for the voices of Ruby and her diverse group of friends. As Gigi, she sounds appropriately elderly and desperate to make sure her gifts have been passed on to her granddaugher. While Jackson’s lively pacing conveys Ruby’s inquisitive and enthusiastic nature, she modulates both her tone and pace dramatically to reveal Ruby’s introspective side in this tender story.”


  • Selected for the Spring 2013 Kids’ Indie Next List
  • A 2013 VOYA Selection for Middle School Readers
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About the Author
Author Linda Urban

Linda Urban is an author whose debut novel, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, was selected for many best books lists and was nominated for twenty state awards. Her novel Hound Dog True received four starred reviews and was named a Kirkus Best Book of 2011. She is a former bookseller.

About the Narrator

Suzy Jackson is an audiobook narrator whose readings include several novels by Charlane Harris, Jodi Picoult, and M. L. N. Hanover. She has won an AudioFile Earphones Award and was a finalist in 2013 for the Audie Award for Best Fantasy Narration.