DNF: The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

Title:  The Universe Versus Alex Woods
Author:  Gavin Extence
Series:  None
Publisher:  Redhook, an imprint of Hachette Book Group
Publication Date:  June 25, 2013
Pages:  416
Format/Source:  eARC/Received from publisher via NetGalley
Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Contemporary

A rare meteorite struck Alex Woods when he was ten years old, leaving scars and marking him for an extraordinary future. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, Alex hasn’t had the easiest childhood.
But when he meets curmudgeonly widower Mr. Peterson, he finds an unlikely friend. Someone who teaches him that that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make it count.
So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the front seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he’s fairly sure he’s done the right thing …
Introducing a bright young voice destined to charm the world, The Universe Versus Alex Woods is a celebration of curious incidents, astronomy and astrology, the works of Kurt Vonnegut and the unexpected connections that form our world. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads)

I hate not finishing books, but sometimes, they’re just not great, or they’re just not your thing, or they contain issues or events that you just really don’t want to (or can’t) read about.  For me, The Universe Versus Alex Woods was the latter.  It was an interesting book and I could see some of the British humor in there, but unfortunately there was something in the book that hit my anxiety button and just kept on pushing.  

I didn’t realize that I was so anxious about seizures until reading this book.  I remember that one of my friends when I was a kid had a brother who was epileptic.  I saw him have a seizure once and it was something that really bothered me as a kid.  The fact that I have an eye phobia doesn’t help, because of the whole eyes rolling back in your head thing.  (That is a sentence I have anxiety just typing out.)  

Yes, I’m weird.  No, I do not have epilepsy and I am not afraid of people who do.  I’m sorry that people have it and have to deal with it, and I do not hate people with epilepsy or even dislike them.  But for some reason the subject triggers major anxiety with me.  I was so anxious while reading this book that I couldn’t go to sleep one night.  So it got to the point that I just had to stop reading.  I just couldn’t do it anymore.

However, if you don’t have weird anxiety like I do, this might be a book you should try.  The only other issue I had with the parts I read were that occasionally some of it came across sounding like a school lesson.  Alex’s doctor tells him all the details about his surgery after getting hit with the meteorite, and it seemed like I was attending a pre-med lecture in college. Alex is told all about meteorites, and I felt like I was sitting in a middle school science class.  There’s a discussion about an Emily Dickinson poem that turns into a philosophy or psychology lesson.  But other than that, the book was interesting.

One day, maybe I’ll get over my anxiety towards seizures and I’ll be able to finish this book.  Until then, please check out the reviews from other bloggers that I’ve listed below.

Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Hachette Book Group
Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. (Thanks, Redhook/Hachette Book Group and NetGalley!) I was not compensated in any other way for this review.


  1. Bittner

    June 20, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    I remember you telling me about how you weren't going to be able to finish this one, but I don't remember if you had previously told me about the plot of the book. I hate to say it, but that synopsis sounds awful.

  2. Andrea @ Cozy Up

    June 20, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    I'm sorry that you couldn't finish this one. I've heard some good things about it and I'm really interested in it. Hopefully I don't get anxious with this like you did. I do love the cover of this though!

  3. Brandi Kosiner

    June 20, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    Aw, sorry the seizures really get to you, and I can see how that would make you not want to finish

  4. fakesteph

    June 21, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Ahhh, no. I'm sorry this one triggered your anxiety. This one actually looks like the kind of book I'd love (plus, I love the cover and that helps).

  5. Kate Midnight Book Girl

    June 21, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    I think I've mentioned this before, but I had to stop reading The Knife of Never Letting Go because it was depressing the shiz out of me. I was literally having nightmares about the book. There was not a single happy moment in that book, and a poor dog gets bad things done to it, repeatedly, and while I kind of like violence (Tarantino is my movie god), I can't read anything with violence to animals in it. Even Like Water for Elephants was hard, but it helped that the elephant in question got her revenge.

    I was well over half way done with TKoNLG, but I just couldn't continue. I felt horrible for dnf-ing it, and lots of people told me that the series is fantastic… but the thought of finishing it, then continuing with an actual series? *shudder* It stands out so much to me, because it's the first time a book has ever impacted me so negatively before.

    Well, except for Last of the Mohicans… because that movie was so awesome, and when I tried to read the book is was like shaving with an Epi-lady. I was unprepared for the pain. ;) DNF that shiz with the first 20 pages. I might someday pick it up, because I'm not a teen anymore so maybe it won't be like reading a chemistry book, but why put myself through that again?

  6. Kate Midnight Book Girl

    June 21, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    lol, just Water for Elephants!! I'm always mixing that title up with Like Water for Chocolate! I do it allllllll the time.

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