When it comes to sheer, unmitigated creativity, Steve LeBel ranks high! In his Universe Builders, LeBel tells the story of Bernie, a young god whose job is to create new universes. Bernie has a high calling and a tough act to follow. You see, his father from whom he is estranged has won the Annual Universe Building contest--repeatedly. The pressure is on. But Bernie is sidetracked with friends, a crush on Suzie, a bully who is set out to destroy him, and unusual creatures that hang around in the nearby neighborhood forest.
The Universe Builders is classified as YA, but it is written such that middle-graders could read it and would surely enjoy it. The story is "clean," and while the characters are not terribly deep, they are most certainly entertaining. But it is LeBel's (apparently) bone-deep creativity that sets this work apart. With an unusual mixture of fantasy and what "feels like" science fiction . . .
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