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.
"Extence's engaging coming-of-age debut skillfully balances light and dark, laughter and tears." - Publishers Weekly
"A bittersweet, cross-audience charmer, this debut novel will appeal to guys, YA readers, and Vonnegut and coming-of-age fiction fans." - Library Journal
"[T]he novel won me over. Extence tells a great story that owes much to Vonnegut, but also something to Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany. It's hard not to see an echo of Harry Potter, too, in the boy-hero with a scar on his head. The final section is humane and touching, and Extence deserves credit for the clever and timely idea of fictionalising a trip to the Swiss death clinic. - Observer (UK)
"Perfectly crafted and beautifully written... The Universe Versus Alex Woods may be a debut novel but it is an outstanding novel by any standards. Unforgettable." - Red (UK)
"Warm and funny and tragic and uplifting all in one. Extence should be on everyone's radar." - Jasper Fforde
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Gavin Extence was born in 1982 and grew up in the interestingly named village of Swineshead, England. From the ages of 5-11, he enjoyed a brief but illustrious career as a chess player, winning numerous national championships and travelling to Moscow and St Petersburg to pit his wits against the finest young minds in Russia. He won only one game.
Gavin now lives in Sheffield with his wife, baby daughter and cat. He is currently working on his second novel. When he is not writing, he enjoys cooking, amateur astronomy and going to Alton Towers.
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