Journey from grief and loss to hope and understanding.


Sarah was a typical teenager. She was obsessed with becoming a Ninja and having a social life. Now Sarah realizes that stuff never mattered, at least not since her best friend Jamie died. It seems like Jamie's twin brother Emmett is the only one who understands Sarah's struggles to navigate her life in the aftermath of her best friend’s death.

Everything she says drips with sarcasm, and her snark box pushes everyone away. Life is falling apart. When Roy Showalter hires her to work at his local tree farm, things begin to change. Sarah is learning how to live in a world without Jamie. She is putting together the pieces of her life and others to form her theory of everything.   

BTSYA / Teen Reader (16):
The Theory of Everything is a moving coming-of-age story. Sarah is an incredibly relatable character with a good sense of humor. In fact, all the characters had their own unique traits. Sarah's never-ending thoughts and worries about everything, including Star Wars, made this fun to read. Sarah’s story has an in-depth sense of realness to it, but never gets boring. Opening each chapter with her charts and drawings is a nice personal touch.

I learned some important life lessons about learning to rely on people and giving others a chance. It was heartwarming to see Sarah grow throughout this book. The Theory of Everything would make a great gift for teen readers (15 and older) who love coming of age stories.  

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Readers who like coming-of-age books and stories where they can walk beside a character as they grow, will love The Theory of Everything. Sarah's journey through grief toward hope is touching, humorous, and relatable to anyone!

Content Awareness Factors:

The characters use profanity, and sex, drugs, and alcohol are mentioned in the plot. The story is built around the death of a teen. Our teen reviewer notes that some people may take issue with the views and actions in the story.

Despite the elementary reading level, this is a book for teens and young adults.

Type of Book:
A high school student narrates her story of grief, life, and moving on in this coming-of-age young adult novel.
Educational Themes:

There are several layers to the story, from Sarah's grief journey and family relationships to starting over and accepting yourself. The story creates opportunities to talk with kids who struggle with "randomness," change, or unpredictability about strategies/tools and emotional outlets, too.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
15 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
14 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 16
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. Whether they have lost someone close to them or not, teens will understand and connect with Sarah.

Title The Theory of Everything
Author J. J. Johnson
Publisher Peachtree Publishers © 2012
ISBN 9781561456239
Material Hard Cover
Cost $9.95
Genres Emotions and Feelings, Friendship, School, Death and Loss
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