First sentence: “This story began on an afternoon the color of comets, with a girl dressed all in black. “
“Have you heard about the new book about anti-gravity?”
“What about it?”
“It’s impossible to put down.”
The Care and Feeding of A Black Hole isn’t about anti-gravity, but it is a book that you won’t be able to put down.
This touching Middle Grade book is about eleven-year-old Space nerd Stella Rodriguez who has lost her father, and finds a Black Hole following her all the way from NASA, adopts it, and finds herself in a bit of trouble when the Black Hole swallows everything he touches like Stinky Stu the hamster, old photographs of her father, the Dog With No Name, and other items. Those items, however, happen to be very precious to Stella and sets out on a recovery mission to find all that she’s lost. Along the way, her brother Cosmo gets sucked into the Black Hole, and the two learn to confront their grief and talk about their loss.
The Black Hole is not only a mass that exists in space, where nothing can escape its pull, but it’s a metaphor for the loss of her father and how she can’t get her father back no matter what. Stella doesn’t want to confront her loss and her grief; she runs away by throwing all the things that remind her of her father into the Black Hole and various other things that annoy her, but that develops problems that can’t be solved by ignoring. It’s normal in the grieving process, but oh boy, it was such an accurate feeling and depiction. There is a hole in Stella’s life and heart, and I felt her grief.
This book does a beautiful job balancing the silliest of the moments Stella finds herself in with her Black Hole with the seriousness of the loss and grief that she experiences. It’s not easy thing to do, and I applaud Michelle Cuevas because I surely chuckled and cried.
The Care and Feeding of A Black Hole is a touching Middle Grade for young kids. It teaches them that it’s okay to fear what they don’t want to confront, especially when it involves death, and also that it’s even better to talk about what and who you’ve lost.