Little Universes by Heather Demetrios follows the story of two sisters dealing with life’s heartbreaks in very different ways. Check out the cover reveal and an excerpt here!
As much as you try to plan for whatever life throws at you, there are some eventualities that will turn your world upside down. It’s not long after we meet sisters Hannah and Mae that we see how they handle the tragic news of their parents’ deaths. Little Universes is the story of how they deal with that tragedy.
Today on Hypable, we’re proud to reveal the cover to Little Universes by Heather Demetrios. The darkness of the story is challenged by the brightness of the cover, which features the two sisters surrounded by colorful dots that can only be those little moments in time, those little universes, that make life worth living.
‘Little Universes’ cover reveal
If this story has caught your attention, then you’ll certainly want to read an excerpt from the novel. Check it out below, and meet Hannah and Mae for the first time:
Read an excerpt from ‘Little Universes’
THERE ARE PIECES OF STARS IN OUR GUTTERS.
It wasn’t a Nobel-winning astrophysicist who made this discovery, but a Norwegian jazz musician named Jon Larsen. A completely random human who’s into the cosmos and got to thinking.
His experiments led to the observation that these micrometeorites are EVERYWHERE; Gutters, yes, and in our hair, the tops of cars, on the rosebushes in your front lawn. Stick out your tongue long enough, and perhaps you can SWALLOW THE STARS.
In case you didn’t know, these micrometeorites are older than the planets themselves, some of the oldest matter in existence. Some of it’s older than the sun, even. 100 metric TONS of stardust crashes into Earth—Every. Single. Day.
And it’s just raining down on us, all the time.
My mom has this book called Acorn by Yoko Ono and, I’m warning you right now, if you read it, you will never be the same again. It should maybe come with a warning label.
Say her name to yourself, softly: Yoooooh….kooooohhhhhh.
Mom says Yoko’s presence in the world is the universe’s way of reminding us all that we don’t have to spend our lives wearing business casual. Or sensible shoes.
Spend our lives. Minutes as currency. It’s like we’re paying God, handing Her our time in exchange for more breath: here’s a minute, here’s another minute, another. And sometimes, I want to be like, Can I have a refund? Or maybe an exchange. A new life. A new me. Because I’m only seventeen and I feel broke. Like I spent my life already.
Do you ever feel like your skin is a little too baggy, like a pair of jeans that you should probably get rid of, but can’t bring yourself to do it because maybe you wore them the night you lost your virginity or they’re your good luck charm on test days? But you really want to get a new pair. Or some days your skin is too tight, like all of you got stuck in the dryer too long?
And that’s where Yoko comes in. She is the great reminder that It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way.
Whisper with me. Come on.
The sound of her name is just like these wooden wind chimes my mom keeps on our back porch. The wind comes in off the beach and bumps them around, soft wood clunking out poetry. Sound medicine. An incantation.
Good word. Incantation. Almost as good as Yoko.
Yoko fronts her own rock band even though she’s a senior citizen and she sees the truth of the world and writes about it and draws about it, too, and one time I got to see her art for real and it made me cry it was so good, but most people only know about Yoko because she was married to John Lennon. You know, the Beatle. He’s the imagine all the people guy. I’m a George girl, ‘cause he’s the silent, sexy one who’s all enlightened and plays the sitar, but even I have to admit that John is the man.
People say Yoko broke up the Beatles, but that’s just dumb humans blaming a girl for boy problems. The thing is, people change. You know? You love someone, you make things with them, and then you realize you don’t fit anymore. And that’s what happened for John and Paul. They understood that it wasn’t working. No matter how good it was. Before.
In her book, Acorn, Yoko has all these suggestions that she writes down for people to do. Like in Connection Piece I:
Whisper your name to a pebble.
Sometimes late at night I sneak out of the house and walk over to the beach. I go past the boardwalk, past those iconic Cali lifeguard huts, and the homeless guys and stoners, right down to where the water kisses the shore. I pick up a pebble and I whisper my name to it. Then I throw it into the ocean.
Maybe it will tell the crabs or jellyfish or dolphins my name when they come by.
Maybe someday the whole ocean will be whispering
Hannah. Hannah. Haaaaaa….naaaaaahhhhhhh.
I always have a Sharpie in my pocket and when no one’s looking, I write my own acorns. They’re not like Yoko’s. They’re more like secrets I whisper to the whole world. Or just a thought I want to share, but have no one to share it with because if I did they would give me that blank look they always do when I say things like what I write down with my Sharpies. I say stuff like that and Dad says, Maybe we should make an appointment with Dr. Brown and then I say I don’t really need to sit in her stupid paisley chair and talk about my problems and I walk out before he can start rattling off statistics about adolescent junkies, though he would never use that word. Mom tries to sweeten the deal by saying we can go get reiki from her friend Cynthia after, to balance things out.
There isn’t enough reiki in the world to fix me, but I don’t tell her that.
I wrote this on a stop sign a few days ago, after my first week of senior year:
I am invisible.
Mae would say this is a scientifically unsound assertion, but she doesn’t understand that some things are true even if you can’t prove it.
I don’t know why I do them. The acorns. It’s weird, I guess, to leave little pieces of yourself all over Los Angeles and never go back to pick them up.
ISS Location: Low-Earth Orbit
Earth Date: 29 August
Earth Time (GMT): 03:06
I find out in waves.
My grandmother picks up her cell phone in Florida and dials my number. She calls me because I’m the commander of our crew while my parents are in Malaysia. And also because, even though she doesn’t know what my sister did in March, doesn’t know about the stuff Mom found in Hannah’s room and the counseling sessions and her failed classes, Gram somehow knows that Nah is not okay right now. It’s hard to talk on the phone to someone who only speaks crying, or doesn’t speak at all. So Gram calls me.
My phone rings and I answer in the way I always do, our way, which is to tell her something I’ve learned today. She says this is good practice for my NASA interview. Never mind I still have to get three degrees and become a test pilot in between now and then. Sometimes, just to see if I’m in fighting shape, she’ll throw a devilishly hard calculus problem my way. That’s what you get for having a grandmother who’s a retired math teacher.
“Gram. Hello! I can’t get in touch with Dad—have you tried? It’s just after breakfast in Malaysia and he’s probably on the beach, but maybe the guesthouse has a number? It’s of the utmost importance that I call him immediately because I was reading today’s Bad Astronomy post and it’s all about how Dad’s quintessence theory about dark energy is getting more support from that Harvard string theorist nemesis of his! This paper came out and in it, they mentioned Dad by name: Dr. Winters’ theories gain more credence…That’s my Scientist Voice, in case you didn’t know. I’m aware of the neurological benefits of rest when one is on vacation, but this is a DARK MATTER EMERGENCY, so—”
“These physicists are seeing that Dad’s probably right about string theory not being compatible with the rapid expansion of the universe. Finally! Of course, we have to see from the experiments up in space if the rate of acceleration is constant because if it’s not, that’s a whole other—”
I stop talking. The way she says my name causes tiny electrical pulses to spread across the tips of my fingers. I’m not like Mom and Nah—I don’t believe in vibes and I certainly don’t allow Cynthia to do “energy work” on me (good grief). But. I do get tingles. Specifically in my fingers. And that’s never good. Never. I know it’s only a biological reaction to external circumstances, but Mom insists it’s an indication of my female intuition; never mind that female is a concept up for debate, anyway.
There’s a pause while my grandmother’s phone converts her next words into an electrical signal, which is then transmitted into radio waves to the cell tower nearest her. The network of towers carries that wave across the country from a condo in Fort Lauderdale to my cell phone in Venice Beach, California. My phone converts her radio wave to an electrical signal and then back to sound.
And the sound I hear is Gram’s crinkly, butterscotch candy wrapper voice say in a whisper, “Honey? Something’s happened.”
About ‘Little Universes’
One wave: that’s all it takes for the rest of Mae and Hannah Winters’ lives to change.
When a tsunami strikes the island where their parents are vacationing, it soon becomes clear that their mom and dad are never coming home. Forced to move to Boston from sunny California for the rest of their senior year, each girl struggles with secrets their parents’ death has brought to light, and with their uncertainty about the future. Instead of bringing them closer, it feels like the wave has torn the sisters apart.
Hannah is a secret poet who wants to be seen, but only knows how to hide. The pain pills she stole from her dead father hurl her onto the shores of an addiction she can’t shake and a dealer who turns her heart upside down. When it’s clear Hannah’s drowning, Mae, a budding astronaut suddenly launched into an existential crisis—and unexpected love—must choose between herself and the only family she has left.
Little Universes is a book about the powerful bond between sisters, the kinds of love that never die, and the journey we all must make through the baffling cruelty and unexpected beauty of human life in an incomprehensible universe.