Laura Moriarty’s debut novel, The Center of Everything, is the beautifully told coming of age story of Evelyn Bucknow, growing up in Kansas with her young and somewhat immature mother, Tina. Even though the deck seems to be stacked against her, Evelyn has a couple of things going for her. The first is her relationship with her overly-religious grandmother, who provides Evelyn with the stability that her mother is not always able to provide. Evelyn is also blessed with teachers who recognize her potential and provide her not only with encouragement and direction, but also serve as role models and mentors. As Evelyn grows from a self-conscious fourth grader through her high school graduation, she learns not only to believe in herself, but also to have faith in her surprisingly resilient mother.