The First State of Being

Erin Entrada Kelly

The First State of Being

Erin Entrada Kelly

When twelve-year-old Michael Rosario meets a mysterious boy from the future, his life is changed forever. From bestselling author Erin Entrada Kelly, winner of the Newbery Medal for Hello, Universe and a Newbery Honor for We Dream of Space, this novel explores themes of family, friendship, trust, and forgiveness. The First State of Being is for fans of Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me.

It's August 1999. For twelve-year-old Michael Rosario, life at Fox Run Apartments in Red Knot, Delaware, is as ordinary as ever—except for the looming Y2K crisis and his overwhelming crush on his fifteen-year-old babysitter, Gibby. But when a disoriented teenage boy named Ridge appears out of nowhere, Michael discovers there is more to life than stockpiling supplies and pining over Gibby.

It turns out that Ridge is carefree, confident, and bold, things Michael wishes he could be. Unlike Michael, however, Ridge isn’t where he belongs. When Ridge reveals that he’s the world’s first time traveler, Michael and Gibby are stunned but curious. As Ridge immerses himself in 1999—fascinated by microwaves, basketballs, and malls—Michael discovers that his new friend has a book that outlines the events of the next twenty years, and his curiosity morphs into something else: focused determination. Michael wants—no, needs—to get his hands on that book. How else can he prepare for the future? But how far is he willing to go to get it?

A story of time travel, friendship, found family, and first loves, this thematically rich novel is distinguished by its voice, character development, setting, and exploration of the issues that resonate with middle grade readers.