The Losers at the Center of the Galaxy

Cover Art by Maike Plenzke
Cover Design by Patrick Hulse

When Lenny Volpe, former quarterback of the worst professional football team in the nation, leaves his family and disappears, the Chicago Horribles win their first game in a long time. Fans are thrilled. The world seems to go back to normal. Except for the Volpe kids. 

Winston throws himself into playing the tuba, and Louise starts secret experiments to find a cure for brain injuries, and they’re each fine, just fine, coping in their own way. That is, until the investigation of some eccentric teacher behavior and the discovery of a real live bear paraded as the Horribles’ new mascot make it clear that things are very much Not Fine. The siblings may just need each other, after all.

Download the Book Club Guide for LOSERS 

Praise for The Losers at the Center of the Galaxy

Bank Street Best Books 2022

Evanston Public Library’s Best Books 2021

★ “Readers will be hard put to judge which is more entertaining—the plot or the cast—but between the two there’s never a dull moment.” —Booklist (Starred Review)
★ “This tender, wacky, and often ­humorous story will be enjoyed by all middle grade readers.” —School Library Journal (Starred Review)

“Offbeat and poignant, this is a healing balm for an imperfect world.” —Kirkus

“[A] good companion to Jacqueline Woodson’s Before the Ever After. Heider deftly balances screwball action and humor with poignancy and even profundity, and offers a hopeful conclusion.” —Horn Book

“While Heider is blessed with an ability to plumb plot out of chaos…it’s her talent for pulling a 180 and then drawing heart out of that same chaotic mix that really puts her on the map. In an era of information overload, Mary Winn Heider is the author who will lead us through the pandemonium into the light.”—Betsy Bird, Fuse #8, School Library Journal