A Corner of the Universe is a novel published in 2002 by Ann M Martin. The novel takes place in the summer of 1960, centering on the 11-year-old narrator's life. Living with her father and mother in Millerton, Pennsylvania, Hattie Owen helps her mother run a boarding house. However, after Hattie's Uncle Adam comes to visit, Hattie's summer plans are derailed, leading to tragedy. The novel deals with themes of family, human understanding and empathy.
The summer of 1960 is a season that the novel's narrator and protagonist, 11-almost-12-year-old Hattie Owen, expects to be as comfortably uneventful as all the others in her small, tranquil town of Millerton, PA. She's looking forward to helping her mother run their boarding house with its eccentric adult boarders, painting alongside her father, and reading.
Then 21-year-old Uncle Adam, whom Hattie never knew existed, comes to stay with Hattie's grandparents (Nana and Papa), because his "school," an institution for the mentally disabled, has closed down permanently. Adam then visits Hattie often.
Hattie then meets Leila, the daughter of the carnival owners that come to town. However, after Adam breaks down on the Ferris wheel, moves away with the carnival.
Also, people come to stay in Hattie's boarding house. A woman with a son and a daughter just suffered her husband's death, and moved away, but needed to stay with them because she needed to go job hunting.
Soon, various events occur and start to "shake up" the summer Hattie had planned. Both Adam and Hattie get to know each other, but when Adam commits suicide leads to everyone - including Hattie - realizing that no one really knew and understood Adam as much as he needed everyone to.