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“The greatest gift is a passion for reading.”
Publisher: Jabberwocky, an Imprint of Sourcebooks, 2015
Material: hard cover
Summary: Canadian Arthur Bean is a genius. Seventh grade starts a bit rocky. In fact, school has already started. He's coming in late because his mother just died. Arthur wants everyone to know that he misses his mother but he is, indeed, fine. He tries to prove this several different ways. He goes through the trials and tribulations familiar to many 7th graders. He likes a popular girl, but doesn't know how to communicate it. He argues with the school bully. He's trying to maintain the lead in the school play. Arthur has it pretty tough so far. What lies ahead. This middle grade novel is told through Arthur's emails, notes assignments, and other materials he's collected.
Type of Reading: family reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 10 and Up; read yourself: 11 and Up
Interest Level: 10 and Up
Reading Level: 5.3
Age of Child: Read by a 16-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: This book does a good job of portraying Arthur's life and challenges. I enjoyed this book a lot. I liked the way it was written, the specific phrasing of the dialogue between the characters. Using the school flyers in the book is done creatively. and I think it'd be a perfect book for the age it is marketed for.
Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Pros: The story is one preteens and teens will relate to. The writing is really well done. The presentation of different formats (emails, school flyers) is creative and fun.
Cons: Even though the writing style is very effective at telling the story, it leaves a bit to be desired. It doesn't quite find a balance between the telling and the showing.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. Genius is good, but I it isn't quite stellar enough to spend money on. It is very accurate and creative, but it's a premise that is not as creative as it could be.
Educational Themes: There were a few explicit educational themes, like some of the things teachers say to encourage Arthur. What readers will draw from more is Arthur and the way he Arthur grows and changes throughout the book.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - life lessons, middle grade series, school
Date(s) Reviewed: October 2015
Other Reviews: See Critics Reviews at barnesandnoble.com; and reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com.