Saturday, 6 June 2015

Review: Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

I haven't been surprised by a book in a while, but Lisa Graff's new novel, Absolutely Almost, got me. I ADORED this book! It's a heart-wrenching story of a boy who struggles in school, with bullies and in making friends. It's a story of a young boy who desperately wants to find the thing that makes him special. As kids, we all feel 'stupid' at something. We all experience moments of feeling not good enough or worry about letting our parents down. Absolutely Almost shows readers that in spite of our own weaknesses, we all are our special in our own way, we just have to look past the bad to see the good!

Summary: Albie has never been the smartest kid in his class. He has never been the tallest. Or the best at gym. Or the greatest artist. Or the most musical. In fact, Albie has a long list of the things he's not very good at. But then Albie gets a new babysitter, Calista, who helps him figure out all of the things he is good at and how he can take pride in himself. 

A perfect companion to Lisa Graff's National Book Award-nominated A Tangle of Knots, this novel explores a similar theme in a realistic contemporary world where kids will easily be able to relate their own struggles to Albie's. Great for fans of Rebecca Stead's Liar and Spy, RJ Palacio's Wonder and Cynthia Lord's Rules.

Absolutely Almost is a great choice for middle grade classrooms to discuss character traits like self-confidence and self-acceptance. I'm not really a fan of the cover. I think it's soft and skews toward boy readers, but the story will appeal to everyone.

A great example of why you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover! Absolutely Almost is a beautiful, wonderful story of an almost average boy who has always been absolutely perfect in his own way.

4 Stars

"Achingly superb, Albie’s story shines." - Kirkus, starred review

"Graff’s (A Tangle of Knots) ... stands out for its thoughtful, moving portrait of a boy who learns to keep moving forward, taking on the world at his own speed." - Publisher's Weekly, starred review