Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky...

How I Heard About It:  The other day I received an email from NetGalley with an invitation to read this book.  I knew nothing about it, but thought I would give it a try.  It seems the more feedback you give about books on NetGalley, the more invitations you get to pre-read novels.

What It Is About:  Grayson is a sixth grade boy.  He lives with his aunt and uncle and their two sons because he lost his parents to a car accident.  Grayson is different from the other kids in his class.  He is a loner.  He dreams of being something else.  Or actually someone else.  As hard as he tries to hide who he feels he really is, it becomes more and more difficult.  One salvation is his Humanities class with "Finn".  He is the best teacher and seems to get all of his students, including Grayson.  Finn announces that he will be directing another school play.  Grayson decides to go out on a limb and try out for a part in the play.  During this process he becomes friends with a new girl in class, but that is short lived because she eventually becomes part of the girl group and Grayson isn't sure how he fits in with this crowd.  When the try-outs begin, he isn't sure which part he should try out for, but at the last minute something tells him he should audition for the lead female role.  It is not only a shock to the director Finn, but also to Grayson himself.  In the end he gets the lead female role which causes many issues for Grayson himself, Finn, the aunt and uncle, and many of the students at the school.  Feeling he is doing the right thing, Grayson doesn't back down.  He goes ahead with the rehearsals, but deals with pressure from many outside sources and inner turmoil.  Grayson wonders if he is strong enough to deal with all that is going on with the play, with his family, and the school staff.

What I Thought Of It:  While I enjoyed the novel, it certainly has a very heavy theme.  Grayson is a boy that believes he should be a girl.  While I think that is an important topic to write about, I'm not sure it is appropriate for children around the age of ten.  The topic of homosexuality also comes up and I think this would be a touchy subject for an elementary classroom setting.  The story was written with thought, insight, and emotion.  The character of Grayson is one that I won't forget for a long time to come.  As an adult I enjoyed the story very much, but just kept thinking who the audience is for this particular book.  It will be interesting to see what other readers think once the book is published.  

Who Should Read It:  As an adult reader, I had no problem or issue with the story.  I also think it would make for a great read for students in middle-school and/or high school.  When I checked Amazon on who this is geared for, it stated ages ten and up.  For me personally, I would not be comfortable with this book in my classroom of fourth graders.  Happy Reading!

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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