Fourth Grade Journey

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

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz

How I Heard About It:  I was lucky enough to see a Twitter conversation between Elly Swartz and one of my Twitter friends.  I can't remember who was sharing her comments with Elly, but they were very favorable about her new novel coming out in October.  I joined in on the conversation asking if there were any ARCS out there.  Elly was kind enough to point me in the direction of NetGalley.  After doing some searching on my own, I was unable to locate the electronic copy of it.  Elly then went out of her way, and found the correct link to find the copy.  I could tell right away that Elly Swartz was one of those authors that I would like.  

What It Is About:  Molly's family is in a state of transition.  Her father is working more than ever and doesn't have as much time to focus on the Molly, her younger brother Ian, and her older sister Kate.  An even bigger transition is that Molly's mother has "left" the family to work in Canada.  She has promised she will return in a year's time, but Kate tries to convince Molly not to count on her promises.  As Molly's sixth grade year gets underway, she becomes a participant in a poetry "Slam" contest.  Molly realizes if she wins this contest, her mother will have to return for the special awards program.  She makes it her mission to win.  During this time, Molly begins to notice some of her behavior could be classified as "crazy."  With each day, she exhibits more and more untypical twelve year old behavior, but is determined to hide it from her family and her two best friends at school.  This becomes increasingly difficult and Molly tries to decide who she can tell.  

What I Thought Of It:  I sent a "tweet" to Elly Swartz last night at 1:40 AM.  I had just finished the novel and I was emotional spent.  I absolutely loved everything about Molly and her story.  The writing in this book is exquisite and not a word is wasted.  The story was told in such a caring and touching way and unraveled slowly with bits and pieces being revealed to the reader until there is a "wow" moment when you realize exactly what Molly is dealing with.  I thought the description of what was going on with Molly on the "outside" alongside what was going on with her "internally" was done with such heart, thought, and care.  Molly's two friends added greatly to the story and brought some much needed comedic relief.  If I'm being really honest, I think her story touched me so because I could relate to some of what she was going through.  There are some things in my own life where I try to make "perfect."  With age and hard work, I've come to the point where I know that there isn't such a thing as perfect and all will be OK when it isn't.  I hope, and am pretty sure, Molly was on the right track to figuring this out also.  

Who Should Read It:  EVERYONE!  This is definitely going to be a novel that I share with my fourth grade class when it comes out in October and I can get my hands on a hard copy of the book.  This is the perfect book for fourth, fifth, and sixth grade readers.  I'm also telling all of my adult Twitter friends who enjoy middle-grade fiction to read it.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5+ STARS out of 5 Stars

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