Fourth Grade Journey

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

Friday, June 3, 2016

A Year in the Life of a Complete and Total Genius by Stacey Matson

How I Heard About It:  I actually received a free copy of this book during an exhibit visit at NCTE15 here in Minneapolis.  I was drawn to the cover, started talking with the representative, and before I knew it she was giving me the book to take home and read.  Unfortunately I didn't get to it until just this last week.  

What It Is About:  Arthur Bean is in middle-school and is quite a character.  He isn't your typical middle-schooler and is out to prove to everyone how great and wonderful he is.  He refuses to go along with the crowd and follow rules that don't fit his way of life.  He has decided that he is going to be a famous author.  In order to reach this goal, he enters a writing contest that the school is conducting.  Each contest writer is paired with another writer to help each other through the process.  Arthur is assigned to Kennedy who he has a major crush on.  He is also assigned to tutor another student in their class that struggles with school.  Arthur isn't thrilled about this at all.  Added to his plate is a job on the school newspaper, a role in the school play, and keeping up with all the writing assignments from his English teacher.  Arthur handles all of these "roles" during a busy and eventful year with his own personal style and a few comedic outbursts.  

What I Thought Of It:  I loved the book.  I was surprised to find that the book was arranged with letters between himself and his English teacher, emails between himself and Kennedy and Robbie, journal entries about his life and reading he is doing, written assignments he submits, school newspaper entries, and a few other tidbits along the way.  At first I wasn't sure how this was going to work, but ended up loving the format.  Arthur is a one of a kind character and I found myself laughing out loud as they say.  I enjoyed the focus on writing, reading, and being a really good student.  I got through the book in a few readings and enjoyed the experience.  

Who Should Read It:  This would be the perfect book for readers in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade.  They would be able to relate to the story quite well.  Strong readers in fifth grade may also find this an enjoyable read.  The format of the book will be appealing to the middle-school reader.  Adult readers who tend to read middle-grade and/or young-adult books would also find this a satisfying read.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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