Friday, October 06, 2017

The Perfect Score

34069821Buyea, Rob. The Perfect Score
October 3rd 2017 by Delacorte Press
E ARC from

Mrs. Woods is brought in at the last minute to be a long term sub in a 6th grade class. She is retired, and doesn't particularly care about the all important state assessments; she would rather read with the students and have them enjoy learning. In chapters told from the points of view of different students in the class, we see how the year progresses, the projects that are completed, the home lives of the speakers and the challenges they face, and then the delivery of the test. We hear from Natalie, who wants to be a lawyer like her parents; Randi, who is tired of gymnastics because her mother is pushing her; Gavin, who hates school and feels that it wasn't important to his parents; Scott, who struggles socially and academically, and has to deal with an aging grandfather; Trevor, who is a bully because he is bullied at home. The students also work with a teacher on art and community service projects, and go to a local nursing home to visit the residents. In the end, there is an issue with the testing, and the children figure out a lot of personal connections between their teachers and the residents of the nursing home.
Strengths: There is absolutely no doubt that Buyea is a good writer who tells interesting school stories and tries to incorporate characters from a variety of backgrounds. His Because of Mr. Terupt is one that many of my students have read with teachers in elementary school. The characters are always fully developed and change in interesting ways throughout the stories, and I thought the story about Scott's grandfather was particularly well done.
Weaknesses: There are a lot of problems but not a lot of action. However, the popularity of Wonder has made this type of story more in demand. The cover is good, so I will probably purchase it.
What I really think: Mr. Buyea really, really needs to write a novel about middle school wrestling, preferably from the viewpoint of one wrestler. However, I need novels about wrestlers so badly that I would probably buy two copies even if the story is told from multiple view points.

Ms. Yingling

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