Parents' Guide to

The Next Great Paulie Fink

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Funny, touching, thought-provoking middle school story.

Book Ali Benjamin School 2019
The Next Great Paulie Fink Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 1 parent review

age 6+
Uniquely-written, fun book. Good anti- bullying themes, reflections on building social confidence. The protagonist feels an outsider at first in a new school and by end faces nuanced self-reflection about a time she acted as a bully.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This novel is an enjoyable balance of funny hijinks; quirky, colorful characters; and a genuine exploration of heroes, stories, courage, and fitting in. The Next Great Paulie Fink is more lighthearted and less lyrical than Ali Benjamin's first book, The Thing About Jellyfish, but it does have moments that are genuinely touching. Tweens will relate to Caitlyn's need to fit in, and her struggles to understand the strange, new world in which she suddenly finds herself.

Although there's very little content of concern, parents and guardians may want to read along with, or even read aloud to, readers on the younger side to help them grapple with big ideas like Plato's cave analogy, what a scapegoat really is, and what the role of the fool was in Shakespeare. Readers of all ages are invited to think about what we know, how we know it, how we tell what we know, whether we can completely understand people and events from the past, and lots more. The satisfying ending will have readers cheering, and maybe even shedding a tear or two.

Book Details

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