Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publishing Date: January 1st, 2006 by Atheneum Books
Summary: A fifth-grade genius turns the spotlight on grades - good and bad - in this novel from Andrew Clements, the author of Frindle.
Nora Rose Rowley is a genius, but don't tell anyone. She's managed to make it to the fifth grade without anyone figuring out that she's not just an ordinary kid, and she wants to keep it that way.
But then Nora gets fed up with the importance everyone attaches to test scores and grades, and she purposely brings home a terrible report card just to prove a point. Suddenly the attention she's successfully avoided all her life is focused on her, and her secret is out. And that's when things start to get really complicated....
What I Liked: This book literally preaches the truth and I love it so much. The educational system honestly is horrible, which the book states a decade before this whole movement in 2016. The main character flat out says how the whole system boils down to memorizing facts the night before a test which has nothing to do with intelligence. Nora also talks about how a number between 0 and 100 can not only stress a kid out, but that kid will either feel dumb or smart based on how high that number is. As a kid in high school, I found it so true and realized how ridiculous the school system is. In the words of Albert Einstein "Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life thinking it's stupid". And I agree. So what if some kid bombs a social studies test? Maybe he doesn't need to know who Stephen Douglas was, but he may be a mathematical prodigy and a genius, and yet the school system has caused him to think he is dumb because of his inability to keep facts on the US history. I agree, as citizens, we do need to know basic US history and what not, but like Animal Farm, this book is an allegory of an emerging issue in the US.
What I Didn't Like: Rant aside, there isn't much bad to say about the book. It's short and sweet and gets the message across. This book is literally animal farm, but instead of animals and communism, it's Nora Rowley and the school system. It's genius.
Rating: 9.7 out of ten.
Why? Go read the what I didn't like section again if you're seriously asking why I compare the book to amazing pieces of art (like Spy School). It sends an amazing message in a fun and intriguing way.