What It Is About: A group of sixth graders are "psyched" for the start of their school year because they all have been lucky enough to be placed in the "cool" teacher's class. When they find out he had to take a leave for personal reasons, they are bummed. They are even more upset when they find out they will now have Mrs. Woods who they think is older than the oldest people they know. She has come out of retirement to cover the class for the year. Each member in the class comes to school with their own story and history. They all are dealing with "pressures" from either home, their family, or the other kids at school. As they get to know their new teacher, they each are surprised by what they find. The class also gets to work with a teacher across the hall who is the complete opposite of Mrs. Woods. As the much anticipated "TEST" approaches, the school goes into test prep mode. The students, and their teacher, are not thrilled about the changes being made to accommodate the test. The group of kids, some of whom are not even close to being friends, bond together to ensure they each receive the "perfect score".
What I Thought Of It: Oh my goodness! I can't even describe how much I loved this story. I read it on my way down to KU where my wife and I were bringing out son for his junior year. The book came with me everywhere we went. I finished the story earlier today while in a store. As I mentioned in a "tweet", I'm not sure I've ever finished a book in a store with major tears in my eyes. I thought the cast of characters were interesting, special, and completely unique to themselves. I'm a sucker for a teacher/student/classroom story and this one has gone to the stop of my list. There are just so many phenomenal aspects of the plot that I'm having a hard time describing them here. All I can say is you have to read it.
Who Should Read It: Because I loved this story so much, I know it will be one of my class read alouds that I will share during the 2017/2018 school year. I want all of my students to experience the plot that Rob Buyea so beautifully created. The book is perfect for readers in fourth, fifth, and sixth grade. I'm thinking sixth graders will really enjoy the novel because the class is their same age. If you are a teacher who loves teaching reading and the love of books and not be consumed by testing requirements, then this is the story for you. Happy Reading!
Rating: 5 STARS out of 5 Stars