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About Average

Review

About Average

Sixth grader, Jordan Johnson, feels completely and utterly average. Jordan relates to the book SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL because, in a nut shell, it describes her. She isn’t a great singer nor is she a great violinist. At school, it appears that her only talents are creative thinking, organizing and helping with set- up and break- down of orchestra music stands. She realizes that these talents won’t land her a Hollywood contract or get her peer admiration. The school year is almost over, so she’ll have to work fast to discover her hidden talent and receive recognition from her schoolmates.

"Andrew Clement is an enormously talented writer who is able to craft books that kids can relate to. ABOUT AVERAGE is a book that highlights how kids struggle to find their identities."

A question perplexes her. What could her extraordinary talent be? She puts pen to paper and creates a list with three categories:  things she’s great at, things she’s ok at and things she stinks at. Not surprisingly, she had a lot of ‘ok’ talents. Frustrated, she tosses the list in the trash can. Unfortunately Marlea, a snotty Miss. Perfect, unearths the list and shares it with her friends while a horrified Jordan overhears. Jordan visualizes awful fates for Marlea. She knows that if she reports Marlea to the school for bullying her, she’d have to prove it in front of her parents, Marlea’s parents and the guidance counselor. She wonders if going through all that will really stop the bullying. But what will? Her friend, Nikki, suggests slugging Marlea. Jordan knows that pushing and shoving just isn’t her style. She decides to try an experiment to be as nice as possible to Marlea to see if the teasing will stop.

 With just a few more weeks of school left, Jordan realizes that her niceness experiment may have to be put on hold until the summer. Now she needs to focus on unearthing her inner greatness. Jordan’s friends can see that she has a lot of talents: horseback riding, babysitting and gardening. Now it appears that she has another skill, too. During soccer practice, Jordan realizes that the soccer coach isn’t very good at organizing activities. Jordan gets a chance to be the assistant, which utilizes her planning and organizing skills to put together a pretty good soccer team.  Readers will be surprised at how Jordan’s organizing, planning and leadership skills come together in the biggest test of her life: a test between life and death. Will Jordan be triumphant? Read on to discover if Jordan will be average forever.

Andrew Clement is an enormously talented writer who is able to craft books that kids can relate to. ABOUT AVERAGE is a book that highlights how kids struggle to find their identities. Oftentimes, kids look forward to a new school year so that they can reinvent themselves. They pursue hidden talents, find inner strength and create new personas. Kids realize that new situations present new ways to change how others perceive them. Clement creates a character that you or I could have been --- a person searching for inner greatness. He captures the hilarity of the character as she visualizes her fifteen minutes of fame, with cameras snapping shots and reporters fighting with one another to get an interview. In the end, Jordan discovers that all her talents play an important part in her life. Sometimes being plain and average can be a good thing. The author points out that what a person sees as flaws may sometimes be the overlooked greatness one possesses.  ABOUT AVERAGE is a book that kids will want to read. It’ll give them plenty to think about and discuss. It addresses issues of being bullied and self-exploration.

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Purcell on September 28, 2012

About Average
by Andrew Clements

  • Publication Date: April 29, 2014
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 1416997253
  • ISBN-13: 9781416997252