In this acclaimed novel by the author of the award-winning, bestselling The Thing About Jellyfish, being the new kid at school isn’t easy, especially when you have to follow in the footsteps of a legendary classroom prankster.
When Caitlyn Breen begins her disorienting new life at Mitchell School–where the students take care of real live goats and study long-dead philosophers, and where there are only ten other students in the entire seventh grade–it seems like nobody can stop talking about some kid named Paulie Fink.
Depending on whom you ask, Paulie was either a hilarious class clown, a relentless troublemaker, a hapless klutz, or an evil genius. One thing’s for sure, though: The kid was totally legendary. Now he’s disappeared, and Caitlyn finds herself leading a reality-show-style competition to find the school’s next great Paulie Fink. With each challenge, Caitlyn struggles to understand a person she never met…but it’s what she discovers about herself that most surprises her.
Told in multiple voices, interviews, and documents,this funny, thought-provoking novel from the bestselling author of The Thing About Jellyfish is a memorable exploration of what makes a hero–and if anyone, or anything, is truly what it seems.
"A funny and fast-paced romp."
—The New York Times
"A story with massive heart... A book to make readers think, question, reach, laugh, and strive harder."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"A witty, tender, and utterly engaging modern school story that draws on the wisdom of the ages."—School Library Journal, starred review
"Genuinely original, the novel offers thoughtful perspectives on friendship, accepting change, and the many rewarding guises of storytelling, as well as a fully gratifying ending that the characters don't see coming."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A beautiful, powerful novel about embracing one's own great self, even--or especially--in middle school."—Shelf Awareness, starred review