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The Next Great Paulie Fink

por Ali Benjamin

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1005211,434 (4.31)1
Led by new student Caitlyn, seventh-graders at a tiny rural school in Vermont create a reality-show inspired competition to determine who will replace the school's legendary class clown, Paulie Fink.
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Caitlyn moves to Vermont and is shocked to find her school is in an old, crumbling mansion. She's in a class with the "originals" the nine students in seventh grade were in the first class in this school. They miss this kind named Paulie Fink, so Caitlyn begins to fit in by hosting this competition to name his successor. All the while, the students learn Greek mythology, build community, and Caitlyn learns some tough life lessons in this sweet story of finding your place and not being afraid to stand out. ( )
  ewyatt | Jun 26, 2020 |
An amazing book about philosophy and fitting in that all middle graders should read. ( )
  bookwyrmm | Apr 20, 2020 |
Lively, informal voice about emotional issues that many kids relate to: being new, looking for acceptance, feeling insecure, being bullied. In an accessible way, this book shows readers that what they see is not always what it seems and to take into consideration that there may be more than one side to someone's story. Coming in with new girl Caitlyn to hear about the great Paulie Fink sets up questions in the readers’ minds as to who this guy is, why does everyone think he is so great, what happened to him? The tight-knit camaraderie of the Originals will appeal to kids, as will the inclusion of reality TV structure into the plot. The author note describes how the book explores different storytelling forms. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Mar 3, 2020 |
Being the new kid at school isn't easy, especially when you have to follow in the footsteps of a classroom prankster like Paulie Fink.
  HandelmanLibraryTINR | Apr 27, 2019 |

Caitlyn Breen is less than thrilled to be moving to a tiny town in Vermont and attending a truly tiny (and unconventional) school: there are eleven people in her seventh-grade class, most of whom are Originals: they were the first kids at the experimental Mitchell school. And when Caitlyn walks through the door on the first day, all of the Originals are expecting their legendary classmate Paulie Fink - who, it turns out, has disappeared without a word to anyone.

As Caitlyn adjusts to her new school and new life, and the Originals adjust to life without Paulie, they decide that they need to replace him; they need a new "Disruptor," a "Megastar." And they need Caitlyn to be the judge, to help them find the next great Paulie Fink.

But there's more at stake that just keeping things lively: Unoriginal Henry reveals that the Mitchell school is in dire financial straits and might close, while neighboring school Devlinshire is perfectly safe - which adds an extra element to the annual Mitchell/Devlinshire soccer game.

Caitlyn is a complicated character. She's unhappy about the move; she's not sure where she fits in at her new school, and misses the unwritten rules of her old school, even though - she realizes - she was always a little afraid there, which made her mean. (She has particular regrets for the way she and her friends treated classmate Anna Spang.) She thinks a lot about Plato's Allegory of the Cave after Mags teaches them about it in class.

Also, there are goats. And we do get to meet the real Paulie Fink after all. Top-shelf middle grade/tween realistic fiction, highly recommended.


There are so many different ways to tell a single story. (12)

"Humanities combines history, mythology, philosophy, and language arts. It's about the stories people tell, the way they live, the things that they think about and value. Ultimately, it's a way of exploring the questions What does it mean to be human?" (Mags to class, 26)

"But he'd tell you things so often, and so convincingly, they almost started to seem real." (Timothy re: Paulie, 81)

Whatever rules Fiona lives by, they're not the ones that the rest of the world knows. (85)

"Shakespearean Fools aren't fools at all: They're actually some of the wisest people around. They misbehave as a way of poking fun at powerful people." (Yumi, 162)

I mean, figuring out how to be one person is confusing enough. Who wants to try to be two? (224)

It's like everyone just assumes that their own life is the normal one. (235)

"Everything we know is always incomplete. In the end, we get to fully know exactly one person only: ourselves. And that's only if we work hard at it." (Mags to Caitlyn, 242)

"When people tell stories, they make choices. They emphasize some parts. Leave out others." (Mags to Caitlyn, 243)

There might be conventions, but that's not the same thing as rules. (315)

"Something doesn't have to be exactly, literally true to be real. Just about everything real in this world began as a flicker in someone's imagination." (Gabby, 325)

That's when it hits me: We are history. This, right here, is all history ever has been: regular people living their lives, making things up as they go, hoping they get it right. (352) ( )
  JennyArch | Feb 4, 2019 |
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Led by new student Caitlyn, seventh-graders at a tiny rural school in Vermont create a reality-show inspired competition to determine who will replace the school's legendary class clown, Paulie Fink.

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