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The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.

por Kate Messner

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
288892,206 (4.21)2
Juvenile Fiction. Juvenile Literature. HTML:

Gianna Z has less than one week to collect, identify, and creatively display 25 leaves for her science project-or else she won't be able to compete in the upcoming cross-country sectionals race. As the deadline for her leaf project draws near, life keeps getting in the way. Some things are within Gee's control, like her own procrastination, but others aren't, like Biana Rinaldi's attempts at sabotage and Nonna's declining health. If it weren't for her best friend Zig, Gee wouldn't have a chance at finishing. His knowledge of trees and leaves in their rural Vermont town comes in very handy- as does his loyalty to Gee. But when Nonna disappears one afternoon, things like leaves and cross-country meets suddenly seem less important. Readers are sure to fall for this funny and poignant middle-grade novel.

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Recommended Ages: Gr. 4-7

Plot Summary: Gianna is taking time off her mile however the Coach still threatens to put in Bianca in the next meet unless she gets a passing grade on her leaf project. Identifying 25 different leaves and presenting them in a creative way is not something Gianna wants to do. She is the biggest procrastinator so it's a good thing her best friend Zig offers to help her so often. Her family helps too but Gianna's mom has a hard time understanding the way Gianna approaches her school work. It's good that Gianna gets along so well with her Nonna, but recently Nonna has had a hard time remembering things. Gianna is worried! Will Nonna be ok? Will she get her project done in time to be able to run in the track meet?

Setting: in the Vermont just on the other side of Montreal, Canada, near the Adirondacks

Characters:
Gianna Zales - loves to draw, a huge procrastinator, a runner, parents run a funeral home
Bianca Rinadli - bully mean girl who wears sparkly girls and wants to run in Gianna's place, destroys her leaf collection
Mary Beth Rotwiller - Bianca's follower
Zig - AKA Kirby Zigonski Junior, friends with Gianna since 3rd grade
Mrs. Loring - assigns project, tells Coach Napper that Gianna isn't doing well
Nonna - 83 y/o, lived with the family since she broke her hip two years earlier, husband died before Gianna was born, makes cookies for every funeral
Ruby - girl in Gianna's class, got bullied by the mean girls, grandmother dies
Angela - Gianna's mom, 43 y/o,
Coach Napper - wants Gianna to do well on her project so she can run

Recurring Themes: family, friendship, cross country running, bullying, Alzheimer's, drawing

Controversial Issues:
pg 17 - while shopping, Mom and Dad puck up a bottle of wine
pg 68 - "heck, I eat wedding cookies"

Personal Thoughts: Although I finished this book a few weeks ago and didn't remember anything about it when I went to write this review, after five minutes of reviewing it's all coming back to me easily because the characters were well developed. I liked that the ending isn't perfectly happy. I have a hard time believing that Gianna wouldn't say anything about Bianca ruining her leaf collection but she is a good kid.

Genre: realistic fiction

Pacing: medium
Characters: main few characters are very well developed, others are decent
Frame:
Storyline:

Activity: ( )
  pigeonlover | Aug 25, 2016 |
Grades 4-7
Seventh grader Gianna Zales loves art and cross-country running. She is not so crazy about research projects or anything involving time-management skills, so although she has known about Mrs. Loring’s leaf project for several weeks, somehow she’s gotten to within a week of the due date without anything to show for it. But how hard can it be to find and catalog 25 different varieties of leaves? Especially in Vermont, where Robert Frost was inspired to write “Birches” and countless other poems about the natural beauty of the land. Except it IS hard. Although her best friend Zig tries to help her get focused, family obligations keep getting in the way. Her father runs the town’s funeral home, but even a close proximity to death can’t prepare her for her own grandmother’s decline. Suddenly, her wonderful grandmother who has lived with them and cooked for them all of Gianna’s life is forgetting everything—Nonna almost burns the house down when the batch of wedding cookies in the oven slips her mind. To make matters worse, Coach Napper has told Gianna that she won’t be able to participate in sectionals if she doesn’t bring her science grade up—and beautiful, arrogant Bianca would love to take her place as the team’s star runner. Gianna’s mother means well, but is struggling herself with Nonna’s failing health, and shows a remarkable lack of empathy for Gianna’s school responsibilities. Readers will find much to relate to in this likeable protagonist’s struggle to balance family and academic commitments. While it is no surprise when it all comes together in the end, plot twists keep readers engaged, and Messner’s warm and humorous tone will capture even reluctant readers. Recommend this to fans of Deborah Wiles, Cynthia Lord, and Linda Sue Park. ( )
  KimJD | Apr 8, 2013 |
An endearingly disorganized protagonist trying to hold herself together while everything she's worked for is going to pieces--and her grandmother is, too.

Gianna may be in 7th grade, but I think her target audience is more like 5th grade. Still, a quick read, which is good because the owning library called me today to shake me down for it because it was two measly days overdue. Bad librarian. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 30, 2013 |
Gianna's hectic, haphazard style makes getting schoolwork done difficult, a theme many will identify with. Descriptions of a new found awareness of the opposite sex, a mother she find difficult to identify with, a bully and new family challenges told from the main character's perspective create an authentic narrative of many of the issues pre-teens deal with today. ( )
  apendry | Sep 29, 2010 |
This story will definitely resonate with middle schoolers. Gianna Z. needs to turn in the science project to compete with the track team. She has a habit of leaving things until the last minute. For the project she has to collect and classify 24 different leaves. Throw in to this mess typical changes that occur in middle school and you have a great story. Gianna’s childhood friend has started looking at her through a “boys” eyes. Her grandmother Nona lives with them and she loves doing things with her. She has started getting forgetful. As she collects the leaves she starts looking at those around her and comparing them to certain leaves. There is a lot of coming of age in this book. I think it will make a great read aloud to my class. ( )
  skstiles612 | Nov 29, 2009 |
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Juvenile Fiction. Juvenile Literature. HTML:

Gianna Z has less than one week to collect, identify, and creatively display 25 leaves for her science project-or else she won't be able to compete in the upcoming cross-country sectionals race. As the deadline for her leaf project draws near, life keeps getting in the way. Some things are within Gee's control, like her own procrastination, but others aren't, like Biana Rinaldi's attempts at sabotage and Nonna's declining health. If it weren't for her best friend Zig, Gee wouldn't have a chance at finishing. His knowledge of trees and leaves in their rural Vermont town comes in very handy- as does his loyalty to Gee. But when Nonna disappears one afternoon, things like leaves and cross-country meets suddenly seem less important. Readers are sure to fall for this funny and poignant middle-grade novel.

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