Happy Friday! The Middle Grade Mafia is proud to host another MG Review roundup. Enjoy today’s review, then link a post of your own!


Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Albie is not good at anything. He’s not very good at spelling or math or music or sports. Although he tries very hard to be good at everything, he just can’t quite make it. He might not be that smart, but he’s not completely stupid. He knows his parents are disappointed in him.

His new nanny Calista, is an art student who can see Albie’s true beauty; his kind and generous heart. She goes way beyond her job description in caring for Albie and his battered self-esteem.

Absolutely Almost is a sad but heartwarming story of this kind boy who struggles to achieve what he thinks others expect of him and he almost, but never quite, succeeds. There is a bully in the story. There always is. Graff’s bully is realistically cruel and devious. No slap stick scenes of the victim being shut in a locker. Instead, the naïve Albie is subjected to subtle ridicule in the midst of confusing comraderie leaving him feeling bruised but not quite sure why.

Told in a first person point of view, Graff has nailed the voice of sweet Albie. This is a National Book Award Nominee and was selected for Georgia’s Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl list. Children who are a fan of Wonder will enjoy this story. I almost feel like it should be a must-read for parents to make us take stock in ourselves. We know that we love our children unconditionally, but do they know that?

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