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Book Review: The School Story by Andrew Clements

The School Story by Andrew Clements ( Aladdin, 2002)

Ages 8-13

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This is the sweetest book ever written about the publishing industry. Really. It tells the story of 12-year-old Natalie, who is a writing prodogy, and how she and her best friend conspire to get Natalie's first novel published. They hatch a scheme to pose as author Cassandra Day and her sharp-as-a-tack, fast-talking agent, Zee Zee Reisman.

The School Story weaves together this kid's-eye view of the grown up world of publishing with Natalie's own life story. Especially poignant is the way the spirit of Natalie's life, especially the loss of her father at an early age, is reflected in the story she writes, even though her book's plot is very different. Clemments seamlessly exposes young readers to the idea that a book's theme can reflect the author's experience while keeping the real-life details private.

But it's not all tear-jerking moments. The book is also funny, surprising, and adventurous throughout, giving it broad appeal across gender and age lines.

Even my two sports-obsessed boys both really liked it.




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