Psychological twists and cultural myths are explored, albeit through the small medium of rurual Mitchell School. Don’t underestimate Ali Benjamin though – The Next Great Paulie Fink brings character, wit, and thoughtful perusal of an intellectual topic that goes beyond a simple children’s story.
The Story: How does one go from being a nobody to being a legend? Simple: have many stories. For Paulie Fink, it doesn’t matter that he’s missing. The entirety of his school knows who he is and they’ve all got opinions on the boy they thought they knew. But is Paulie Fink really the class clown, who always had a quippy comeback? Is he the evil genius, who always had a trick up his sleeve? No matter who he was, Caitlyn now has to find a replacement, an individual who can live up to the name. The only problem? Caitlyn doesn’t really know who Paulie Fink was, which means she has no idea who she’s looking for now. Through the stories and interviews from across Mitchell School and a couple of rather intriguing philosophy classes (plus some, um, interesting goat shenanigans), Caitlyn is discovering more about Paulie, her school, and even herself than she ever thought possible.
My Thoughts: I genuinely enjoyed the concept and reading of this book. Paulie Fink was an interesting enigma and the unique format of the book (told via Caitlyn’s point of view, interviews, written entries, etc) made this fun to page through. I actually really recommend this book for reader anywhere from early elementary to junior high or the beginning of high school just for the kind of philosophical topics discussed.
Parental Advisories: Typical juvenile humor sprinkled liberally throughout, but clean in the ways that most parents would be concerned with.