When Caitlyn Breen enters the tiny Mitchell School in rural Mitchell, Vermont, she’s in for a shock: the seventh grade has just ten other kids, and they’ve known each other since kindergarten. Her classmates are in for a surprise of their own: Paulie Fink — the class clown, oddball, troublemaker, and evil genius–is gone, without explanation. 

As Caitlyn’s classmates share stories about the missing prankster, his legend begins to build. Eventually (and with some inspiration from the ancient Greeks), they decide there’s only one way to fill the Paulie-sized hole in their class: through a reality-show style competition, to be judged by the only objective person around: Caitlyn. But who was this kid, anyway — prankster, performance artist, philosopher, or fool?

Caitlyn’s quest to understand Paulie is about to teach her more about herself than she ever imagined.

Told via multiple voices, interviews, emails, and other documents, The Next Great Paulie Fink is a lighthearted yet surprisingly touching exploration of how we build up and tear down our own myths… about others, our communities, and ourselves.