THE NEXT GREAT PAULIE FINK

  • A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019
  • Kirkus Review Best Book of 2019
  • Parents’ Magazine Best Children’s Book of 2019
  • New York Public Library Best Book of 2019
  • A Publishers Weekly Most Anticipated Children’s Book of Spring 2019
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for April 2019


“A funny and fast-paced romp.”
The New York Times


* “A story with massive heart… A book to make readers think, question, reach, laugh, and strive harder.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review


* “A witty, tender, and utterly engaging modern school story that draws on the wisdom of the ages.”―School Library Journal, starred review

* “Genuinely original, the novel offers thoughtful perspectives on friendship, accepting change, and the many rewarding guises of storytelling, as well as a fully gratifying ending that the characters don’t see coming.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review

* “A beautiful, powerful novel about embracing one’s own great self, even–or especially–in middle school.”―Shelf Awareness, starred review

“Benjamin strikes a nice balance of goofy, often physical comedy…with introspection…for a look at shifting middle-school identities and the strange chaos they bring.” ―BCCB“Takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery.”―School Library Connection

“Wise and funny.”―The Wall Street Journal

“Touching and poignant” —The Barnes & Noble Kids Blog

“Readers will revel in this hilarious tale about friendship, change, and standing out.”—Bookish

“A middle school story to top all middle school stories.” —The Buffalo News

“Ali Benjamin reminds us what it’s like to be a kid with more questions than answers in a style that’s frank and funny and heartfelt, just like childhood itself. If you’ve ever been the odd kid out, if you’ve ever felt isolated or overwhelmed or just plain exasperated, The Next Great Paulie Fink is for you.” —GeekDad

“A really beautiful story about being yourself…such a good book; very funny, but very thought-provoking.” —WAMC’s Roundtable

“Frequently laugh-out-loud funny, the novel captures the quirks and traditions of a small community” —The Horn Book Magazine

“Benjamin creates a roomful of quirky, sympathetic characters…the cast reads with verve.”—The Providence Sunday Journal

“Benjamin’s second novel is an enjoyable balance of funny hijinks; quirky, colorful characters, and a genuine exploration of heroes, stories, courage, and fitting in…The satisfying ending will have readers cheering, and maybe even shedding a tear or two.”—Common Sense Media

“Genuinely original, the novel offers thoughtful perspectives on friendship, accepting change, and the many rewarding guises of storytelling, as well as a fully gratifying ending that the characters don’t see coming.”—The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

Summary
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.