Thursday, May 14

All the Answers

All the Answers
Kate Messner

My rating: ★★★

ISBN: 978-1619633742
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Date of publication: January 27, 2015
Age: Grades 4 - 6
Genre: Fantastical Realistic Fiction

Themes: anxiety, courage, ethics, grandparents, family relationships, death

When Ava finds an old pencil, she doodles like she would with any other. But when she writes a question in the margin of her math quiz, she hears a clear answer in a voice no one else seems to hear. With the help of her friend Sophie, Ava figures out that the pencil will answer any factual question--but won't predict the future. Ava and Sophie discover all kinds of uses for the pencil, and Ava's confidence grows with each answer. But it's getting shorter with every sharpening, and when the pencil reveals a scary truth about Ava's family, she realizes that sometimes the bravest people are the ones who live without all the answers...

Yep, another Messner book in the same week. This one has potential. And really, some will really love it; I thought it was okay. The characters were really well done, but they were characters that I couldn't relate to, or enjoy. Ava has some pretty severe anxiety. And while this is a realistic issue, it got really tedious for me to read through so much worry and anxiety. Sophie is a little too flaky and her dad a bit too idiotic. Still, her grandfather and mother were great, with some good depth.

The story itself has a LOT going on; Ava has a lot to worry about. And yet, almost all of it gets tied up in a neat little bow pretty quickly at the end. It sort of killed the momentum of the book, to have everything working out, all of the sudden. I wish that it dealt more with how Ava was dealing with her anxiety about these variety of problems, rather than the solution to the problems themselves. That's the main point with the book, right? Dealing with anxiety and courage?

But overall, I liked it enough. I'd still recommend it to the right people. Also, it's a good readalike for The Fourteenth Goldfish.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

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