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About Average Hardcover – July 24, 2012

31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-6-Jordan Johnston wants to find a way to be extraordinary instead of average by the end of sixth grade. She's a C student even though she tries hard, she's not short or tall, and she feels just plain ordinary. Her list of things she is "okay at" (singing, running, telling jokes, and soccer) and "stinks at" (softball, bowling, crossword puzzles, and tennis) is longer than the things she is "great at" (babysitting and gardening). Her list gets into the wrong hands, and Marlea uses it as fodder to make fun of her. Jordan attempts to stop the bullying by responding with kindness. The third-person narrative about Jordan is interspersed with chapters featuring Joe the Weather Guy worrying about a possible late-spring storm. Tensions rise as a tornado hits the area, allowing Jordan to display her extraordinary talent. Clements offers a cast of believable characters as well as solutions for dealing with bullies. Pencil illustrations sprinkled throughout each chapter add to the story. While the natural disaster seems a bit forced, Clements's fans will be hooked.-Sarah Polace, Cuyahoga Public Library System, OHα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review

"Clements' fans will be hooked." (School Library Journal)

"What is extraordinary is how Clements can continue to produce realistic examples of kid power year after year. More than a feel-good story with a message, this is another good read." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Clements adds to his canon of school stories with this thoughtful novel about an earnest and introspective girl who longs to wrap up her sixth-grade year 'in a blaze of glory, a flash of triumph, a burst of superstardom.'" (Publishers Weekly) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 860L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (July 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416997245
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416997245
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,040,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Most of my characters are fairly normal people who are dealing with the basics of everyday life--getting along with others, finding a place in the world, discovering talents, overcoming challenges, trying to have some wholesome fun along the way, and getting into some scrapes and a little mischief now and then, too. I guess I hope my readers will be able to see bits and pieces of themselves in the stories, particularly the novels that take place in and around school. School is a rich setting because schools and education are at the heart of every community. The stories that are set in school seem to resonate with kids, teachers, parents, librarians--readers of all ages. Everyone's life has been touched by school experiences. And I also hope, of course, that kids and others will enjoy reading, enjoy the use of language, enjoy my storytelling.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lydia on August 22, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I finished reading this book last night, and I loved it! It only took about forty- five minutes to read, but although the plot was short, it was sweet.

Jordon Johnston is average. No matter what she does, she just can't find much that she's good at. Her friends and classmates, however, are amazing, gifted, talented, and Jordan is getting tired of being just "okay". But something is going to happen, something potentially disastrous that will take all her strength and smarts to overcome. I won't spoil the ending for you, but I'll just say, it's good.

One reason why I liked the book was because of Jordan herself. She's brave, determined, and hard-working, but kind as well. The author nailed this character, and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next. Keep writing, Andrew Clements!

I also recommend Things Not Seen, which is also by this author.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Woodstocksez on April 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I've read a few of Clements' books now, as part of my project of reading (and re-reading) children's literature to help guide my sons as they progress through elementary school, and I generally like his work. I especially liked Frindle and appreciated Clements' twist on the archetype of the precocious child who's wiser than all the adults in his world. In fact, I'd been commenting to some of the teachers at my sons' school that it'd be nice to read a book with a story crafted around a kid who is ordinary, with the message that such a life can be interesting and worthwhile too. So I was very interested to read About Average. I was a bit disappointed. The book felt truncated to me and the ending unsatisfying. I'd rather have seen Jordan reconciled to her worth other than as the result of an extraordinary event. I think more could have been done with the idea of making a life, a satisfying and productive life, in the absence of standout abilities. I think the bullying conflict could have been fleshed out more, made richer and more difficult to resolve. I think Clements is a good writer, with good insight into the world of children. This book is not awful, just not as good as I hoped for, nor as good as I think Clements can produce. It struck me more as a good start on some worthwhile subject matter that got wrapped up far too quickly and easily.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on November 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Sixth grader, Jordan Johnson, feels completely and utterly average. Jordan relates to the book SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL because, in a nut shell, it describes her. She isn't a great singer nor is she a great violinist. At school, it appears that her only talents are creative thinking, organizing and helping with set- up and break- down of orchestra music stands. She realizes that these talents won't land her a Hollywood contract or get her peer admiration. The school year is almost over, so she'll have to work fast to discover her hidden talent and receive recognition from her schoolmates.

A question perplexes her. What could her extraordinary talent be? She puts pen to paper and creates a list with three categories: things she's great at, things she's ok at and things she stinks at. Not surprisingly, she had a lot of `ok' talents. Frustrated, she tosses the list in the trash can. Unfortunately Marlea, a snotty Miss. Perfect, unearths the list and shares it with her friends while a horrified Jordan overhears. Jordan visualizes awful fates for Marlea. She knows that if she reports Marlea to the school for bullying her, she'd have to prove it in front of her parents, Marlea's parents and the guidance counselor. She wonders if going through all that will really stop the bullying. But what will? Her friend, Nikki, suggests slugging Marlea. Jordan knows that pushing and shoving just isn't her style. She decides to try an experiment to be as nice as possible to Marlea to see if the teasing will stop.

With just a few more weeks of school left, Jordan realizes that her niceness experiment may have to be put on hold until the summer. Now she needs to focus on unearthing her inner greatness.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By RJB on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book had the same good Andrew Clements school story plot. However, it was missing depth. You felt no connection whatsoever to the characters. Also, the end was a little far fetched. Building a fort out of folding chairs, a piano, and a curtain is going to save you from a building collapsing on you? Also, there is no resolution between her and the bully. The side plot just gets dropped off a cliff. Andrew Clements disappointed me... this book was sloppy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Opal Sibley on May 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a middle school reading teacher, I would encourage all my students to read this book. With all that is written about what our students are doing wrong, this is a great example of how an average girl proved she wasn't so average.
Terrific as usual for Clements.
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Format: Hardcover
It's not easy for sixth grader, Jordan, who is an average violin player, not terribly pretty, not a great student, can't play chess worth a darn--when there are people in her class who are terrific at all those things. Besides, it's sweltering hot at the end of the year and her central Illinois school has no a/c in "About Average" by Andrew Clements (2012).
"Average" Jordan has mistakenly discarded a list of what she's great at (not much). Marlea reads it aloud in the girl's restroom to humiliate our heroine. Babysitting is at the top of the list. The other girls laugh, Jordan is bereft, but we, the readers, are afforded a look inside Jordan's exquisite thought process--what she'd like to see happen and how she arrives at those wishes.
The author writes, "Jordan's memory was a powerful force. A moment from the past would sneak up and kidnap her and then force her to think about it until she discovered something she didn't know she knew."
Her thought process seems so familiar, so real. It takes a fine author like Clements to uncover the inner workings of this realistic, flawed and loveable heroine. When she's accused of cheating at chess, we're told "she sure wouldn't have wasted any criminal talent on something as pointless as winning a game of chess."
She has a crush on Jonathan and she has to admit that it's because he's so cute. Which make her just as shallow as Jonathan, who likes pretty girls--prettier girls than Jordan. Still she's sure Jonathan is a good person. Anyway, she would like him even if "he enjoyed ripping the arms off of teddy bears." Which is something Jordan did once as revenge when her big sister pulled the head off her Barbie doll.
Jordan decides to experiment with forgiveness.
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