by Andrew Clements
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2012
Reviewed from purchased copy.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Jordan Johnston is average. Not short, not tall. Not plump, not slim. Not blonde, not brunette. Not gifted, not flunking out. Even her shoe size is average. She's ordinary for her school, for her town, for even the whole wide world, it seems.
But everyone else her age--on TV, in movies, in her sixth-grade class--is remarkable. Tremendously talented. Stunningly beautiful.
Jordan feels doomed to a life wallowing around somewhere in that vast, soggy middle. So she makes a goal: By the end of the year, she will discover her great talent in life. By the end of the year, she will no longer be average. She will find a way to become extraordinary, and everyone will know about it!
Andrew Clements is so good at creating likeable characters of all kinds, kids who seem so real, with real concerns, who sometimes make good decisions and sometimes do not. I found Jordan a very sympathetic character, wishing to be appreciated for being good at something. This is something that most if not all people want, to be appreciated for doing something well. The thing is that Jordan does have things that she is good at, they just aren't the kind of talent that people see on a stage.
The thing I admired most about Jordan was her decision about how to deal with the bully in her life, Marlea. At first, Jordan is furiously angry with Marlea, and she has every right to be, but what she decides to do about it demonstrates that Jordan is not average. I liked her spunk and good sense, which she demonstrates later to the benefit of others at her school. I confess the ending was not what I was expecting but it gives Jordan a chance to shine. This is a great book to share with youngsters who feel like they aren't really good at anything.