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The addition of math-contest pressure and the impending subtraction of a best friend equal a stressful sixth-grade year for Gregory Korenstein-Jasperton.
Gregory’s lifelong pretense that he loves math as much as the rest of his family—really, he prefers writing—catches up with him when long division eludes him. Worse, Kelly, his best friend and writing buddy, is moving at the end of the year. Of course, they can see each other at Author’s Camp in the summer, if Gregory does well in school. Extra credit for entering the City Math contest might improve his math grade. It would certainly please his father, the first contest winner. This family and friendship story is the author’s first novel. Each chapter begins with a poem in a form that will be familiar to readers of his poetry. These “fibs” have six lines with their syllable count based on the Fibonacci sequence: 1,1,2,3,5,8,13. They chronicle Gregory’s state of mind and contribute to the final, satisfactory solution. Dialogue and humor carry the third-person narrative along swiftly, and the characters are appealing. It is unusual to meet a family in middle-grade fiction that enjoys playing math games at the table, and it’s refreshing to
be reminded of the importance of honesty with family and friends.
By any reckoning, a successful debut.
Math-hater Gregory tries very hard to fit in with his math-loving family, even though what he really enjoys is writing and sharing poetry with his best friend, Kelly. His failing math scores mean that he has to spend summer at math camp, ruining his plans to spend the summer at author camp with Kelly. Still trying to find a way out, Gregory begins telling fibs to make those around him think that math camp is, indeed, the plan, and the ensuing mayhem caused by multiple fibs creates enough action and intrigue to keep readers fully engaged. The solution to Gregory’s dilemma involves poetry designed using the Fibonacci sequence, and each chapter heading is a Fibonacci-sequence poem that forecasts Gregory’s fibs. This delightful novel introduces a resourceful and inspiring young character, and many readers will relate to Gregory’s desire for creative expression and his yearning for acceptance.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Everyone in Gregory's family adores math—everyone, that is, except Gregory. While his parents and siblings live for the yearly City Math contest, Gregory prefers writing, especially poetry. Gregory has promised his best friend Kelly that he will attend Author Camp with her, despite not having asked his parents. When his math teacher announces that Gregory may fail math, it might as well be the fall of Rome as far as Gregory's parents are concerned—and it results in Gregory constructing an outrageous lie that threatens to backfire. Gregory is a buoyant narrator whose extreme math phobia and obsessive love of pie (and definitely not pi) give his character an idiosyncratic shine. Hyperbolic details, like his mother's "Weird Wednesday" family dinners, are interspersed with passages from Gregory's extra credit math journal, where his ruminations on the Fibonacci sequence and "Fib poetry" give readers access to deeper reflections on mathematics, metaphor, and the places where they might overlap. Pincus's story explores struggles with friends, family, and learning while remaining exuberant and relatable, a winning equation.
Posted December 27, 2013
This is such a great book for middle-graders, as it is all about relationships. Parents and children, brothers and sisters, teachers and students, friends and friends. So many underlying streams running through the main story. I appreciated that not everything was tied up nice and tidy at the end, since life isn't nice and tidy. The ending was real, yet bittersweet. Great for kids to read about and experience.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 15, 2013
When I started it I wasn’t sure what I would think of it. I am not a huge math fan as well. I loved it. I liked the struggle that main character has with fitting in with his crazy family. I also love the relationship between Greg and his best friend Kelly. I would absolutely recommend this one!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.