Alexandra Penfold refuses to be anything more than what she is-the world's biggest tomboy. She even tried out for the middle school football team. Alex knows she is different than all the other girls in her grade; they would rather sit around talking about boys, makeup, and the homecoming dance than play make-believe or jump on the trampoline.
Known around school for not fitting in and for being a regular guest in the principal's office, Alex just wants to spend her free time playing with her dog, Yippy, and her cat, Creamy, who happen to love her just the way she is. Her older brother, Jeremy, used to play with her as well, but nothing has been the same for Alex since Jeremy died in an accident two years ago.
Still, things start to look up as Alex makes a new friend at school; everything seems to be going better. But then something terrible happens that makes Alex miss Jeremy more than ever. Now this fifth grader struggling to be herself must learn that the best gift in life is a friend who listens.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite Alex Penfold is a fifth grader who refuses to fit into anyone else’s mold. Unfortunately, that makes her a target for the other students and a source of irritation to her teacher. Alex the Great by Rebecca Linam follows the misadventures of Alex, whose older brother was killed by a drunk driver several years earlier. While everyone else has moved on, Alex is still struggling with the loss and maintains her individuality in Jeremy’s honor. She is a tomboy who is not interested in the things the other girls find so important like clothes, hairstyles and boys; and her energy, enthusiasm and straightforward nature get her into trouble at school. She also does not feel a real connection to her parents, who are coping with Jeremy’s death in their own way and don’t seem to take her feelings into consideration. Her best friends are her cat Creamy and dog Yippy, but her contact with them is limited since they have to stay outdoors. Another tragedy hits Alex and her reaction causes a major upheaval in school, leading to the police being called in. Hiding so that she doesn’t have to deal with anyone, Alex is discovered by Josh, a boy who has always liked her. Josh remembers the secret spot where Alex would hide when she was upset about Jeremy. Will this be the wake-up call for people to understand why Alex acts the way she does? While truly entertaining, Alex the Great by Rebecca Linam deals with several deep issues that are not usually the topic of youth literature. Death, loss and misunderstanding are things that children face but are not often talked about so Alex helps her readers as she navigates these issues herself. Well written with plenty of humor but also deeply moving, this book shows that it is okay to be yourself and how to stand up to the consequences of not really fitting in. Alex is a strong yet vulnerable character and deserves tremendous credit for sticking to her beliefs.
Alex is a fifth-grade tomboy doesn't who doesn't fit in with the rest of the girls in her class. She thinks they're all crazy because they all think they have to act grown up all the time and can't have fun anymore. Alex keeps jumping on her trampoline and playing make-believe even though they think she's childish. Her antics will keep you laughing. She likes to eat potato chip sandwiches and cuts her braids off one day. Parts of this book will make you laugh out loud. Other parts will make you cry. It would be a good book for a 4th through 6th grader, but my cousin in 7th grade read it and liked it too.