"With subtlety and authority, Clements explores the plight of an extraordinarily intelligent girl, who from an early age, has strategically hidden her genius from her parents, peers and teachers," PW wrote in a starred review. Ages 8-12. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Nora Rowley has a secret not even her family knows about: she's a genius. She has purposely maintained average grades and played down her intelligence because she doesn't want people to treat her differently. Now that she's in the fifth grade where they are given letter grades—grades that matter—Nora does not like the competition she observes between her classmates, and the way grades can make people feel and act better or worse than others. When her best friend, Stephen, starts to believe that his average grades mean he is dumb, Nora develops a plan to teach Stephen, her classmates, and everyone that you can not measure intelligence by testing and grades alone. As the first step of her plan, Nora brings home a horrible report card that triggers a series of events that do not unfold the way Nora had anticipated, but do ultimately get people thinking and talking about grades. Along the way, Nora learns a lot about herself and that she is not the only one who sees imperfections in the testing and grading system. This is a thought-provoking book that will surely get readers thinking right along with the characters about what grades and testing really measure. The conclusion of this story was disappointing in that it ended too early. How Nora changes is evident, but what will change—if anything—for this class, their competitiveness, and the testing and grading system at large remains to be seen. 2004, Simon & Schuster, Ages 8 to 12.
Gr 4-7-Fifth-grader Nora Rowley has a problem with grades, and her latest report card, with five D's and one C, proves it. What nobody knows because she's kept it a secret is that she is really a genius and has earned those low marks on purpose because of her friend Stephen. She doesn't like the way tests make him feel about himself (dumb); plus, she can do without the stress as teachers prepare students for the state achievement test. The plan she hatches to sabotage test scores eventually begins to backfire, and the plot develops steadily around that crisis. Narrated by a very bright protagonist, the story has moments of engaging tension: Will the librarian disclose that Nora has been accessing college-level courses online? Will the school psychologist discover her high IQ and place her in the gifted program? Will she and Stephen be suspended for inciting a rebellion? This novel highlights the controversial issues of testing and grades from a child's point of view, but it also reveals the pressure that everyone, including teachers, administrators, and parents, feels. Clements's style, the large print, and the appealing cover illustration will easily capture the attention of even the most reluctant readers.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
A fifth-grade girl genius, who has been fooling her parents and teachers by pretending to be a mediocre student, decides to protest the school culture of tests and testing. Genius Nora Rowley is disturbed because her best friend Stephen, who she thinks is the smartest, kindest boy in school, suddenly believes he's dumb just because he didn't score well on an academic assessment test. Upset by Stephen's reaction and the validity of testing in general, Nora tries getting D's on her report card, then later, with Stephen's help, concocts a rebellion among students in which they all flunk their next exam. A polemic for kids, Clements takes on the multifaceted subject of the relationship between a number on a test, student self-esteem, and real-life smarts. Although the ideas presented are provocative, germane, and genuinely worthy, the scenario is highly unlikely and the reader can hear the author's voice speaking through the characters a bit too plainly. (Fiction. 8-12)
Kirkus Review Grabs hold of your heart and never lets go