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Pay It Forward

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4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  17,654 Ratings  ·  682 Reviews
The story of how a boy who believed in the goodness of human nature set out to change the world.

Pay It Forward is a wondrous and moving novel about Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy in a small California town who accepts the challenge that his teacher gives his class, a chance to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world for the better -- and to p
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Paperback, 311 pages
Published October 1st 2000 by Pocket Books (first published January 1st 1999)
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I Only Watched the Movie!
64th out of 951 books — 5,489 voters
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The MOVIE was BETTER than the BOOK
134th out of 868 books — 9,198 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rose Ann
Not many books have actually made me cry....this one did....in the last few chapters.
Bittersweet.

I originally gave this book 4 stars, but the more I thought about it, it really deserves 5 stars from me...here is why and what I took with me after reading this book:
1. The next time someone asks me how they can pay me back...I will defintely tell them to pay it forward instead!
2. Don't just SAY you are going to do something to help someone....stop talking about it and DO it. Life is short.

I liked t
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Luciano
Nov 21, 2008 Luciano rated it it was amazing
I was moved to read this book after hearing a couple of people at work raving about it.

I love the premise of the author's idea and how she goes about developing it within the story line. It really is an excellent story. What makes this story so engrossing to read, is how the author piggy backs from one situation to another, eventually bringing it full circle. It's like watching a row of literary dominoes fall, one on top of another; with the fall of each subsequent domino influencing the traject
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Skip
Jan 27, 2016 Skip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A disfigured lonely war veteran, Social Studies teacher Reuben St. Clair, assigns an extra credit project to his class to change the world. Most do nothing, but one 13 year old student Trevor comes up with a concept to "pay it forward." Out of pure kindness, he helps three needy people, with the caveat that they repay his gift by each helping three more people in need . Meanwhile, Trevor lives with his mother, Arlene, who has been abandoned by Trevor's father and is also lonely. Trevor thinks hi ...more
Kandice
Nov 25, 2014 Kandice rated it really liked it
I remembered this movie from the 90s and had a sappy feeling when I thought of it, but still dove right in because usually if you enjoy a movie the book is infinitely better. I found that to be the case here.

The entire premise of the book is a Social Studies extra credit assignment to think of a way to better the world. Trevor MicKinney takes the assignment to heart. Trevor is the only child of a hard working, tender-hearted (kind of) down on her luck single mother. He is wise beyond his years a
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Jennifer Willis
Mar 02, 2011 Jennifer Willis rated it it was amazing
If I hadn’t had anything else on my plate, I would have read Catherine Ryan Hyde’s Pay It Forward straight through. Even so, I pushed some things off and shuffled the schedule around in order to make time for reading.

I had seen the movie a few years ago, but hadn’t been aware until recently that it had been based on a book. Usually the books are better and more satisfying than the movies that are based on them, so I was happy to find a copy of “Pay It Forward” in my local library. After reading
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Hailey Leister
Dec 04, 2013 Hailey Leister rated it really liked it
In this exciting book a boy named Trevor gets a project from his Social Studies teacher to somehow change the world. But Trevor to this project to a totally different level then his teacher Ruben expected. Trevor decided to create a movement called "pay it forward." To help make the world a better place. This book talks about his journey along the way and how he pays it forward to society. I would most definitely recommend this book. It was a very inspiring and easy to read.
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oleg Kagan
Aug 07, 2010 Oleg Kagan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: so-sorry
For a book with such a contrived plot, stupid and shallow characters, completely predictable ending, strange acting choices (on audio), and prose that mercilessly buggers the reader/listener with marathons of cliches, Pay It Forward was inspiring. I was inspired to throw my hands in the air every few minutes shouting "REALLY!? THEY CAN'T BE SERIOUS" at the idiotic plot turns and character developments. To take a phrase that has been around for at least a hundred years and treat it like it's a ne ...more
Karen
I really wish the movie would have stuck to the characters/situations that were in the book. It's totally different from the movie but the same if that makes any sense. Reuben was just weird in the movie. In the book his character was really well written and more understandable than the movie. I wasn't as shocked at the ending in the book since I had seen the movie but then again the movie ended with Trevor. The book didn't. I'm really glad I read this book.
Deborah Pickstone
I began this book rather dismissively. At a few pages in I was tempted to just flick it as a twee concept.....and suddenly found myself hooked in by the characterisation. I remained glued for the few hours it took to read the book (oh I wish I could read more slowly!) and at the end - yes, it's a twee concept but it was a brilliant read and I wanted to know more about ALL the characters and if they were ok......

So.....all we are missing for the world to change is a mysterious alchemical thing th
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Katy Noyes
Nov 07, 2014 Katy Noyes rated it it was amazing
A book that if the world we live in was the one Trevor wants for us, WOULD change the world.

And it just could. I've seen the film years ago but don't remember feeling anywhere near as moved as I was in reading the novel. I finished having to wipe tears away so I could read the final pages.

A 12 year old boy, on being asked to come up with an idea to change the world in his Social Science class, creates the idea of 'Pay it Forward', doing good deeds for others and then rather than paying back the
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Sue1958
I am so happy to be a part of Catherine Ryan Hyde's read and review team in the UK. I love her books and look forward to each one as she releases them.

This story was different to some of the books she has written about as in style of writing. I found it fascinating to read it from all angles, and from Trevor's point of view as a child.

I think most reviews have expressed what the book is about, and the extra challenge that was weaved in, Trevor taking this seriously did a superb job to change th
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Rebecca McNutt
Apr 12, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing
Shelves:
I saw the 2000 film adaptation of Pay It Forward in my health and human services class, so I figured I should read the book, and I can easily say that although the film was good, the book was better by far! The characters feel much more real and "alive" in the book, the descriptions of everything are well-detailed and incredibly vivid, and the book itself is both depressing and very hopeful. It's an excellent novel about selflessness, empathy and understanding, and about how we all have it in ou ...more
•Anna•
Jun 18, 2014 •Anna• rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mi chiamo Chris Chandler e sono un giornalista. Un giorno, quasi per caso, ho scoperto che un ragazzino di dodici anni poteva cambiare il mondo. Grazie a una buona idea. Un'idea semplice, facile da mettere in pratica.
Così è nata la "Formula": la Formula del Cuore.


'La Forumula del Cuore' è quello che non ti aspetti: una vagonata di emozioni che prendono possesso del tuo corpo con naturalezza, quasi inconsapevolmente.

Reuben St. Clair è il nuovo insegnante di una piccola cittadina di nome Atascade
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§♫♪♥Delaney♥♪♫§ Wants To Help K
Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde is about a 12 year old boy named Trevor who is in 7th grade. During this year his social studies teacher gives the class an extra-credit assignment to make a difference in the world. Trevor took this assignment very seriously and decided to create a world changing movement called "Pay it Forward". Throughout the book it shows diary entries from Trevor. It is also written in 3rd person omniscient, meaning there are many narrators through out the story. The bo ...more
Melissa Martin
Feb 21, 2015 Melissa Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, own
I won this book in a GOODREADS FIRST READS GIVEAWAY!

I remember watching this movie years ago and how much it touched my heart. A sweet little boy wanting to do better in the world by paying it forward. This is such a wonderful idea.

I think it's wonderful that Catherine Ryan Hyde started the Pay It Forward Foundation. I'm going to be buying some of the bracelets to wear in case I ever forget. Not everything in this world has to be so bad.

The characters in the book are great in their own unique
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Tessa
Jan 01, 2015 Tessa rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, best-rated
One of the most beautiful stories I've read.
This is about a teacher who starts a new project in his class: each student had to create something they think could change the world. That is when Trevor appears with a revolutionary way of spreading forgiveness and love. It was called the "Play it Forward" system. If Trevor helped out 3 people, those 3 people had to help other 3 and that on and on until everybody has helped and was helped by someone. Being a kind hearted, Trevor puts that in reality
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Melissa
I check off "books that made me cry" for any book that will bring a lump to my throat, even if there are no actual tears. This is one book, and the only book at that, that made me actually sob, put the book down and have a good cry, before picking it up to carry on reading. I've never found another book since then that has impacted me in the same way.
Becky Wyatt
Jan 28, 2009 Becky Wyatt rated it it was ok
The writing was amateurish. Neat premise however.
Fiona McGier
Nov 08, 2009 Fiona McGier rated it really liked it
I found this book to be interesting from the first chapter. I don't usually read fiction novels that are not romances, since I write romance, so I'm always checking out the competition. But this book made me cry at the end. The story of a teen-aged boy who tries to change the world, seemed like a plot tailor-made for being a sloppy, feel-good kind of polemic about how people need to learn how to be more trusting. But the characters of his mother Arlene, his teacher Reuben St. Clair, his neighbor ...more
Traci Hollander
May 02, 2013 Traci Hollander rated it it was amazing
Pay it Forward, written by Catherine Ryan Hyde begins with a teacher everyone thought was crazy. He publicized an extra credit activity he thought the class would at least try. Some kids tried but one stood out to Mr. Reuben, Trevor a twelve year old participant in Mr. Reuben's class. This book expressed the importance of the journey and how much more excitement the journey is than the destination. So, when Trevor did this extra credit work he surprised his teacher. He showed his teacher how any ...more
Carina
Aug 26, 2013 Carina rated it it was amazing
My Sunday School teacher recommended this book to me - I think though I saw the film version first, and that was a number of years after the book had been recommended, as it wasn't until I had seen the film, bought the DVD and re-watched it that I realised there was a book and remembered the recommendation.

If you are reading this book after seeing the film you might be surprised, as I was, with some of the changes made to the narrative - in some ways it makes them into two very separate entities
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Eileen Goudge
Jan 02, 2015 Eileen Goudge rated it really liked it
Let me start by saying I am a huge fan of author Catherine Ryan Hyde. My favorite of her novels is "Walk me Home," which tugged at my heart strings while I compulsively turned pages. This one I admire more than I loved. It's very readable and relatable. The characters are interesting. And the idea is brilliant, one I believe sparked a movement in real life. The concept of paying it forward is not a new one - my favorite hokey fifties movie "Magnificent Obsession" is about that very thing - but t ...more
Nancy
Apr 19, 2015 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book, and it kept me awake for the best part of the night. I have seen the movie, which I liked very much. There are things in the book, that I didn't remember from the movie, so I guess I will have to watch the movie again, to see about the differences. The idea of paying it forward, is a very good one. It would be great to see people helping others as they did in this book. This is a good read. I have been reading other books by Catherine Ryan Hyde, in the last few months. C ...more
Manda
Feb 03, 2012 Manda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
Okay - I have to give five stars to a book that makes me weep like this one did, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was being manipulated by the author. It would be so nice if an idea like this worked - so very nice - but so very unlikely. I do believe in doing favours for people, and in a much smaller way than this book people do already often do favours for each other, and some people do huge favours - look at Bill Gates attempting to eradicate 10 diseases. But I don't see a world without ...more
Rahma Hassan
Oct 28, 2013 Rahma Hassan rated it really liked it
Shelves: movies, favourite


Great Idea !
to pay forward is to focus on the bright side in people ,, even if the dark one is clearer !

the idea is : just make a favor to three persons and everyone of them do the same .. and see how much the world is better !


don't forget in life , to have a good idea u fight for .. a principle .. a work or even a feeling !
put ur faith in and go forward .. it is a weapon against the coward useless and evil person inside everyone of us !


Yes , I believe that small ideas make great changes !


Alejandra C
Oct 06, 2014 Alejandra C rated it it was amazing
Bueno raramente me gusta una película, y cadena de favores la vi cuando tenía mas o menos la edad de Trevor y me fascinó, ahora me di cuenta que era un libro y a pesar de haber visto la película decidí que lo leería y no me equivoqué dado que tiene cosas diferentes sobre todo algo en el final. Es una de mis películas favoritas y ahora uno de mis libros y lo recomiendo ampliamente.
Nicki
Brilliant and so inspirational. I didn't like the style at first but got used to it when I realised it was see through the eyes of the different characters throughout.Lots of tension and surprises throughout. I definitely want to read more by these author. I also want to 'pay it forward'!!!
Jlsimon
Mar 12, 2016 Jlsimon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible, drama
So I saw this movie years ago. The book as so often is the case, far outstripped the movie. Things that took me by surprise included:

1. This book literally had me bust out laughing on more than one occasion. It was fantastic to have such sarcasm and wit mixed into a story I would consider a drama.

2. I didn't remember things from the movie that were present in the book, like the enormity of the project, how it had taken on a life of it's own, that by the narrator's introduction tells you has chan
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Ethan
Dec 04, 2008 Ethan rated it really liked it
great book... a little inappropriate for an 11 year old but still great.
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I'm the the author of 30 published and forthcoming books.

My newest releases are Ask Him Why, Worthy, The Language of Hoofbeats, Take Me With You , Where We Belong, Walk Me Home, Subway Dancer and Other Stories, When You Were Older, Don’t Let Me Go, When I Found You, Second Hand Heart, The Long, Steep Path: Everyday Inspiration From the Author of Pay It Forward, Always Chloe and Other Stories, and
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“There is no wrong way to perform an act of kindness.” 58 likes
“If you want to see a man come to his senses, try something like, Do you happen to carry a rubber in your wallet? Did I mention I'm not on the pill?” 34 likes
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