Sue's Reviews > The School Story

The School Story by Andrew Clements
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Feb 15, 12

bookshelves: childrens, fiction, not-owned, read-2012
Read from February 13 to 15, 2012

This is a wonderful children's novel, recommended to me by a friend. Twelve-year-old Natalie has written a short novel, and her best friend Zoe is convinced it should be published. Natalie's mother is an editor working in a publishing house, but Natalie doesn't want her to be biased... so the girls enlist the help of their English teacher, invent pseudonyms for themselves, and work out how to get the book into Natalie's mother's hands.

The characterisation is excellent, contrasting the quiet Natalie who lacks confidence and the outgoing, sometimes pushy Zoe; it's this contrast which moves the story along, making it difficult to put down, even though some of the ideas the girls have seem rather far-fetched when I think about it now. It's educational in a low-key kind of way, covering as it does the processes required to get a book published, including the legal contracts and publicity. There are are one or two less likeable, caricatured people - Natalie's mother's boss springs to mind - and while it isn't a humorous novel, there's a light-hearted feel to it which made me smile in places.

It's more than just the story of Natalie's novel; there are themes to be explored, such as office rivalry, and coming to terms with the loss of a parent, as well as the importance of standing up for one's dreams. Intended for approximate ages 8-12, this would probably appeal to some teenagers too... and parents! Highly recommended.
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