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About Average

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  937 Ratings  ·  186 Reviews
Can average be amazing? The bestselling author of Frindle shows that with a little kindness, it can.

Jordan Johnston is average. Not short, not tall. Not plump, not slim. Not gifted, not flunking out. Even her shoe size is average. She’s ordinary for her school, for her town, for even the whole wide world, it seems.

Then Marlea Harkins, one of the most popular girls in schoo
Paperback, 144 pages
Published April 29th 2014 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published June 26th 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,537)
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Andrew Clements delivers a pitch-perfect novel for elementary-aged readers here. It works on so many levels - it addresses trendy issues like the unrealistic focus on fame in youth culture and bullying, but it also speaks to kids who just aren't too comfortable in their own skins, and who are trying to discover who they are and who they want to be. Clements does all this with a masterful hand that is never too heavy or preachy, but always simply and in a relatable way. But wait, there's more! Al ...more
Barb Middleton
No superstar in 6th grader Jordan. No super-duper grades. No super-duper looks. No super-duper athleticism. Just your super average run-of-the-mill kid. When you read as many fantasy books as I do it is refreshing to get a normal protagonist once in a while which is what I liked best about this book. While Clements descriptions bring alive the story and characters, the forced plot kept it from standing out in a crowd.

Jordan is finishing up the school year and is in the orchestra, but struggles a
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Jordan Johnston feels that all her sixth-grade schoolmates are talented or pretty or somehow above average, while she is just...average. Throughout the story other characters point out to her what she's really good at, but she either doesn't believe them or doesn't understand what they're hinting at. I guess it's human nature to compare ourselves with others, but I learned a long time ago that, if you do that, you'll never come out on top. It's much better to look at what you are good at and can ...more
Jun 11, 2016 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sweet. A bit implausible, but that's ok. The thing is, not everyone is a Stargirl, a bookworm, or a misfit... some kids are just nice average kids. And at some point they'll find their niche, or prove their worth, or discover their special talent. And they deserve stories w/ characters they can empathize with.

This is a much easier and shorter book than I expected, given that the characters are finishing their 6th-grade year. And sometimes they act and even think like third-graders. But given tha
I really enjoyed this book and honestly wish it was around when I was younger. The book is about a girl named Jordan who is seemingly average at everything, and how she gets bullied by a more popular girl named Marlea. Jordan makes a list of things she is good at, including gardening and babysitting, and her list is found by Marlea and gets her teased by many kids. To sum it up, Jordan eventually realized her talents and starts to find her identity and own talents, and realizes she is better tha ...more
Oct 01, 2014 Lia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am usually a fan of Andrew Clements' work. I enjoyed Frindle and The Landry News as well as others. But this book really didn't work. The premise, of having an average female protagonist, is good. But the execution doesn't work. The antagonist is a girl who is bullying the main character. It is very typical Female Relational Aggression, which is a cutting and damaging. The heroine muses to herself that the physical bullying she was aware of was brought to the school authorities and then halted ...more
Carol Strange
Maybe that is more like 2 1/2 stars. I really enjoy reading Andrew Clements with my son, but this book was somewhat of a disappointment. The idea of a girl who seemed just average was appealing to me who had similar feelings in school. She has a idea about some of the things she is good at (very few), but someone's strong points aren't always obvious. Eventually she is able to make a real contribution. Meanwhile she has trouble with girl "bullying," something not everyone recognizes but is all t ...more
I listened to this one on cd in the car with my little girls, and it was good. Not my favorite, but it has a good message about bullying and embracing who you are. Finding the good in everyone, and bring kind.
Karen Arendt
This is a warm tale about Jordan, a girl who feels she is just average (or below average) in almost everything she does. She even makes a list of her above, about, and below average things she can do. A mean girl, Marlea, finds the list in the trash and begins to bully Jordan. While this could have been a story about bullying and dealing with being bullied, Clements chooses to have Jordan rethink her own thoughts to deal with the bully. She focuses on positive thinking and tries niceness with Ma ...more
I absolutely loved the first half of the book. With a daughter that is at an age where you worry how they are fitting in and a society that is so focused on bullying I thought this would be the perfect book. It goes a long way in showing that everyone can find things that they are good at. I am also very fond of Jordan's plan to counter Marlea's bullying with niceness. I just wish that the book had ended with Jordan finding her own place without the help of a natural disaster. Some way that othe ...more
Nov 24, 2012 Allison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I would "drop" this. Books dealing with bullies are everywhere these days, and I was looking forward to one by one the best contemporary children's authors. Unfortunately, this is probably Clement's most lackluster book. It is anticlimactic and unremarkable. Jordan depicts a very common situation among elementary school students. She has no talents to speak of, and is completely average in every way. She does not magically discover a talent; which is one aspect of the book that I did appreciate. ...more
Jul 23, 2015 Jana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprising ending although characters are not very well developed.
Jamie Braziel
Nov 12, 2015 Jamie Braziel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lexus Beedy
Personal Reaction:

I enjoyed reading this book and think students will find Jordan very relatable. While some of us are still trying to “find ourselves”, the main character in this book Jordan is trying to find her talent that will make her not so ordinary. While her search to find her talent by the end of year is dwindling she is starting to see some of her strengths but is faced with bullying from Marlea. In the end Jordan is accepting that being average is an ok thing, being exactly Jordan is
Christian Wallace
Personal Reaction- This is another book that I was not assigned in class, but decided to read because I am a fan of Andrew Clements. I had also heard good things about the book from other students, which intrigued me to go ahead and read it, and I am very glad that I decided to. The story follows a 6th grade girl named Jordan Johnston, who suffers internally with self esteem and confidence because she feels as though she is simply average in intelligence, looks, and social ability. Once again, C ...more
Ariel Smith
Apr 14, 2015 Ariel Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
• Personal Reaction: This book was cute. It was fun to read about a girl who thought of herself as “average.” I always thought that of myself too in elementary school. Jordan reminded me a lot of Sarah, in Sarah plain and tall. Jordan’s struggles remind me of myself. I always compared myself to others saying they were better than me. So this book really seemed to hit home.
• Purpose:
o Independent reading: This book would be best, I believe, for girls in grades 3-5. Mainly because it talks about
Paige Cedergreen
I liked this book a lot, it was very relatable. I relate to Jordan because I feel like I have always compared myself to other people. It started in elementary school but even now I compare myself to my friends and other people in my life.

I would do this as an independent reading book for girls in 3rd and 4th grade. I think it functions best as an independent reading book than read aloud because particularly girls can relate to Jordan the main character. Girls thinking of comparing themselves to
Mackenzie Sipes
Reaction: Compared to other Andrew Clements books, I thought this one was just okay. I didn't really like the main character however I did appreciate him making a main character as a girl because he does not do it that often. I did enjoy that students would enjoy the story because it is relatable for children. My favorite part was the end when she was recognized for saving the students during the tornado.

Curriculum: I think this story could be great for a book talk. Since this is a realistic fic
Lindsay Garber
1. Personal Reaction:
About Average by Andrew Clements, is a compelling story that allows the reader to understand the beauty and importance of personal acceptance. This novel tells a story of a girl named Jordan Johnston who sees herself as very ordinary while everyone else appears to be perfect. Her goal by the end of the year is to find a great talent that will be known by everyone. Andrew Clements does a phenomenal job of relating to students in a classroom setting and helping them understand
Jun 03, 2014 Juihsuen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think that this book is very good and the main character should be friends with the person that she hate a lot, even though the person that she hate always pass out her secrets such as getting a very bad score on reading or other subjects. For example, the day the main character was cleaning her desk and she threw all the papers into the trash can and after that the person she hate walk over and look if there are something very interesting such as the main charters grade or something very secr ...more
Maddie Scheer
Apr 06, 2015 Maddie Scheer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1. Personal: I really liked this idea. I've always felt similar to Jordan all my childhood - that I've been pretty average. I've never been completely great at something and mostly okay at everything, so I really emphasized with Jordan Johnston and loved the plot line. I didn't see the tornado coming in the ending - but being from the Midwest, it was a great turnaround. Overall, very cute story.
2. Purpose: This would be a great read aloud for even a safety unit. In my elementary days, we had set
Dominique Woodbridge
I thought that About Average was a good book. This book is short and sweet, students would be able to read it in one or two days. The main character in this book, Jordan was an average girl. She didn't feel that she was too great at anything besides babysitting and gardening. Jordan had challenges of her own. She was bullied by a girl named Marlea. Jordan overcame this bullying and saved the day when a tornado hit her town. I would use this book as an independent reading book for children. This ...more
Erin Feller
Personal Reaction
This was a very easy read and a book I believe every single student can relate to! What kid cant relate to feeling only average and dealing with a bully. I thought it was interesting how much Jordan obsesses about her crush Johnathan. However I can personally relate with being an elementary aged girl day dreaming about a crush.

Purpose/use in the classroom
I would use this in a 3rd grade classroom as both either a read aloud or independent reading. I would love to have students
May 24, 2014 kelley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
About Average is a great story with a great lesson for children and adults. This is the description of the main character via goodreads, "Jordan Johnston is average. Not short, not tall. Not plump, not slim. Not blond, not brunette. Not gifted, not flunking out. Even her shoe size is average. She’s ordinary for her school, for her town, for even the whole wide world, it seems." And that's what makes this book so great. Jordan Johnston is average. We are all average and so Jordan automatically be ...more
Matthew Hodge
My 9yo daughter asked me to read this one saying it was really good, so obviously it spoke to her in subtle ways that I'd like to know more about.

The story concerns young Jordan Johnston, a girl at middle school in Illinois, who is struggling with the fact that she is average at most things - not exceptional, but not bad either. How does she fit in?

And so she spends most of the book pondering this, while noticing boys, being bullied and otherwise over-thinking her life.

The part of the story that
This book was pretty good. I really liked the way that Jordan chose to solve her problems in this book. Even though she faces several different obstacles, she manages to overcome them all in the end. I didn't like that some parts of the story weren't fully developed but at the same time, that factor is due to the age group that this book is aimed at. This is a great book for children who may be facing bullies or maybe even bullying themselves with a negative self image or negative self talk. I w ...more
Madelyn Adams
Personal Reaction:
This was a cute book, but it was not my favorite. I could personally relate to the main character, Jordan, because when I was her age I did not want to be average either. The book touches on realistic obstacles that I believe many students face today such as bullying, wanting to be individual, and discovering what their talent is.

This book would be great for students in 3rd through 5th grade. I could see the book being used in a small independent reading group. The sto
Ann Williams
What a great story about courage and quick thinking. This book will be a great companion novel to our weather unit. If tornadoes scare you, this book might scare you, but the ending is just right! I would like to read this book again just to examine the main character's personality traits and to figure out what motivates her to act on the way that she does. I think you will like this new novel from Andrew Clements.
Jul 25, 2012 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For such a short book, the repeated jumping back and forth in time was distracting. And the most exciting part of the whole story took place over just seven pages. The whole thing just felt like it was missing something.
Narrated by Celia Keenan-Bolger. Over the course of a hot school day, Jordan's averageness comes to the fore as all around her she notes classsmates who are better athletes, more popular, prettier, louder, and smarter than she. Popular girl Marlia isn't helping matters by teasing Jordan about her privately created list of personal attributes. But when an unexpected tornado hits the school grounds, it ends up being Jordan's moment to shine: with her organizational skill she mobilizes the other ki ...more
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Is this a good read? 2 7 Jan 04, 2013 11:04PM  
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I was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1949 and lived in Oaklyn and Cherry Hill until the middle of sixth grade. Then we moved to Springfield, Illinois. My parents were avid readers and they gave that love of books and reading to me and to all my brothers and sisters. I didn’t think about being a writer at all back then, but I did love to read. I'm certain there's a link between reading good books an ...more
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