Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Kate the Great, Except When She's Not” as Want to Read:
Kate the Great, Except When She's Not
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Kate the Great, Except When She's Not

(Kate the Great)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  179 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Fans of Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries will love this illustrated series by the New York Times bestselling author of All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat. Meet Kate Geller, a sassy flute-playing artist, who comes up with an original way to redefine friendship.

Kate’s older sister is way too perfect. Her younger sister is way too cute. And her mom wants her to be pals with
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by Crown Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Kate the Great, Except When She's Not, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Kate the Great, Except When She's Not

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  179 ratings  ·  50 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Kate the Great, Except When She's Not
Ms. Yingling
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
In this notebook novel, 5th grader Kate has to put up with annoying teachers, a new Junior Guide leader, and her mother, who is trying to get her to be friends with Nora. Nora's father is working out of town, so her mother signs her up for Junior Guides because she seems to have no friends. Kate has her own thoughts as to why Nora seems to have no friends-- Nora is off putting and seems not to want any. Kate's a good kid, so she tries to be as nice as she can. There are other things going on-- ...more
May 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Kate the Great Except When She's Not is an enjoyable read. However, there are so many books in the middle-grade doodle-accented diary-style genre now that any new additions to the field need to be particularly good to stand out from the crowd. Kate the Great, while enjoyable, isn't especially exciting or different. It's not as laugh-out-loud funny as other similar books, and there were times when some information seemed to be missing or skipped over. That being said, Kate the Great is still a ...more
Lisa Straubinger
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I ended up liking this middlegrade novel more than I thought. It is part chapter book/part journal. Suzy Becker includes doodles to support what is going on in the story. Kate is a 9, going on 10, year old who is navigating the world of 5th grade, friends and family. She stumbles along the way and learns from her mistakes.
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Finished reading tonight! Really liked this slice of life story, especially liked the side art humor throughout the book. Chuckled and laughed at many of Kate's dry/sarcastic comments in her cartoon bubbles on the side. I am excited for this one to come out so I can share with my students!

Note: I received a digital galley of this book through NetGalley.
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
In the book”Kate the Great, Except when she’s not” by Suzy Becker a girl named Kate Geller has to put up with her teachers, New junior guide leaders, and with her mom that wants to be friends with Nora’s mom. But, Kate and Nora are frenemy’s. Kate has to put up with this girl named Nora who never talks to anyone. Nora joined junior guides, so now Kate tries to be as nice as possible to Nora. Not only does Nora have to deal with Nora, she has to deal with school projects, and some family ...more
Michelle Kidwell
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Kate the Great
Except When Shes Not
Suzy Becker
Copyright 2014

Kate the Great Except When She's Not is a fun book for eight to twelve year olds. It is written in a fun and plsyful manner that I feel kids will find appealing. This book in a very fun way tells of ten year old Kate's life in a way that I think many kids in the eight to twelve year old age rang could relate to.

So for children who are eight to twelve year olds who like a fun and playful read Kate the great is a great book.

Five stars for
Kate Hartley
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
This is a great one for the 3-5 grade girls out there. This is a funny tale of trying to be friends with someone who just really does not know how to be friends. I may be bias since we're name buddies but Kates are normally just plain great!
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I picked this up because my real name is Kate and one of my best friends is also named Kate. It's a diary of a fifth grader as she faces unfriendly classmates, band class, familial miscommunications, new girl scout leaders, and critical art teachers. It's a fun little story that reminds me (sometimes unflatteringly) of my life at that age.
Maeli Gleason
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
good, except she was a little young.
May 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: terrible
This book was terrible. Hard to follow and just not all that funny or original.
Dawn Moews
Apr 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: n1
Kate Geller is a lively 5th grader with all the excitement and challenges that life presents. She has a best friend as well as several other friends in her class and her Junior Guide group. She is looking forward to becoming section leader in band and leader of Junior Guides, but neither event happens in the way she expects.

Kate is a middle child in a happy, functional family--something that is all too often not the norm in books written for intermediate and middle grade readers. the family is
Freya Hooper
Jul 28, 2014 rated it liked it
What this book is about:
Kate is in fifth grade and contending with the usual stuff: band, Junior Guides, sleepover parties. The bulk of the story centers around her friendship with Nora, a shy/loner girl in her class who Kate’s parents have asked her to befriend. She begins by looking at Nora as the project she has to endure, but as time goes on she is able to crack through the veneer and develop a nice friendship with her, although not without some bumps in the road.

Why I love this book:
Anastasia Tuckness
This was the most normal book I've read in a long time. Granted, my recently read books include titles like Rutabaga the Adventure Chef and Apocalypse Bow Wow, so that's not really saying much, but still! Kate is a super normal tween with normal tween issues and problems. She has a mom and a dad and two sisters, and they all live together. She has a dog, she plays the flute, she takes the school bus, and her main difficulty in life is that her mom wants her to try to be friends with someone ...more
I was reluctant to read Kate the Great because I was afraid it would be a bad imitation of Lincoln Peirce's successful Big Nate series. I was relieved to discover Kate is a unique and quirky 5th grader. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the beginning of Kate's 5th Grade year. This volume only covers the beginning of school through Halloween so I know there is MUCH more to come!

Every kid has been forced through circumstances to either befriend or spend time with a classmate he or she neither
Aug 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Aside from a few detail glitches--some details come from nowhere (stink bug?)--this hums along nicely. Katie is urged by her mom to re-friend a prickly former friend, a preschool classmate, Nora, out of sympathy, since her dad is now working out of town. Nora seems to LIKE having no friends, and isn't positive about becoming a member of the Junior Guides; the after school meetings are made trickier because they have a new leader, whose ideas for change aren't always welcomed, especially by Katie ...more
Katie Fitzgerald
Kate is nearly ten years old, and has just begun her fifth grade year. Though she already has a best friend, her mother wants her to show an interest in her fellow Junior Guides member, Nora, who has trouble making friends. Though Kate tries her hardest to befriend her, Nora makes it difficult by keeping to herself and behaving oddly.

There are so many middle grade novels written in diary format that another one seems superfluous, but if there must be more, they all ought to be like Kate the
Fifth grader Kate Geller enjoys her life despite the annoyances of being the middle child. When the father of one of her classmates has to be away from home for an extended period, Kate's mother insists that she befriend the girl. But Nora seems uninterested in being befriended and resists her overtures. Just as she finally starts warming up to Kate, their friendship has a set-back, and Nora refuses to talk to Kate. Filled with doodles in a style similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the book ...more
Jan 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, modern, illustrated
I'm pretty into this one. It's a lot like The Dork Diaries Collection and Diary of a Wimpy Kid in that the illustrations are supposed to be drawn by the main character (a child). Kate is just starting fifth grade and she's having some issues with the new teachers, starting band, and friendship. She also has a gratitude journal.
Gaia Cornwall
Apr 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Kate the Great is such a fun read! Becker's portrayal of almost-ten year old Kate is realistic and relatable. Her struggles are real and poignant, while her voice is dryly hilarious and her observations spot-on. I especially enjoyed her relationship with her family-- each developed characters in their own quirky ways. Kate's fantastic cartoons (also drawn by Becker,) are woven throughout as an integral layer of the story, and will appeal to fans of "Big Nate" and "Wimpy Kid", as well as serve as ...more
Aug 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-waw-options
I thought this WAW possibility was just a Wimpy Kid knockoff. The story was ok, about Kate's mom asking her to be friends with Nora -- the girl who had no friends. But Nora's dad was going away for awhile and Kate's mom thought it might be a hard time for her. And Kate actually liked Nora once she got to know her. But the author put parts of the story in sketches you had to look at carefully to figure out and unlike most similar stories there is no text to support the sketches so you HAVE to ...more
Elaine Vickers
I was so pleasantly surprised by Kate the Great Except When She's Not. It's funny, authentic, and absolutely charming. I especially loved the dynamics between the girls--they couldn't be neatly separated into nice and mean or good and bad or any other easy distinction. They were all realistic characters who had the kinds of interactions and struggles that kids really have. So much more thoughtful than Wimpy Kid, and just as fun.
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a funny and backwards book about making new friends. Originally Kate does not want to become friends with Nora but as time goes on she definitely learns that just because someone is different does not make them bad friend material. I really thought the ending was good even though some of the time Kate was really mean. I guess the author was going for the realistic approach.

***This book is suitable for grade school readers from first grade on up
Kathleen Cushman
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Evie and Thea, age 11, read this book eagerly and since they did not have a Goodreads account I am inserting this review at their request:
Kate the Great was great! (Except when it wasn't … just kidding!) The illustrations were very funny. Kate seemed like somebody we would be friends with if she went to our school. It was what a real girl would be thinking. The best part was when the model horse got taken. We have a bunch of model horses on our shelves. It was a great read!
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-pyrca
Kate has a good heart and a great sense of humor. I was a little put out by teacher nicknames, but then we were probably guilty of the same. I didn't see the need for adding the idea of the Guides doing something for senior citizens and then having the girls convince the leader not to do it. The story could have progressed with out it. Generally though I really liked the ideas and the dramas.
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-s-books
Everyone always says "oh here's a wimpy kid book" but this time it's a fantastic journal style book for girls! Chock full of real girl humor, it's kid friendly, a little silly and so many things that I can imagine thinking when I was her age. I love the inner dialogue of a young girl as she goes through her every day life and deals with problems big and small.
Sara Truog
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: juvenile
Highly illustrated novel about Kate, a fifth grader who is trying to negotiate the world of Junior Guides, difficult friendships, and sisterhood.
For fans of Wimpy Kid/Dork Diaries in grades 3-5. Since I am a fan of neither, this one wasn't really for me - but I see the appeal for kids who enjoy other school-based illustrated series.
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Suzy Becker has created a tween world that is fun for grownups and for tweens in Kate the Great. Interactions between Kate and her friends, family and teachers feel believable and bring up important topics for kids (and all of us) to think about. Jokes and drawings in the text and margins reinforce the storyline and keep things light and fun.
Jan 16, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a fun read about life from a clever sometimes precocious 5th grader girl's point of view. The comics, charts, and hand written notes break up the text for a breezy read. This will be popular with the Wimpy Kid crowd. The parents are responsible and kind, making great role models, however some of the snarky comments about teachers are unnerving, but kids will love them though.
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really winning illustrated chapter book. Loved the family dynamic and the way the illustration added to the text.

Also, I was inexplicably obsessed with Becker's My Dog is the World's Best Dog as a young child - there may have been a little squeeing involved when I realized this was the same Becker!
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Brilliant World of Tom Gates (Tom Gates, #1)
  • Everything's Amazing [sort of] (Tom Gates, #3)
  • Genius Ideas [Mostly] (Tom Gates, #4)
  • Tom Gates is Absolutely Fantastic [at Some Things] (Tom Gates, #5)
  • Excellent Excuses [and Other Good Stuff] (Tom Gates, #2)
  • Mallory Vs. Max (Mallory McDonald, #3)
  • Now Look What You've Done (Timmy Failure, #2)
  • Tom Gates: Extra Special Treats ( . . . not) (Tom Gates, #6)
  • Mary Anne Saves the Day
  • Claudia and Mean Janine
  • Posted
  • Fairest of All (Whatever After, #1)
  • The Awesome Almost 100% True Adventures of Matt & Craz
  • Home Sweet Horror
  • Oliver and the Seawigs
  • Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor (Frank Einstein, #1)
  • Ghosts
  • Big Nate Lives It Up (Big Nate Novels, #7)
See similar books…
An author, artist, educator, and entrepreneur, Suzy Becker began her career as an award-winning advertising copywriter, and then founded the Widget Factory, a greeting card company. She entered the world of books with what would become the internationally bestselling All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat, now in the Double-Platinum Collector's Edition All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat ...more

Other books in the series

Kate the Great (2 books)
  • Kate the Great: Winner Takes All