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Pay It Forward

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4.18  ·  Rating details ·  23,812 ratings  ·  1,049 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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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  23,812 ratings  ·  1,049 reviews


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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
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Luciano
Nov 21, 2008 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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Jennifer Willis
Mar 02, 2011 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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Kandice
Oct 06, 2014 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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Dawn
Nov 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: A great read for high school students.
Recommended to Dawn by: Catherine Ryan Hyde is a favorite author of mine.
A moving story about helping others & how paying it forward can spread more kindness in this difficult world. I've seen the movie many times. I almost always read the book first, so I had to change my thinking while reading the book. I had to stop picturing Helen Hunt & Kevin Spacey as main characters, especially since there were definite differences. I don't know if I would have enjoyed the movie as much if I would have read the book first. This is my third book by this author and I look forwar ...more
Skip
Jan 27, 2016 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
Sue
Sep 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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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Krystal
I definitely liked the ideas of this story more than the delivery. It's a really sweet novel that questions human decency but from what I remember it was a little slow and preachy at times.

I do really love this idea of paying it forward though so if people read this book and are inspired to do good things for others I can't fault that.
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Joy D
Set in California in the early 1990s, this book tells of Trevor, a 12-year-old challenged by his teacher to come up with an idea to change the world. His concept of “Paying it Forward,” carrying out a good turn, something big, for someone who cannot do it for him or herself, is a worthy one. Unfortunately, the story was bogged down by an on-again, off-again romance between his mother and teacher that became extremely repetitive and took focus away from the central idea of the book. I wish it had ...more
Hailey Leister
May 01, 2013 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. ...more
Linda
I almost never read paper books anymore, but my daughter had this laying around and I picked it up. I was immediately taken in.

It is the Young Readers Edition, and I love the author's note that it had become historical fiction when she did the rewrite. Set in the 1990's with President Clinton and no cell phones and no internet to speak of, the story would have to be written completely differently if it were to take place today.

Terrific, inspiring book. Yeah, "sappy" is an adjective that could a
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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
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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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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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. ...more
Sherri Thacker
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow!!! How have I not read this book before now? Great story, great characters from a great author!! Loved it!
Katy Noyes
Nov 05, 2014 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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Katy
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars

This book hit me in the feels more than I expected it to. It is not just a piece of fluff, which is what I was admittedly expecting. If it weren't for the big question left dangling and unanswered at the end, I probably would have rated it a solid 4 stars.
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Leila
I saw the film of this book A long time ago but can't remember it in detail only that the theme of course was the same. The book is much fuller and for me has a slow start so that I wasn't sure I was going to engage with it for awhile. I was taken aback to discover the book is stated to be suitable for the age range if 8 to 12 years. Whoever decided that I wonder? Both the sexual content and the style of the writing makes it more appropriate for older children I would think. The concept of payin ...more
Rick
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although I love Catherine Ryan Hyde novels, I'd never gotten around to reading her most well-known one until now. Its marriage of compassion, true-to-life characters, kindness, and engrossing storytelling has made Pay It Forward one of my favorites of hers. As is the case with most movies to books, this book is far superior to the movie version, which I now know took great liberties with the story. Highly recommended for those who love an uplifting story with more than a few tears. ...more
Natasa
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I’ve read by Catherine Ryan Hyde and loved it. It tells about a boy with an enormous heart and witty intelligence. He creates a project that will change the world, though he doesn’t know that the results will truly be worldwide. It makes you appreciate the simple creative minds of children. Aside from that, there is a romantic tie that flows with the story to give the book a combination plot. 
Becky Wyatt
Jan 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
The writing was amateurish. Neat premise however.
Hristina
I can't believe it took me so long to actually come around to reading this book, especially because it's such a beautiful story, and it so wonderfully executed. ...more
Jeff Grosser
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
A good story with a great concept...if only.
Kate Ellis
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found myself uplifted by the book. The world would certainly be changed if all of us Paid it Forward - that the action of doing good deeds for others without expecting anything in return was the norm.
I have other books by Catherine Ryan Hyde which I am now eager to read.

Pay it Forward was coined by Lily Hardy Hammond in her book Garden of Delight in 1916, and was popularised as a phrase by Robert A Heinlein in his book Between Planets in 1951.

Catherine Ryan Hyde's book of 1999 is a very well
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Julie
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-to-film, fiction
I loved the story of these characters. I knew it would take a bit of sap to get to something substantial. And that was ok.
That being said, I think every great once in a while you can read a story as a adult that will strip away those layers of cynicism which wrap around our grown up hearts due to time and circumstance. I felt the heaviness and struggle of each character easily. I felt the optimism and hope for everyone as Trevor just as easily. What a lovely feeling to experience. I hope my ef
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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
Ineke van Mackelenbergh
A solid 3.5 if this were possible.
I remember seeing the movie shortly after it came out, and loving it. Does it in any way resemble the book? I can’t make that comparison anymore because too much time has elapsed in between.
The story at the heart of the book is heart-warming, pulling the reader in and keeping you hooked to its main protagonists, the 14-year old boy, his mother and his school teacher. The book’s subject is mainly about the boy’s school project which ends up having wide-ranging ef
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Tessa
Oct 09, 2012 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
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Cristina
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An inspirational and heartfelt story that everyone should read, from kids to adults.
I liked the idea and enjoyed how she developed the story in a very natural way. The characters were real and likable.
The thought that as simple an idea as paying it forward rather than paying someone back is wonderful; if only this could happen. I tried to recall my recent acts of kindness and I realized that that every time I received a "thank you" and not one person said "how can I pay you back?". So I just do
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I am the author of more than 30 published and forthcoming books, including ALLIE AND BEA, SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW, LEAVING BLYTHE RIVER, ASK HIM WHY, WORTHY, THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS, TAKE ME WITH YOU, WHERE WE BELONG, WHEN I FOUND YOU, WALK ME HOME, SECOND HAND HEART, DON'T LET ME GO, and WHEN YOU WERE OLDER.

I'm an avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, and have released my fir
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