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Gertie's Leap to Greatness

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,547 ratings  ·  394 reviews
For fans of Three Times Lucky and The Penderwicks, this endearing new classic spins together sparkling humor, sizzle-pop writing, and a sassy main character with an unforgettable voice.

Gertie Reece Foy is 100% Not-From-Concentrate awesome. She has a daddy who works on an oil rig, a great-aunt who always finds the lowest prices at the Piggly Wiggly, and two loyal best frien
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,547 ratings  ·  394 reviews

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Colby Sharp
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, 2016-newbery
Sometimes you read a book and it reminds you of why children's literature not only matters, but is vital to the lives of young readers.
Michele Knott
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Everything you have heard about this book is true.
And more.

I was in love with Gertie before 20 pgs had gone by.
My heart felt for her.
I often wanted to give her a hug.
She made me laugh and smile.

You will want to read this book. You will want to read this book out loud. You will want to pass this book on to readers.
Dov Zeller
I will here admit that when I saw Jillian Tamaki named as the illustrator of this book I thought it was a graphic novel and was really looking forward to reading it. When I discovered it's a novel with a few illustrations, I was disappointed. But, I gave it a read anyway. And...I found it pretty disappointing. I think with a bit more context, a touch more humor, and maybe a bit more growing self-awareness on Gertie's part, I might have appreciated it more. Also, I didn't think the conflict betwe ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jan 13, 2016 rated it liked it
E ARC available at Netgalley and Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Gertie is bound and determined to be "great". The book starts with her resuscitating a bullfrog and taking it to school in a shoebox so that she has the best summer story to tell. Unfortunately, 5th grade is marred by the appearance of a new girl, Mary Sue, whose father is a film director in town with a famous kid star. Gertie wants to be phenomenal so that her mother, who walked out when Gertie was very young, notices her before she m
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kids, middle-grade
Oh Gertie...I had such high hopes for you and that this would be the feel-good book of the year, but I just have so many questions. Why is your name Gertie (and the other kids Jean, Roy, Mary Sue, etc.) like it's the 1950s, yet there are cell phones? How is it that your mother "abandoned" you, yet only moved THREE MILES away and you still never see each other? Why are the other kids SO mean to you and why is there NO adult intervention? And most importantly, if this book is called "Gertie's Leap ...more
Dylan Teut
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read Gertie all in one day yesterday! Couldn't put it down. I was fighting for her, and for a while was disgusted with her teacher, until later in the book. The teacher in me just did not like her rivals! It is a very special book, and the ending left me wanting more Gertie! Fabulous! 5 stars!
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted at Log Cabin Library

Opening Line: "The bullfrog was only half dead, which was perfect."

Gertie's Leap to Greatness reads like a classic story with a memorable main character, strong messages, and has the same appeal of a Ramona Quimby book. I can see this as a class read along. One of my favorite scenes was Gertie's reaction to her Aunt serving peas for dinner, the very same reaction I would have had at her age. What makes it most fun are the black and white illustrations by Jil
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-girls, netgalley
Thank you to NetGalley and Farrar, Strauss & Giroux (BYR) for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Well oh dear. I truly wish I could give this a higher rating but unfortunately this really missed the mark for me. Now obviously this is a middle-grade book so one could argue I'm not the right audience for this and I would not quarrel with that assessment. I actually would be interested to hear an opinion from the the age range for which this is written. To start, I t
Gertie has a mission. And her missions always work out. But this one, her plan to get her absent mother to notice that Gertie is “one hundred percent not-from-concentrate awesome,” is not going so well. The new girl, Mary Sue, seems to outshine ( and outsmart) Gertie in almost everything. And her mother still seems to be keen on moving away.
First, Gertie. Oh, Gertie! Gertie has so much gumption and realness--Beasley has created a character so endearing and tangible, she’s sure to live on in the
Jen (Book Den)
Oh, Gertie. This book broke my heart into a million wee pieces. It's really a wonderful book, though.

Gertie wants to be the best fifth grader that ever lived. We begin the book with Gertie creating her "what I did on my summer vacation" story. By her fifth grade year she was well aware that these stories were a competition, and Gertie needed to be the best! Gertie didn't count on there being a new girl in class this year - a new girl from California who knows movie stars.

Gertie's Leap to Greatne
Wendy Darling
A story that's readable and sweet, but ultimately on the slight side for me.

Positives: I loved the narrative voice and the charming illustrations, which reminded me of TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING (and also illustrated several characters as POC, though they're not specifically referred to as such); realistic handling of difficult subjects, especially the mom who abandoned Gertie and Gertie's conflicted feeling about her dad's job on an oil rig; non-nuclear family unit (Gertie lives with her
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I LOVED THIS BOOK! It was so stinking adorable! I grew up with Beverly Cleary's Ramona series and Judy Blum's Fudge series so this book totally took me back to my 10 year old self. Gertie is a determined, adventurous, stubborn, fifth grader. She lives with her aunt because her dad works on an oil rig and can only come home a few days at a time. Gertie's mom left when she was a baby and believes if she is the best fifth grader in the whole class, her mom will have to take her back. However, on th ...more
Michelle Simpson
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grades
I loved this book! I would love to know Gertie! She is such a delightful girl, and I was rooting for her all the way. I look forward to sharing this book with students.

I received an early digital copy from NetGalley.
Apr 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: kidlit, netgalley
NOTE: Received as an ARC from Netgalley.

A little Harriet the Spy (especially the school play), a little The Penderwicks, with a dash of Fannie Flagg. I had a little trouble warming up to Gertie, but I think middle graders will like her.
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you like Ramona Quimby, you will love Gertie Foy!
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
A delightful debut!
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Young Middle-Grade Readers
Fifth-grader Gertie Reece Foy is determined to make the leap to greatness, thereby winning the attention and admiration of her absent mother in this engaging middle-grade novel from first-time author Kate Beasley. Although raised by her father and her Great-Aunt Rae, Gertie is used to having her mother, the elegant Rachel Collins, who still lives in the same Alabama town that Gertie does, appear as a distant figure in her life. But when a 'For Sale' sign appears outside Rachel's house, Gertie, w ...more
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Net Galley and Kate Beasley, I’ve now met wonderful Gertie Reece Foy who lives with her wise Aunt Rae and her loving father. He’s gone for two weeks before returning for two weeks because he works on an oil rig, but the scenes with him show wisdom, too. Gertie has strength from family, although her mother left them early in Gertie’s life, but still lives in the same town, is about to re-marry and move. Gertie leaps into the story with a bullfrog, certain that this time she will have th ...more
Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
Review originally posted on Mostly YA Lit:

Note: this review is written by my husband, Evan.

“Don’t be mad at me, it’s just one man’s opinion!”

That’s what Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) tells his crying adolescent daughter after insulting the play she wrote and produced all by herself, in The Royal Tenenbaums. The line is both hilarious and tragic, because a parent is never just another person.

Fifth grader Gertie knows this all too well. Gertie lives with her aunt, while her mother - for reasons
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it

Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!

I knew I would love Gertie's Leap to Greatness based on the title alone. It sounds presumptuous, but I have a soft spot for girls with very quirky names who put a lot of gusto into everything they do. It also reminds me how boring my name is.

Kate Beasley's debut is a delight, and it's a delight because of how everything is set up from page one. Gertie isn't like other little girls -- she wants to resurrect a frog back from the dead, wants to be the st
It seems to become harder and harder to find books that really fit the audience of kids who have progressed beyond "chapter books" but aren't yet ready for a lot of the heavy content that characterizes so many books that are being described as "middle grade." GERTIE'S LEAP TO GREATNESS, however, will fit that audience pretty well. Sure, Gertie has a fairly heavy problem -- a mother who moved out and seems to be doing her best to pretend that her marriage and her daughter never happened. But Gert ...more
Dena (Batch of Books)
Gertie has a mission to become the best fifth grader in the whole world, and when Gertie's starts a mission, she always finishes it. The only problem is that seat-stealing new girl, Mary Sue. it doesn't take long before a full fledged rivalry flares up between Gertie and Mary Sue.

Gertie's character is full of life and personality. From the way she dresses to the way she plans her missions, she is the kind of girl I would have loved to buddy up with as a kid. She has tons of energy and laser shar
Katie Fitzgerald
Nov 05, 2016 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
I just couldn't get into this book. It's trying so hard to be special, but it's just generic, not to mention derivative of books like the Ramona series and Marty McGuire series, and The Higher Power of Lucky. The story must be set in the present-day, since the kids have phones and such at school, but there are other indicators that suggest the setting is historical. Girls wear sticker earrings, for example, which I remember being popular in the late 80s/early 90s, and there is a character who wa ...more
Truly I would give this a 3.5 if I could. Gertie reminds me of Clementine - she wants so badly to be good at being good, but trouble seems to find her. Gertie's character and her friendship with Junior are laugh-out-loud funny at times, and while this is a much longer book than the Clementine books, it's a quick read. Despite her aunt's school-send off of "give em hell," the book seems to have a perfect audience for 3-4th grade girls. Two things that left me wondering: Why did Gertie's mom leave ...more
Micki U
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-to-order
Gertie's Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley was more than great! Gertie aspires to be the greatest fifth grader, but it isn't for reasons you expect. Follow her on her journey as she stumbles through trying to make meaning of something that is beyond a child's understanding.

With humor and compassion, Gertie's journey is one that will tug at your heart and have you cheering as you turn the page!

Middle grade students will easily connect to Gertie. They will find themselves laughing out loud and cr
Cassie Thomas
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gertie resembles anyone who has ever tried so hard to prove themselves to others. She is the epitome of what it means to be a young person trying to find their place in the world, but what Gertie realizes is being herself all along was the best route to take.

What a fantastic novel reminding children to stay true to who they are. I would recommend again and again to my students.
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a a cute book, and one that would be excellent for middle-grade readers. Gertie is on a mission to be the best fifth-grader in the universe, so that she can show the mother who abandoned her that Gertie does not need her. The problems and behaviors are quite accurate for a bunch of fifth graders, and I enjoyed it from start to finish.
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
I love this book's humor, sadness, and it's irreverence. Don't let the cutsie cover fool you--this book has sass!
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Great medicine for a tough post-election week.

As the book jacket says, Gertie Reece Foy is 100% not-from-concentrate awesome.
Patti's Book Nook
Sep 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
I read this with my 3rd grade daughter for a foam pumpkin project she'll be completing next month. Gertie is a spunky fifth grader who has had an unusual life. Her mother left her when she was little but lives in the same town, her dad works on an oil rig, and she's raised by her Aunt Rae. Gertie sets out to prove she is the most amazing kid in fifth grade, and doesn't need her mom anyway.

Her competition: new girl Mary Sue Spivey, a rich and popular girl whose dad is a film director and mom is
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“...sometimes you had an awful, horrible, rotten day and you were sure that nothing was ever going to be right again. But then you had a good sleep and the next morning your Twinkies tasted creamier than ever and everything was okay or at least not as bad as you thought.” 1 likes
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