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The Next Great Paulie Fink

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,512 ratings  ·  331 reviews
When Caitlyn Breen enters the tiny Mitchell School in rural Mitchell, Vermont, she is a complete outsider: the seventh grade has just ten other kids, and they've known each other since kindergarten. Her classmates are in for a shock of their own: Paulie Fink--the class clown, oddball, troublemaker, and evil genius--is gone this year.

As stories of Paulie's hijinks unfold,
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published April 16th 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Tiffany Dickinson The main challenge, as I see it, is Caitlyn's unhappiness due to moving and changing schools between sixth and seventh grade. She and her mother move …moreThe main challenge, as I see it, is Caitlyn's unhappiness due to moving and changing schools between sixth and seventh grade. She and her mother move from a big city to a rural environment with an unusually small school (seventh grade has 10 kids). Other challenges are woven throughout, including bullying, the economic plight of rural schools, and every kid just trying to fit in one way or another. Other themes are touched on as well, including equality for women, social equity and fairness (now and in history). I rated this book as a five-star but my only complaint, actually, is the number of "issues" touched on. It's a bit of overkill for a fun fiction middle-grade novel.(less)

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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,512 ratings  ·  331 reviews

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Hannah Greendale
Mar 11, 2019 marked it as dnf
Shelves: middle-grade
DNF at page 100. This is unfocused and lacks intrigue. A significant departure from the depth, insight, and emotional gravity of The Thing About Jellyfish.
Colby Sharp
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, mg-novel
Just might be my favorite 2019 middle grade novel. I loved this book so darn much.
Laura Gardner
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Everything we know is always incomplete. In the end, we get to fully know exactly one person only: ourselves. And that's only if we work hard at it."
⚠️: do not read this book unless you want to giggle uncontrollably and be filled with joy. It’s filled with unconventional fun, heartwarming situations and GOATS. I warned you!
The newest book by @alibenjamin, THE NEXT GREAT PAULIE FINK is my favorite sort of #mglit book. I was completely absorbed in the school-based story of Cai
Sam (she_who_reads_)
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was so much fun! From the antics of the “Great Paulie Fink” to the disastrous goats, to the incredible characters inhabiting this school- every page gave me something to smile (or laugh out loud) about! This book follows Caitlyn as she starts the first day of seventh grade at a new school. Not only is this school much smaller than her old one, but the kids in her grade are reeling after discovering Paulie Fink isn’t returning. There are some fantastic ideas and themes explored, an
Tamara York
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved The Thing About Jellyfish, so I was so excited to find an ARC of this at the library book sale. It was just fantastic. A wonderful book about middle school and all of the feelings that kids have as they adjust to a new school, new friends, and legends left behind by former students. The story is set in an eccentric small town school in an old mansion, with goats. It’s a school that every reader would want to attend. The characters are vivid, unique, and fun. You root for these kids. I ca ...more
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was so good! I really enjoyed how the main character dealt with all the problems in this one.
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a lot of fun! The rather unrealistic story of one memorable class of seventh grade students, their teachers, and their idolized former classmate. Although many of the events in the book are quite far-fetched the characters' reactions are extremely plausible. Additionally, at the heart of the book is an important message about the way we view others and the way our perceptions are limited. I especially appreciated how one clever teacher managed to incorporate Ancient Greek history in ...more
Kristen Beverly
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I think this will be a great book for its target audience - middle graders and will be a bit more difficult for older fans of the author to read. It’s got a lot of really great lessons for kids.
Connie D
A friend recommended this to me. When that happens, you always expect more from a book right away, so I was sad that I struggled with it at the beginning.

That's because I started listening to disc 2 instead of disc 1! I thought, wow, this author expects a lot from her readers!

Once I started reading the book in order, I loved it.

Entertaining and poignant!

Caitlin arrives in a new small town and a new very unusual school expecting the worst. When she walks in, her new classmates are also expectin
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I laughed out loud! This is a really fun book! And deep...

Yes, it's deepness is different from The Thing About Jellyfish (which I will always love!), but it's still wonderful! It made me question the world: how we treat others, what makes them "tick," and if our version of them (and ourselves) are at all accurate. Maybe our most embarrassing moments aren't as embarrassing as we think. Maybe that "weird" kid that doesn't talk to anyone isn't avoiding people because she's "too good for them," but
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

Caitlin cannot believe her mother made her move from New York to a small town in Vermont with only 11 kids in 7th grade. Her classmates seem disappointed that she’s not their peer Paulie Fink, who seems to have disappeared. Paulie, class clown and troublemaker rolled into one, is sorely missed and the class sets out to find THE NEXT GREAT PAULIE FINK.

Caitlin is a complicated character, a bully at her former school, insecure and unhappy in Vermont. Her journey of self discovery and acce
Heather Moore
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, audiobooks
What a great story for the middle school years! Not only is it quirky and fun, but it also tackles topics like fitting in and finding your place and what it means to do that with integrity. Reading this book, I couldn’t help but think of the kid who got picked on in my own middle school, and wondered if reading a book like this would’ve made me brave enough to befriend her all those years ago. I wish I would’ve made that choice. It’s not often you come across a book that helps kids to see outsid ...more
Melissa Green
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Sometimes ordinary people do crummy things. That’s just the truth of it. They do things that they’ll wish later they could undo. And they’ll just be stuck with them forever.”

Caitlyn Breen, a seventh grader, has just moved across the country to a new school. She doesn’t quite know how to fit in because at this school the kids help take care of goats, learn about philosophers, and take care of the kids in younger grades at lunch. However, the other seventh graders keep talking about a kid who use
Sally Sugarman
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book came highly recommended and as I started it I hoped I would like it. No problem. It was even more wonderful than I was led to expect. It was the point late in the book when I was crying that I realized it had everything that makes a book worth reading. One of its strengths is the variety of presentations with interviews interposed with a personal narrative so that we get to know all the characters beyond the main narrator Caitlyn Breen on our own. Caitlyn finds herself entering a wei ...more
It was actually, kinda impressive.

At first, I didn't really think this book is something I would like to read, I just didn't think it would appeal to my taste. But no, it was like, really good.

The Next Great Paulie Fink is all about the horrors, ups, downs, and how to overcome that evil middle school version of yourself. It follows the life of Caitlyn Breen ,a girl in seventh grade that has to move to a new middle school in the middle of nowhere. She has to overcome the obstacle that is finding
Monica Edinger
I enjoyed this. Liked the idea of the absent Paulie being revered and the clever notion of a contest to replace him. Completely engaging and an entertaining read.
Max Yeshnowski
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much. It was absolutely amazing. I want there to be a second book just because it was so amazing. 10000000000000000/5 stars!!!!!!
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, middle-grade
Happy pub day to The Next Great Paulie Fink! Thanks to Hachette Book Group Canada who provided me with a free advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

I loved Ali Benjamin's debut novel, The Thing About Jellyfish, and she hasn't published anything new in several years, so I was thrilled when I saw she was publishing a second novel! Both of Benjamin's books are middle grade and I'll admit, when I read the plot synopsis for Paulie Fink, it didn't appeal to me quite as much as her first book
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
The Next Great Paulie Fink is a confusing story. Our main character is Caitlyn, who, having moved with her mother from upstate New York to Mitchell, Vermont, is starting 7th Grade at a small rural school. The school is located in an old mansion--instead of a typical school building. All grades are housed in the same building since it's such a small town. There are only 10 other students in Caitlyn's entire 7th grade class. On the first day of school the other students discover that not only do t ...more
Melanie  Brinkman
Aug 05, 2019 added it
Shelves: own-b
Who will be the next Paulie Fink?

When Caitlyn starts out the new school year at the tiny Mitchell School, in Mitchell, Vermont, she's an outsider. The other ten students in her seventh grade class are left reeling when the class clown , Paulie Fink, doesn't return for the new year. He's disappeared.

As Caitlyn settles into the school year, she hears all about the legend of Paulie and his hijinks. His classmates decide there's only one way to fill the Paulie sized hole in their lives - to hold a r
Shaye Miller
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Let me first just say: I ADORED THIS BOOK — it was such a unique tale and incredibly heart-felt at points. In short: Caitlyn Breen is new to Mitchell, Vermont and is starting her first day on seventh grade at Mitchell School. One of the first things she learns upon entering the school is that Paulie Fink is missing. Fink was a long-term legendary student in the same class and, without warning, he just didn’t show up to school this year.

Told with interspersed interviews from different viewpoints,
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Caitlyn has moved to a small town in Vermont and is expecting to go to a "normal" school, but she is in for a big surprise when she walks into her new school to become a part of a small group of students that have been together since kindergarten, The Originals. They were the first in this experimental school, housed in a rundown mansion, and they may be the last to be in the school if funding can't be found. In addition to that, they've lost one of their own, Paulie Fink, who just disappeared w ...more
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Devoured in two days. Parts of it gutted me as I reminisced about being "the new kid" not all that long ago. Paulie Fink, the myth, the legend, is definitely the kid (as a teacher) that would annoy me to no end, but as a student would keep me engaged and enchanted for the whole year.

Caitlyn Breen has been uprooted from her life and moved to a rural school in Vermont where the class sizes are small and the students are tight-knit. The seventh graders, known as "The Originals" because they were th
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Everything we know is always incomplete. In the end we get to know exactly one person only: ourselves. And that's only if we work hard at it."
I LOVED this middle-grade novel so much! Heart-warming and fun with deeper themes of what it means to be a good person, even when you're an up-rooted, lost, seventh-grader who just wants to fit in. I will be promoting this book like crazy in my middle school library, but I would recommend it to anyone who's craving an uplifting, often hilarious, story of
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
1 Sentence Summary: Caitlyn just moves to Vermont and her new school is tiny and decidedly not normal- all of her classmates are obsessed with some kid named Pauline Fink who disappeared.

My Thoughts: It’s kind of boring at the beginning but it gets better as you read further. I didn’t think this book was as good as Ali Benjamin’s other book, The Thing About Jellyfish. It was still good though. I could relate to Caitlyn because I have moved schools and it’s really hard. My favorite character was
Jake McAllister
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In the small town of Mitchell, Vermont, there is a school full of stories. Mainly stories about one of their previous classmates, the Great Paulie Fink!

Insert Caitlyn, the new girl from New York. As Caitlyn tries to comprehend and understand her new school, she struggles with her new life changes. Zukeball, Greek Myths, Lunch with Minis, goats, and the annual soccer game against Devlinshire are the least of her concerns as she tries to find the normal in her new situation.

This hilarious story
Annie Ryan
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Caitlyn is a new student at Mitchell, a tiny, rural school in Vermont. She must follow in the footsteps of Paulie Fink, who is a legend, and has not returned this year. Everyone misses Paulie so much that they nominate Caitlyn to start a reality show inspired competition to find who will become the “next great Paulie Fink!” With a surprise twist in the end, this is a story about venturing out of your cave and being your own person. Ali Benjamin’s creative writing, unique characters, and importan ...more
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh my GOSH!!! This book was one of the best books I have ever read! If I was able, I would give it 6/5 stars. At the end, something epic happens and I couldn't put it down. I honestly would recommend this to anyone who loves a great book or reality show!! I know! How in the world could a book be related to a reality show? Well read this book to find out! It has a bit of a mystery flair to it along with AMAZING characters and a awesome plot. Anyone who likes to read would love this book just as m ...more
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Ali Benjamin has written for the Boston Globe Magazine, Martha Stewart's Whole Living, and Sesame Street. She is the co-writer for HIV+ teen Paige Rawl's coming-of-age memoir, Positive, which will be a lead title for Harper Teen this coming Fall, and which will feature an introduction by Jay Asher. She is a member of the New England Science Writers. - See more at: ...more

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