Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Next Great Paulie Fink” as Want to Read:
The Next Great Paulie Fink
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Next Great Paulie Fink

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  377 ratings  ·  110 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
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 The Next Great Paulie Fink, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Next Great Paulie Fink

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  377 ratings  ·  110 reviews

More filters
Sort order
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.
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.
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 Caitlyn's
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, and
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
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.
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
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 weir ...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
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
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
Sam Bloom
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is normally the kind of book to which I'm allergic - quirky characters, quirky setting, quirky storyline - but it worked somehow!
Meag McKeron
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: juv-fiction
2.5 stars. Maybe kids will enjoy this more than I did. I just found the story moved pretty slowly and all of the connections to Greek mythology felt really forced. There were tons of moments where I thought to myself, “a kid would never say that.” It all just fell a little flat for me.
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
I often complain about the quirkiness factor in novels and this one does have that FOR SURE but it never crossed the line for me into complete unbelievability. And who wouldn’t want to go to a school like this? It charmed me and also had heart. Thumbs up.
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.
Lizz Axnick
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Next Great Paulie Fink is about a girl, Caitlin, who moves to a teeny town in Vermont to start seventh grade. When she gets there, she meets an eccentric group of classmates who have essentially known each other forever as there are only 11 kids, including Caitlin, in the seventh grade at this school.

The remaining 10 classmates are missing their class-clown this year, Paulie Fink. No one knows where he went or why he left. On further questioning, no one remembers his family or where he live
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
More reviews and book-ish content @ Club Book Mobile & Andrea RBK

The Next Great Paulie Fink by Ali Benjamin was just such a wonderful gem of a read. Caitlyn is the new girl. She's moved to a small town where all the other kids in her seventh grade class have been going to school forever, so she's a little nervous. The kids also can't stop telling her about Paulie Fink, a kid that moved away, but just was so funny and daring and all the things. Along the way, the kids decide they should have
The novel centers on two subjects: the terrors of middle school bullying, and trying to fit into a new school completely unlike your old school.

Paulie Fink was a legendary prankster in sixth grade, constantly getting into trouble with the principal, figuring out ways to avoid doing the work exactly as prescribed. When he vanishes as seventh grade begins, the students in a small progressive Vermont country school miss him terribly, and reminisce about some of his most outrageous acts.

Kaitlyn has
Celeste Swanson
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love how the plot in this story is told through Caitlyn’s perspective as well as through interviews with students and teachers. As each person tells about Paulie we start to build him up in our minds as this Ferris Bueller type of legend. We also learn about each character through the stories they share about Paulie. This plot device worked really well and kept the story fresh and interesting.

Sometimes in quirky stories you get flat caricatures that do not seem real (e.g. Pay Attention Carter
Valerie McEnroe
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Adult rating: 4 stars
Kid rating: 4 stars

Caitlyn has just moved to a new school in a small Vermont town. Her grade only has 10 students, called the originals because they were the first class when the school opened. Caitlin feels like an outsider. All her classmates constantly talk about a kid named Paulie Fink, who is so cool he is legendary. They even have a makeshift statue of him and one of his t-shirts, which they all share. But to everyone's shock and dismay, he is not at school on the firs
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For the entire summary & review, please visit at .

Caitlyn Breen is that new kid at Mitchell School. She's especially that new kid because her grade 7 class is so small. Besides being the new kid, she also is stepping into the biggest, boldest shoes imaginable ... those of Paulie Fink, legendary trickster and prankster. Everyone expected Paulie on the first day of school, but when he doesn't show up, Caitlyn is sucked unexpectedly into a realty-show-type
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A smart, enjoyable read with a unique take on a subject covered in many other books: how to survive being a newcomer in middle school. When Caitlyn Breen moves to a tiny school in rural Vermont, she discovers that everything she thought she knew about "fitting in" just might be wrong. Even more puzzling is a former classmate: Paulie Fink, a boy her new classmates can't stop talking about. What happened to this enigmatic trouble-maker is the book's central mystery, with the story unfolding in mul ...more
Maggie Menkus
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
When a teenager has to move to a new school, it is pretty stressful. Imagine moving from a large public school to a small rural school in Vermont, and you have the beginning of this story. Caitlyn Breen is not happy that her mom is taking a new job and uprooting the family, but she has no choice.

Caitlyn feels like an outsider, and she wants to fit in, but this small class of seventh graders (only 10 kids) keeps talking about a student who does not attend this school anymore - Paulie Fink . . . h
Alexa Hamilton
May 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, tween
It takes a while to really get into this story of Caitlyn, who has started the year at a new very quirky school, the same year that Paulie Fink left. Paulie Fink is legendary and he left without saying a word to anyone, which only makes his mythical status rise. We see all this from Caitlyn's perspective, as she tries to figure out what it's like to be in a school where her class is only 12 kids who have all been together for years. Turns out, having that small a group changes the dynamics. You ...more
Terri Floccare
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Caitlyn and her mother have moved to a new town that is completely different from where she previously lived. She needs to make new friends and navigate a new school. She finds her classmates are quirky, and the school is the strangest school she's ever been in. She keeps hearing about a boy who suddenly moved away, Paulie Fink. Everyone tells stories about him and offers a different description of what he was like. Caitlyn doesn't know what to make of this, but mostly she knows she doesn't want ...more
Casey Jo
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved Benjamin's debut, and she is now an insta-read for me. The story and voice allow me to really believe in these characters and their wacky ideas. Deep into the emotions of feeling not a part of something, both voluntarily and involuntarily, but also lots of fun. Fantastic plotting and thoughts into perspective. (Benjamin even references Plato's cave several times.) And reality tv as well as rural economics woven in seamlessly? Ali Benjamin is a genius.

(view spoiler)
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really like how Ali Benjamin writes. I loved the structure of The Thing about Jellyfish and how it took the structure of a science experiment and wrote the story to match each of the process steps. In this story, going back and forth between the interview sections and the storytelling sections is a great way to have the action move forward and backward all at the same time. You pick up little pieces in each section and they weave together as you read the whole story. The message in this story ...more
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Me and Miranda Mullaly
  • Shouting at the Rain
  • The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt
  • Cheesie Mack Is Not a Genius or Anything
  • Minnie McClary Speaks Her Mind
  • Allergic to Birthday Parties, Science Projects, and Other Man-made Catastrophes (Alvin Ho, #3)
  • Kelsey Green, Reading Queen
  • Calli Be Gold
  • Captain Superlative
  • Always, Abigail
  • Double Dog Dare
  • Fergus and Zeke
  • 33 Minutes
  • No Girls Allowed (Dogs Okay) (Secrets of a Lab Rat, #1)
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January
  • Happy Endings: A Story about Suffixes
  • Don't Touch My Hair!
  • How to Get Your Teacher Ready
See similar books…
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