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The Next Great Paulie Fink

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  689 ratings  ·  180 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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Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  689 ratings  ·  180 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 absor
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.
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.
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
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
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
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 i
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.
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: middle-grade, arcs
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 because it
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 they ...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 t
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
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
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, st
Brandi Rae Fong
I liked this. A little long, a little predictable, but the format was interesting and I loved the personal growth that the main character had. And her relationship with her Kindergarten Mini...awwww...

Now I just have to figure out how to book talk it!
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!
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great story for upper elem and middle school. Great characters, lots of learning, growth and friendship! And goats :).
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.
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.
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
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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: