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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.
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 pantheon of of kid lit heroines--Ramona, Matilda, Harriet, Anne, Pippi, etc., etc. She’s a little weird, she’s determined, and her heart is larger than even she realizes. You, dear reader, will love her.
Gertie’s fight to become the “best fifth-grader in the universe” overlays her deeper longing to bring her mother back where she thinks she belongs--back with Gertie and her father. The profound cruelty Gertie encounters from her fellow students on her quest--bullying catalyzed by Mary Sue and intensified as more students (all too easily) join in--is heartbreaking in its accuracy. Beasley deftly explores the subtle unkindnesses that can break children down, utilizing perfectly quirky humor and a brave little protagonist to keep the story from getting to heavy to bear.
Gertie’s Leap to Greatness shows, with whip-smart prose, that often, a journey to greatness happens not in one, huge, dramatic surge, but in tiny little steps from one little triumph to another, leading you right back to the wonderful, unique person you’ve been all along. Mission accomplished.
"Meet the new Ramona Quimby!" -- Entertainment Weekly
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 friends. So when her absent mother decides to move away from their small town, Gertie sets out on her greatest mission yet: becoming the best fifth grader in the universe to show her mother exactly what she'll be leaving behind. There's just one problem: Seat-stealing new girl Mary Sue Spivey wants to be the best fifth grader, too. And there is simply not enough room at the top for the two of them.
From debut author Kate Beasley, and with illustrations by Caldecott Honor artist Jillian Tamaki, comes a classic tale of hope and homecoming that will empty your heart, then fill it back up again--one laugh at a time.
About the Author
Kate Beasley holds a Masters in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives with her family in Claxton, Georgia, with two dogs, one parrot, lots of cows, and a cat named Edgar. Gertie's Leap to Greatness is her first novel.
Jillian Tamaki is an illustrator and comics artist. She is the co-creator of Skim and This One Summer, and the author of SuperMutant Magic Academy and Boundless (2017). She has taught comics and illustration in New York City at SVA and The New School. She lives in Toronto.
"This story is for anyone who has ever wanted to be the greatest fifth grader ever. It’s also for anyone who has never wanted to be the greatest fifth grader ever. In short, grab Gertie’s hand and leap right in. It’s better than the best, smoothest, creamiest chocolates. Oh, good Lord, it is." -Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor author of The Underneath
"Oh my lord, Gertie Reece Foy! This is a girl you can’t help but root for. I kept losing my place from laughing so hard while reading this book. And more than once, I had to hide my face in my hands and read through my fingers, or I caught myself sniffling. Gertie on a mission is a spectacle that is simply not to be missed." -Kate Milford, New York Times bestselling author of Edgar Award winning novel Greenglass House
"This story if full of fun surprises: zombie bullfrogs, faithful friends, humor, and hope . . . and a fabulous narrator. Not only is Gertie brave enough to see the world through hopeful eyes, but she's bold enough to be her uniquely wonderful self." -Natalie Lloyd, author of A Snicker of Magic
"From the first paragraph, I was Gertie’s fan. Her gumption, her voice, her determination, and her sass jump off the page. Realistic social situations combine with over-the-top personalities to make Gertie’s Leap to Greatness a surefire hit for kids who loved Ramona and Fudge--and who will one day want to be best friends with Scout. If your mission is to discover a funny, heartwarming, relatable, and entertaining middle grade novel, then jump for joy: Your mission is accomplished. Now dive in and see how Gertie does on hers." -Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company
"Kate Beasley is a writer to watch, as she herself is poised for a leap to greatness with her debut novel." -Mary Brown, Books, Bytes & Beyond
"Look out, world, here comes Gertie Reece Foy! Kate Beasley’s debut novel captures Gertie's story withplenty of wit and understanding." -Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop
"[Kate Beasley] writes in the spirit of Roald Dahl and Kate DiCamillo with all the spunk and ferocity of a Southern lady, and Gertie’s Leap to Greatness is equal parts Matilda and Because of Winn-Dixie. Heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny." -Clara Martin, Lemuria Books
"Gertie is a dynamic, fun, and well-delineated character, like Ramona and Clementine. Be prepared for Gertie to leap into your heart and mind in 2016." -John Schumacher, Ambassador of School Libraries
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