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Albie is starting to realize that he’s different. Okay, so maybe he’s known for awhile – he can’t answer questions as quickly as his classmates, his teachers get frustrated with him so easily, and he mysteriously had to leave his fancy private school with no explanation from his parents. But now, he really can’t ignore it anymore. At his new school, the kids call him “retard”. He studies and practices as much as he can, but his grades never seem to improve. And no matter how much his beloved babysitter, Calista, tries to convince him that he is good enough, Albie knows the truth – everything about him is just almost. If you have ever loved a child that is different, and had to watch them come to realize it, Absolutely Almost will hit a soft spot in your heart. There is, of course, nothing wrong with Albie – he is kind, honest, and works hard – but his learning difficulties affect much more than just his schoolwork. Albie reminded me a bit of August from RJ Pallacio’s Wonder. He wants to know why he is different, why others can’t accept it, and wants so badly to just blend in and be like everybody else. For me, Absolutely Almost was an “almost” book. The characters were almost there, the writing almost drew me in, it was almost great. But I enjoyed the book more upon reflection after finishing than I did while reading. Many of my middle grade readers have enjoyed getting to know Albie and happily devoured his story. #stabsummerreading
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