Absolutely Almost

18225037Author: Lisa Graff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: recipe-for-awesomesauce, more-please, realistic-fiction

From the author of the National Book Award 
nominee A Tangle of Knots comes an 
inspiring novel about figuring out who you 
are and doing what you love.

 Albie has never been the smartest kid in 
his class. He has never been the tallest. 
Or the best at gym. Or the greatest artist. 
Or the most musical. In fact, Albie has a 
long list of the things he's not very good 
at. But then Albie gets a new babysitter, 
Calista, who helps him figure out all of the 
things he is good at and how he can take 
pride in himself.

 A perfect companion to Lisa Graff's National 
Book Award-nominated A Tangle of Knots, this 
novel explores a similar theme in a realistic 
contemporary world where kids will easily be 
able to relate their own struggles to Albie's. 
Great for fans of Rebecca Stead's Liar and Spy, 
RJ Palacio's Wonder and Cynthia Lord's Rules.

You want to know how much I liked this book? I liked it thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much.

“Some people aren’t good at anything. Some people just really like donuts.”

Lisa Graff always writes the best books ever. And they almost always fall into my lap just when I need them the most. She is my re-bound author but also so much more because the more you read her book, the better you like it, even if the wonder of first-time read her stories have isn’t there. There’s the wonder of revising an old, gold friend.

This was my first time reading Absolutely Almost, but I’m most certain it’ll not be the last.

I like MG books as much as the next reader, maybe a bit more, but there are few authors I rrrrreally trust to make me believe in my characters without going the way of dark and depressing, at the end of whose destiny shine bright therapies I’m never getting to (I mean The Riverman anyone? REALLY MR STARMER???) Besides, Lisa Graff I can only think of Rebecca Stead (never an improper moment to mention that I love When You Reach Me more than you love your gallbladder).

But Absolutely Almost. Albie is not smart or particularly funny. His mum and dad aren’t bad, but they’re just trying to figure out how to be the best mum and dad, and sometimes they fail. He is definitely not good at math. And I like math. His name is Albin, not Albert after Einstein.

He’s sad almost all the time. And I’m not selling this book right.

So basically before I ruin any slight possibility I had of convincing you, know this: this book is absolutely almost perfect, and while that may not be as good as perfect, I bet it’s better than what you’re doing now, which is reading this craptastic review. You really need to do something better with you life, people, and reading my reviews ain’t it.

It’s funny, sad, very very sad, thankfully no one dies, happy sometimes, and great. It is wholesome in a way that no meal or baseball ever could be. And it is the smartest book I’ve read in a long while even if it’s the story of a not-so-smart kid and how life can be hard if you’re a not-so-smart kid. It asks just the right questions.

“What do people do on sad days?”

And it knows the right sort of things.

“Everyone deserves a sad day once in a while,” Calista told me. “Sometimes things are too big for cheering up. Sometimes the best way to make things better is just to let yourself be sad for a little bit.”

Nice people didn’t make other people yell-whisper instead of pee.

I love Lisa Graff creates these characters, little or grown-up, so starkly and clearly without bothering the reader too much build-up and no one is too nice or bad, even the best persons fall for stupid idiots they don’t deserve to deal with, and it’s never too little or too much. It’s so much like real life but not overtly in a way that reality seems fake. It’s the perfect balance of everything without trying or being obvious. I love love love love it.

I’m not even going to cry about where these books were when I was ten; I’m just glad they are here when I need them.

And Betsy said “trick or treat” twice with no stuttering. I heard her.

Absolutely Almost is full of these little things that make me smile a half-smile people do in books and movies; it makes me feel all kind of gooey and yay for a good day in a long while! inside.

Darissa taught us a new handball game called Butt’s Up, which none of us were very good at, but we liked playing because it had the word butt in it.

I know you’re probably very busy or maybe sad (who isn’t?)(if you aren’t so much yes) but lemme just extend a tiny hint to you: give this book a go.

Even smart people probably like to get a hint every once in a while.

Now, I won’t keep you any longer or I’ll fill up the entire tiny book in this review and then ruin your reading experience so bye! here I go back to probably-crappy books and you should think about this one. Later gators!

(Maybe I’ll read When You Reach Me again. You should do that, too.)



4 thoughts on “Absolutely Almost

  1. SOLD. I have been on a MG streak recently and it’s basically all I’ve found myself wanting to read so I am definitely adding this to my list and I will hopefully get a chance to read this soon.

    I just find myself drawn to the realness of the book. To the neither perfect or imperfect characters. TO THE NORMALNESS. It sounds so pleasant and real and just a fantastic MG to cuddle with. Plus I get the feeling I am going to want to hug the MC a LOT! 😛

    Wonderful review, Stuti!!


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