The addition of math-contest pressure and the impending subtraction of a best friend equal a stressful sixth-grade year for Gregory Korenstein-Jasperton.
Gregory’s lifelong pretense that he loves math as much as the rest of his family—really, he prefers writing—catches up with him when long division eludes him. Worse, Kelly, his best friend and writing buddy, is moving at the end of the year. Of course, they can see each other at Author’s Camp in the summer, if Gregory does well in school. Extra credit for entering the City Math contest might improve his math grade. It would certainly please his father, the first contest winner. This family and friendship story is the author’s first novel. Each chapter begins with a poem in a form that will be familiar to readers of his poetry. These “fibs” have six lines with their syllable count based on the Fibonacci sequence: 1,1,2,3,5,8,13. They chronicle Gregory’s state of mind and contribute to the final, satisfactory solution. Dialogue and humor carry the third-person narrative along swiftly, and the characters are appealing. It is unusual to meet a family in middle-grade fiction that enjoys playing math games at the table, and it’s refreshing to be reminded of the importance of honesty with family and friends.
By any reckoning, a successful debut. (Fiction. 8-12)