Gertie's Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley // I Needed This When I Was a Kid!

Thursday, 8 September 2016
Gertie's Leap to Greatness, by Kate Beasley
Publication: October 4, 2016, by Farrar, Straus and Giroux BFYR
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: BEA/Publisher

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.

My Thoughts:

Gertie's Leap to Greatness was first introduced to me before I attended BEA this year, and I just adored the old-looking Winnie the Pooh-like cover that easily seems like my kind of read. My sister read it prior to me, adored it, and handed it straight over, saying that I would really enjoy it. The final outcome? I sure did enjoy it! Kate Beasley is a remarkable author, and for a debut, this was pure awesomeness. It seems as if she has done this a million times with so much experience. I loved reading about Gertie's struggles to greatness and how she was such an ambitious little girl who would do whatever it takes to achieve her dreams and more, and impress the people around her. This wasn't a book about a girl who carried so much envy that she needed to leap to be even better than the other person. This was about searching for greatness, but Gertie has her own uniqueness where she was able to do whatever it takes to just be her, and achieve better grades and so on.

I read this many weeks ago, but my memory is still clear about all of the greatness of this story. We immediately meet Gertie, who is living in Montgomery, Alabama, with her great-aunt and her father, who is occasionally home when he comes back from working at the oil rigs. Gertie is really fond of her father, who works so hard to support Gertie and her aunt. On Gertie's first day of fifth grade, she immediately meets the new girl, Mary Sue, who is the daughter of a Hollywood director (or something like that). She came from California, and thinks that she knows EVERYTHING. Also, she steals Gertie's seat immediately and Gertie tries to make sure that she could redeem herself, especially for her teacher.

This book is just touching. There are so many issues covered here that many middle-grade authors fail to cover because nobody wants to imagine a poor ten/eleven year old kid dealing with those kinds of things. The only thing that I was upset with was how the story with Gertie's mom was handled. I was extremely upset. Back to the "nobody wants to imagine a kid going through that" thing. I felt extremely confused with how Gertie and her mother's relationship was handled. Gertie's mother left when she was young, and she lived in the same neighbourhood. SAME NEIGHBOURHOOD WITH HER NEW FAMILY. Gertie was so heartbroken and I felt so bad for her. 

I adored this because it was so easy to read. Everything about it practically was so amazing that I could just jump for joy. It reminded me so much of myself of when I was a fifth grader, being an overachiever, ambitious and a perfectionist. Gertie was adorable, relatable and I just wanted her to achieve everything, and have the best in life. When this story really began, I was unable to put it down and I slowly felt all of Gertie's life/friends pouring into me. You will get to know her so quickly—including her obsession with Twinkies and her family's quirks. There is seriously no better way to fall in love with a character than to adore their family.

Gertie's Leap to Greatness inspires me, a sixteen-year-old, to go leap for greatness and try to do my best, including school-wise and beyond. I adored Gertie, her family, and her HUGE personality. I just want to fall in love with Beasley's writing all over again, and hopefully, that'll be real soon!

*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*

What is a middle-grade book with so many heartfelt moments in it? What do you think of this cover?

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