by Kate Beasley
Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers
October 4, 2016
Gertie Reece Foy is 100% Not-from-Concentrate AWESOME. Which is why she’s dumbfounded by her mother’s plan to move away from their coastal Alabama town, leaving Gertie with her father and Great-Aunt Rae. Most kids would be upset about this. But Gertie is absolutely not upset, because she has a plan. More than a plan. She has a mission. Gertie is going to become the greatest fifth grader in the universe! All she needs to do is: write the best summer speech (after she finds Zombie Frog), become the smartest student in her class (if her best friend, Jean the Jean-ius, doesn’t mind), and win the lead part in the play (so long as a Swiss-chocolate meltdown doesn’t mess things up). There’s just one problem: The seat-stealing new girl, Mary Sue Spivey, wants to be the best fifth grader, too. And there’s 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.
“Spunky girl protagonists in middle-grade novels are often described as “irrepressible,” but the word finds its true home in Gertie. . . . In this winning middle-grade debut, Gertie vows to be the best fifth-grader ever to prove to the mom who abandoned her that she is special.” —Shelf Awareness
“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] 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
“Heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny, Gertie’s epic journey through fifth grade is full of Twinkies, bullfrogs, and harebrained schemes. Greatness, Gertie discovers, is not taken in leaps and bounds, but in smalls steps of the heart.”–TwentybyJenny.com
“Tamaki’s black and white illustrations focus on the humorous side of Gertie’s drama queen antics, while Beasley balances the humor of classroom situation comedy with raw realism about how much change smarts for kids entering their double digits.” –BCCB