Monday, March 30, 2015
by Kate Messner
Flap Copy Description:
What if your pencil had all the answers? Would you ace every test? Would you know what your teachers were thinking? When Ava Anderson finds a scratched up pencil she doodles like she would with any other pencil. But when she writes a question in the margin of her math quiz, she hears a clear answer in a voice no one else seems to hear.
With the help of her friend Sophie, Ava figures out that the pencil will answer factual questions only – those with definite right or wrong answers – but won’t predict the future. Ava and Sophie discover all kinds of uses for the pencil, and Ava's confidence grows with each answer. But it's getting shorter with every sharpening, and when the pencil reveals a scary truth about Ava's family, she realizes that sometimes the bravest people are the ones who live without all the answers...
All the Answers is the first book I've read by Kate Messner, but it won't be the last. This well-written middle grade novel includes great character development, a ton of tension, and loads of laughs, but it is the story's ability to inspire readers to overcome fear, that is its calling card. The young protagonist Ava, is like so many of us - at any age - who hope to avoid the inevitable bumps and bruises of life; what she learns is life isn't about knowing all the answers before you make a move. Watching Ava slowly transform from a timid worry wart to a confident young woman is powerful. The all-knowing cryptic pencil adds a magical element to this entertaining and intriguing story.
I highly recommend All the Answers to readers aged eight to twelve.
Click here to learn more about the author, Kate Messner.