Absolutely Almost

Absolutely Almost

Paperback - 2015
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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 .

Praise for Lisa Graff's novels

Tangle of Knots (nominated for a National Book Award)
* "Combining the literary sensibility of E. B. White with the insouciance of Louis Sachar, Graff has written a tangle that should satisfy readers for years to come."-- Booklist , starred review

Double Dog Dare
"Graff's...story is lighthearted and humorous, but honestly addresses the emotions associated with divorce. Her characters' voices, interactions, and hangups are relatable, as they battle each other and adjust to their families' reconfigurations."-- Publishers Weekly
Publisher: New York : Puffin, 2015
ISBN: 9780147508577


From Library Staff

Albie struggles with never being the best at anything, but things finally start to look up when his parents hire Calista, a college art student, to be his babysitter.

From the critics

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Jul 04, 2018

The book, Absolutely Almost, resolves a big problem that we have in our lives. It makes us believe that we don't have to be perfect. We don't have to be good at anything. In this book, a boy is faced with the same problem of being imperfect, when a college student helps him out. This book was uniquely written with short and long chapters, a reasonable plot, and a magnet to keep the reader attached to it. Even though the end was tragic, the author didn't lose all hope in the book. She showed that it isn't 'someone' who develops self-confidence. Rather it is you yourself who does it. I would rate this book 5/5.
- @WordGirl of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Jun 10, 2018

My teacher in my class read this book... Everyone hated it! We voted it down and changed the book!

Jun 08, 2017

pretty good

May 23, 2015

wow this was a really touching and charming book. You really felt for Albie and his struggles with school and trying to live up to his parents goals for him. it is also a bit on the sad side because Albie feels so disappointed and let down so much. however in is a great read .

JCLChrisK Apr 16, 2015

"But he's a superhero," Calista said. "That means he has to have a superpower.

"Nope," I said, because I was pretty sure she was wrong. "Some people aren't good at anything. Some people just really like donuts."

Some people aren't good at anything. It's an uncomfortable truth; one we don't like to accept. One we have trouble accepting. Yet it's Albie's reality; one he has to face every day. Great for him is almost good for everyone else. Nothing comes easy and he's never good enough.

Never good enough to please his parents or fit in with his peers, in particular. Just as they can't accept the general idea that some people aren't good at anything, they can't accept the particular idea of Albie as he is. Good stories make you feel, and, oh, does this book make you cringe with embarrassment and anger and indignation with some of its scenes of clueless parenting moments, awkward social missteps and ostracizings, and educational failings.

Yet it also makes you feel empathy and pride and amusement with Albie's more successful moments. He is sensitive and observant and has a few people who really get him, along with those who keep trying despite their failings. This is not a tragedy--there's nothing particularly wrong with Albie, he's just not exceptional in any way and struggles in areas where the standard expectations have become excellence. ("This is for babies," says his mom of his favorite books; "I expect you to get a perfect score on your next spelling test, Albie," says his dad. "It's not up for debate, Albie. Any son of mine should be able to spell. Do better.") And, despite it all, Albie earns the admiration of those who matter; most importantly, himself.

Though presented simply, in a approachable, engaging form with a very real voice, this is not a simple story. There is good and bad, are mistakes and triumphs throughout, sometimes in the same moment. Both situations and feelings are complex, conflicted, and confusing. It feels like life, real and true.

Chapel_Hill_TishaW Dec 14, 2014

If you liked Wonder by R. J. Palacio, you will also enjoy this bittersweet middle grades story about a 10-year-old half-Caucasian, half-Korean boy named Albie living in New York City. Albie's parents are wealthy and successful but Albie is an underachiever at school both academically and socially. Albie gets a leg up in accepting himself and embracing life creatively through his new babysitter Calista. The tense relationship between Albie and his dad as well as the bullying he endures is painful to read but also realistic. Albie's ability to overcome "the things I don't know" is a message of hope to kids struggling to prove themselves worthy of love everywhere.

I loved "Absolutely Almost". Both funny and poignant, this character driven story akin to the book "Wonder" by R.J. Palacio will have you rooting for Albie all the way. Suggested for grades 4-6.

m2 Jul 18, 2014

Beautifully written with (somehow) both restraint and pathos, this book about a child struggling with poor performance at school is achingly painful to read. The scenes of children bullying are realistic, but the really painful parts are the terrible disconnect between Albie and his parents. And yet. Albie also learns over the course of a book what a true friend is and how to become one. And he is deeply appreciated throughout the book by those who can leave the need for achievement out of their equation of love. We all could learn something from Albie's story.


Jun 28, 2014

This book will simply touch your heart!


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Jun 08, 2017

orange_eagle_377 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 12


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Carrie_K Apr 21, 2015

"You can't get where you're going without being where you've been". - Mr. Clifton


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