Random House Kids
Rating: 3.5 stars
Meet Kate. Kate is a fifth-grader, a middle child, a girl who keeps a diary. In this whimsical coming-of-age story, Kate in Kate the Great Except When She’s Not (Random House, 2014) confronts the normal concerns of fitting in, friending the right kids, and doing the right thing.
Kate is thrown for a loop when her parents ask her to be particularly kind to Nora, a girl she’s labeled as her “frenemy,” because Nora’s father is on an extended business trip and whose mother works a lot. But when an obligatory project ends up in an actual, authentic, albeit fragile friendship, Kate is forced to rethink her own assumptions about Nora and her own values. Kate reminds the reader that admitting you’re wrong about a person or yourself takes courage and humility.
This is a fine book to give to a child in your life. It’s not one that you’ll keep on your shelf for generations because the themes and writing are so universal and phenomenal you can’t bear to part with it. It’s one your child will read in a long, lazy afternoon, chuckle at, appreciate, and then pass along to the next reading pal in their circle.
And that’s not a bad thing at all.