Kelsey Green loves to read more than anything else - especially math class! So, she's thrilled when the principal announces a reading competition. She is sure she's going to be the best reader in the third grade and her class will win! But things don't work out as she expects when Simon turns out to be a faster reader than she is, Cody won't read at all, and her best friends are more interested in other things. When Kelsey decides Simon must be cheating and takes her friends to spy on him, things get even worse. Is she really the best reader in her class - and does she want to be the best if it means being mean to her friends?
Every note in this is just perfect, from Kelsey's competitive streak that makes her lose sight of what she really loves about reading to the number of kids in the school (yay for a book that finally shows a realistic class size!) and Cody's reluctance to join in the competition. Kids will instantly recognize themselves or a friend and maybe think twice about helping out a classmate in difficulties or asking for help themselves. I'm looking forward to the sequels which will feature Kelsey's best friends, Annika the math whiz and Izzy, who loves to run.
Verdict: This is a funny, sweet story that will click with both parents and kids, not to mention teachers (who may enjoy the gentle jabs at the principal!). A definite must for your library.
ISBN: 9780374374853; Published June 2013 by Margaret Ferguson Books/Farrar Straus Giroux; ARC provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter 2013; Purchased for the library