About Average by Andrew Clements
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Another book that misses by trying to do too much. Jordan, Plain and Average, and her journey toward realizing she's perhaps plain but not completely average, would have been enough. The tornado? Too much.
There are so many children in middle school who think they're average (I was one of them): not particularly smart, not particularly talented, not particularly popular. Jordan is a solid B/C student who works hard, she loves to sing and play her violin but isn't great at them; thinking about it, she's only really good at babysitting and gardening, ok at a bunch of things and really bad at others. The problem, of course, is that others see many more things that she's good at - they're just not things that Jordan thinks about or cares about. And then there's the bully, Marlea.
The bully situation is one of the best passages in the book, with Jordan opining that sometimes the anti-bullying program works (when there's physical intimidation) and sometimes doesn't (when it's more verbal in nature). That's a passage that more teachers and administrators need to read! How Jordan actually handles things is interesting, and had the author played that out more, not bringing the tornado into things, this would have been a solid 5-star book.