This novel centers around seven students about to start their fifth grade year at Snow Hill Elementary School in a small Vermont town. There’s Luke (who loves school), Jeffrey (who hates it), Lexie (a bully), Danielle (who is generally bullied), Anna (mostly ignored), Jessica (the new girl) and Peter (the troublemaker). They’re assigned to a first-year teacher, Mr. Terupt. And Mr. Terupt turns out to be one of those teachers you never forget.
This is a sweet story with unexpected serious moments. (Everything changes for the kids one winter day and the fact that it’s mostly unexpected makes it even worse for them.)
It’s hard to do multiple viewpoints well and this book—with its seven narrators—does it incredibly well. It’s easy to tell which person is speaking (their inner voices are incredibly well-defined), although many of the chapters are short enough that it would be very easy to flip back to make sure. Another problem is that generally I tend to care more about some characters than others, but that wasn’t a problem in this case, either. I liked all seven and while obviously I enjoyed some more than others (Jessica the reader resonated with me more than, say, Lexie the bully), there wasn’t any point where I wanted to get away from whomever was currently narrating the action.
This is just a fun story and while there are some obligatory life lessons, they aren’t preachy at all.
There’s a sequel and I’m excited to read that, as well.