Thursday, August 29, 2013

The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. by Greg Pincus

Eleven-year-old Gregory Korenstein-Jasperton really likes writing - but no one in his immediate family knows it. His dad, his older brother Owen (often simply called O), and his little sister Kay are all really good at math. Really good. And while Greg gets basic math just fine, his head starts to spin when his relatives and teachers start discussing more complex mathematical theorems. He'd rather be hanging out with his best friend Kelly at The Slice, her mom's bakery/coffee shop, eating a piece of warm apple pie while they read each other's stories. Kelly can't wait to go to Author's Camp, and Greg lets her believe that he's going to go, too. He'd love to spend the summer writing, but he knows his parents would rather he attend Math is Magic Camp. ("Dad, I don't want my days to be 'mathemagical.' Please.") His family really does mean well, and so does Greg - they just want different things.

It's time for Greg to bring his math grade up. His friendly math teacher Mr. Davis gives Greg a journal so he can write about math - what he thinks about it, times when he found math it in the real world, how he can and does actually use it more often than he thinks - and improve both his understanding and his grade. Meanwhile, Greg finds himself saying he's going to enter the City Math competition, hoping it will make his parents happy even though he really doesn't want to do it. His dad won the City Math competition the first year it was held, and his brother has won the event multiple times. Greg holds his tongue, not even telling Kelly, or Mr. Davis, or his mom, a woman know for her enthusiasm and her...interesting Wednesday night dinner concoctions, about what he's really going on. As the school year races on and it gets closer and closer to deadlines and event times, Greg grows increasingly worried that he's going to disappoint everyone, especially his dad and his teacher. Along the way, he discovers the Fibonacci sequence, and is surprised to find a way to combine his love of writing with his math project.

The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. is a story about learning to follow your heart. Greg Pincus' debut novel is filled with scribbles, secrets, slices of pie - and π pi! Though Greg deliberately or impulsively doesn't tell the whole truth sometimes, it's important to note that he isn't a compulsive liar. Instead, he's the type of person who will side-step questions and avoid certain subjects and conversations as much as he can for as long as he can. And who doesn't do that when they're uncomfortable, or ashamed, thinking they aren't living up to the expectations of people they care about, people they are trying to impress or comfort? Greg has a good heart, and readers will feel for him from page one. Kids who are passionate about their favorite hobbies or have secret talents of their own will want Greg to talk about the write stuff with his family and friends, and will be satisfied with the ending of his story. (Though they'll probably want Pincus to write a spin-off about Kelly, or maybe a book about Kay. I know I'd read both!)

For more of my thoughts on the book, visit my blog, Bildungsroman.

1 comment :

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Sounds great - what an excellent review Little Willow! Can't wait to get my copy at Greg's launch party tomorrow! Best ,