After reading (and loving) Kate Messner’s Marty Mcguire books (great early readers!) I decided I had to try some of her middle years fiction. The brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. does not disappoint.
Kate Messner puts the perfect voice to paper for all of her main characters. The brilliant fall of Gianna G. follows Gianna through a turbulent month of the fall school year. Gianna is an amazing runner, gifted artist, and completely unorganized when it comes to getting her school work finished.
Life gets even more complicated when her grandmother starts having forgetful episodes that lead to tremendous family drama, her arch nemesis goes after her spot on the cross country team and goes to any length (including sabotage) to get it. Plus her leaf project for social studies starts to become a monkey on her back.
I loved how Gianna handled things, when times got tough, instead of blaming others, or the genuine stress around her, she sucked it up and tried to make lemonade out of lemons. There were several scenes when I was hoping for that key moment when the main character in a complete panic loses herself and says something she regrets, but I admired Gianna even more when she was able to take a deep breath, and be the better person. It was refreshing to read!
This book would make a great novel study for grade 5/6 and even includes a reading group guide at the back.