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The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. by Greg Pincus

Standalone. Scholastic (September 2013) NetGalley
Failing math but great at writing, Gregory finds the poetry (and humor) in what's hard.
Gregory K is the middle child in a family of mathematical geniuses. But if he claimed to love math? Well, he'd be fibbing. What he really wants most is to go to Author Camp. But to get his parents' permission he's going to have to pass his math class, which has a probability of 0. THAT much he can understand! To make matters worse, he's been playing fast and loose with the truth: "I LOVE math" he tells his parents. "I've entered a citywide math contest!" he tells his teacher. "We're going to author camp!" he tells his best friend, Kelly. And now, somehow, he's going to have to make good on his promises.
Hilariously it's the "Fibonacci Sequence" -- a famous mathematical formula! -- that comes to the rescue, inspiring Gregory to create a whole new form of poem: the Fib! Maybe Fibs will save the day, and help Gregory find his way back to the truth.

For every kid who equates math with torture but wants his own way to shine, here's a novel that is way more than the sum of its parts.


I clearly did not realize what I was getting into when I started reading The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. I forgot what it was about and dived into it without any knowledge on what it was about whatsoever. At first I could feel this inner moan forming because what was this book about? Math! But, I soon realized it was more than a book about math. It was a book about friendship, fitting into your family when you aren't passionate about the same things, and finding a way to enjoy a subject you dislike in your own way. 

This book made me think about the reverse situation of loving math and hating English. I'm not a math person; I'm an English class person. I moaned and I shuffled my feet whenever I had to get to math class. English gets me excited because it's so easy! Read and then answer some questions. Everything isn't just one answer. You can have an opinion in the class. I thought about how Greg felt the same way. His family are lovers of math and logic while he loves poetry and making up stories with his best friend Kelly. His family doesn't even know he loves to write. They assume he loves math even if he's failing his current math class. I thought about how math or logic based people feel when they walk into an English class. Is it torture for them as well? I have a mix of reading and math lovers in my family. I don't understand some of my family members excitement for math when I sometimes just sit and stare blankly at problems I just don't understand. I liked being able to see the other side of my family's interests with Greg's family. 

Greg just couldn't stop getting himself stuck into deeper messes. He keeps on acting like he loves math and he lies so he doesn't hurt people's feelings. I just couldn't believe how many times he dug himself in his lies! He had his friend Kelly mentally kicking him in the calf the whole way through the book. Kelly is like his partner in crime. They are both writers and they are constantly sharing their works with each other. They meet up at Kelly's mother's restaurant, The Slice, where they are always greeted with a slice of warm delicious pie. All those different pie descriptions made me hungry. I want that peach cobbler... 

Greg and Kelly both really want to go to Author's Camp but Greg won't be able to go if he doesn't pass math with a B and to make matters worse Greg announces that he entered City Math - a math contest his father and his brother have entered and won. He said he entered the contest so his family would back off the whole passing math with a B but it didn't quite work out that way. He's helped into learning to like math through is teacher Mr. Davis and he slowly figures out a way out of the messes he keeps putting himself into by doing math his own way. I liked that Greg had a teacher who actually cared and saw that his mind didn't work in a logical sense but in a creative sense. It's nice to think that there are teachers out there who care enough to encourage their students and help them learn in an individualized basis.

To recap I enjoyed the difference of passions with the family and seeing a family actually interact with each other in this book. I also liked the food, friendship, and inspiring teacher. Most of all Greg's personality and his way of thinking shined in this book for me. There were a couple of heartwarming moments he shared with the people he loved and I loved that he accepted that he was a writer and that was okay even if his family didn't understand. Greg could easily be any middle schooler who's struggling with identity or school. His story was engaging and sweet. It made me think about our differences as well as our similarities between family and other people in the world. It was a really great MG book that I can see many kids relating to and discovering things about themselves because of Gregory K.



Comments

  1. I really want to read this. I was rejected for the ARC since I requested it after the publishing date, although it was still on NetGalley.

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    1. Oh that sucks. It's really sweet.. You would like it (:

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  2. I love the cover for this book! I actually really like maths, and always have done, but if I'd learnt this was about maths too before going in, I probably wouldn't have picked it up. I guess I don't want it in my fiction. :P But I like the thought of this author camp. I'm glad you found this engaging overall and liked Greg's personality. You've made me curious about him. :)

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    1. I don't think many people will pick it up if they find it's about math. They'll have to look it over before. It's really very good once you give it a chance.

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  3. I'm an English person too. This sounds super cute. I like that he eventually learns to accept himself for who he is and plays to his strengths.

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    1. I think most of us are English class people. We are book people and proud of it!

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  4. I think I need a copy.

    Merry Christmas! :-)

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    1. Great! I hope you had a good Christmas (:

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  5. This sounds like a great MG book! It is one I haven't heard of, but of course I added it to my list. I am sure there are many students in my class that would enjoy this one (based on your review). Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I'm sure many of your students could relate to what Greg went through.

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  6. I used to love math so I could try this one. :) It sounds like a really great read and this sounds like a really cute read. Great review :)

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    1. Used to? I enjoyed math when I was younger myself but started hating it in middle school which is too bad. It provides an overwhelming amount of stress in my life to this day :P

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