ELFIE UNPERFECT by Kristin Mahoney
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I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review.
Elfie could not be more excited to start private school. If she didn’t make friends at public school by the end of fourth grade, let’s face it: it was never going to happen. At Hampshire Academy, she’ll be able to meet kids like her–kids who are excited about science and getting good grades. Kids who don’t make her look like a perfectionistic weirdo by comparison. And she’ll finally be able to get away from her insufferable cousin, Jenna.
But on the first day of school, a clash with an entitled descendent of generations of the Academy’s alumni leads to Elfie being falsely accused of stealing. Before the day ends, she’s been expelled, pending an Honor Council hearing. Worse, while her family is waiting for the hearing and gathering evidence from the few friends Elfie managed to make in her brief stint at the Academy, Elfie has to enroll in public school. And she’s in Jenna’s class. Again. But as the school year gets underway, some surprising revelations about the people Elfie considered perfect and the ones she considered infuriating make Elfie realize that there is a lot happening in people’s lives that they never give her a chance to see. Is it possible Elfie could find her perfect fit in public school after all?
A sweet middle grade coming-of-age story about seeing and accepting people for who they really are. While the drama of the Honor Council hearing draws a thread of suspense throughout the narrative, it quickly falls into the background while themes of empathy and forgiveness rise to the surface. The story has its funny moments and its touching moments and can definitely skew younger if you need a book for an elementary book club.