Title: Gertie’s Leap to Greatness
Author: Kate Beasley
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: Gertie Reece Foy is 100% Not-From-Concentrate awesome. She has a daddy who works on an oil rig, a great-aunt who always finds the lowest prices at the Piggly Wiggly, and two loyal best friends. So when her absent mother decides to move away from their small town, Gertie sets out on her greatest mission yet: becoming the best fifth grader in the universe to show her mother exactly what she’ll be leaving behind. There’s just one problem: Seat-stealing new girl Mary Sue Spivey wants to be the best fifth grader, too. And there is simply not enough room at the top for the two of them.
Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!
I knew I would love Gertie’s Leap to Greatness based on the title alone. It sounds presumptuous, but I have a soft spot for girls with very quirky names who put a lot of gusto into everything they do. It also reminds me how boring my name is.
Kate Beasley’s debut is a delight, and it’s a delight because of how everything is set up from page one. Gertie isn’t like other little girls — she wants to ressurect a frog back from the dead, wants to be the star in the school play, and she was that darn Mary Sue to stop stealing her seat. She is 100% made of awesome, and she’s the kind of girl that you can easily cheer for.
If I am being honest, I saw a lot of my younger self in Gertie. I still have the same can-do attitude towards life (or at least when it comes to the things I love), I was that awkward child who would only be afraid of what people thought after the fact. Gertie’s got so much charm and spirit that she was just such a fun character to follow about. I also LOVED Gertie’s aunt and the role she played in the story as well, especially in regards to Gertie’s relationship with her mother.
I think what I equally loved about this novel is that the voice present in it feels so genuine and realistic. While a zombie frog doesn’t scream realism, I appreciate how full of life Gertie and her family are. While some of the other characters feel a little more one note, there’s still something so compelling about what is happening the story and what surrounds Gertie as a character. It makes for quick read, that’s for sure!
I can totally see this being a hit at my library, and with Jillian Tamaki’s artwork fits the story so perfectly that I was so excited every time an illustration showed up. Gertie’s Leap to Greatness is a passionate delight that will leave you grinning from start to finish. Seriously, Gertie is adorable!