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In this highly anticipated second novel by the author of the award-winning, bestselling The Thing About Jellyfish, being the new kid at school isn't easy, especially when you have to follow in the footsteps of a classroom prankster like Paulie Fink.

When Caitlyn Breen enters the tiny Mitchell School in rural Mitchell, Vermont, she is a complete outsider: the seventh grade has just ten other kids, and they've known each other since kindergarten. Her classmates are in for a shock of their own: Paulie Fink--the class clown, oddball, troublemaker, and evil genius--is gone this year.

As stories of Paulie's hijinks unfold, his legend builds, until they realize there's only one way to fill the Paulie-sized hole in their class. They'll find their next great Paulie Fink through a reality-show style competition, to be judged by the only objective person around: Caitlyn, who never even met Paulie Fink. Who was this kid, anyway--prankster, performance artist, philosopher, or fool? Caitlyn's quest to understand Paulie is about to teach her more about herself than she ever imagined.

Told via multiple voices, interviews, and other documents, The Next Great Paulie Fink is a lighthearted yet surprisingly touching exploration of how we build up and tear down our own myths...about others, our communities, and ourselves.

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published on April 16, 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0316380881
ISBN-13: 9780316380881
16 Book Reviews
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  • swirlycool
    swirlycoolTuesday, June 2, 2020 at 2:03 pm55 stars
    Caitlyn Breen is new to Mitchell School in rural Vermont, and she is constantly hearing about the legendary Paulie Fink. Paulie Fink was legendary, a class clown, troublemaker, and evil genius, Ten kids who have been together since forever are shocked that Paulie Fink is gone. This leaves them with the decision to have a competition deciding who will be the next Paulie Fink. This book was funny, and very interesting. I recommend it to people who also enjoy other books written by this author. I definitely recommend this book. I rate this 5/5.
    • applemango
      applemangoSunday, May 17, 2020 at 10:38 pm55 stars
      Caitlyn Breen comes from the midst of New York's bustling town, to the rustic country Vermont and of course to her new middle school Mitchell. As soon as she steps into the classroom people are chanting some weird name "Paulie, Paulie, Paulie" Who in the world is Paulie? In Mitchell there are all kinds of "weird" kids, as so Caitlyn thinks. diego, Fiona, Yumi, Gabby, Henry, Timothy, Thomas, Lydia, Willow, Sam. All with distinct characters. Gabby first makes friends with Caitlyn. Caitlyn isn't nice, in fact her heart is equivalent to a rock. Or as Caitlyn says. The search for Paulie is on. Caitlyn ends up as being the judge of the whole event. To decide who will become the next Paulie Fink. With all kind of challenges and Jadelicious playing a roll, it is so on.
      • 13iamgroot
        13iamgrootMonday, September 23, 2019 at 11:45 am44 stars
        Ali Benjamin has written a hilarious book about a very unique 7th grade classroom in the middle of nowhere. Caitlyn, the new kid, is confused about her new school, because everyone seems weird. She cannot seem to sort people into groups, like at her old middle school. She keeps hearing about this kid named Paulie Fink, who, according to the ten other kids in her class, a.k.a. the entire 7th grade, was legendary. He made their school even weirder than it already is, and the school has goats! This Paulie kid must have been a real troublemaker. The class decides to hold a competition to see who will be "The Next Great Paulie Fink," and Caitlyn is stuck being the judge/host. The book is told through Caitlyn's perspective and her interviews with fellow students. Caitlyn learns that this new school isn't all that bad, and that maybe the friends at her old school weren't the nicest people and they were influencing her for the worse. The class goes up and down in their views of Paulie Fink, first an idol, then a spoiled rich kid, in their annual soccer game against Devlinshire. The kids at the Mitchell School learn who they really want to be in this amazing book that has a wonderful message with humor filling in the gaps. I loved this book and I think that you will too.
        • applemango
          applemangoMonday, July 8, 2019 at 2:13 pm55 stars
          This was an amazing book. Paulie Fink was some sort of a legend. Everyone in Caitlyn's class new him and considered him as a hero. He was an evil genius as teachers and people would say. Caitlyn has moved from New York to a small town where Mitchell School was standing. They have goats for science class and many "weird" things as Caitlyn considers. She has a hard stone in her heart. That's what she thinks. Because she was the one that was a bully, atleast to Anna Spang a classmate that she and her "friends" make fun of. To make the next great Paulie Fink, Caitlyn ends up being the judge of the next great Paulie Fink. They hold contests as each get's eliminated. However, there's a school on risk. Mitchel School is on the verge of shutting down because they don't have enough money. There's a big wow factor coming up! Turns out that Paulie Fink is one of those spoiled kids.........and the next great Paulie Fink is a...goat?
          • It was okMonday, April 22, 2019 at 9:44 am
            I liked it but.... it not my type of book, if it had more,uhhhh.......i cant really explain it but if it had more fun talk and more expression i think i would like it better i give it a two {] [} i agree RX100 Face(0w0)
            • tbvebh.erFriday, April 19, 2019 at 10:27 pm
              love this book
              • RX100Friday, April 19, 2019 at 10:15 pm
                no offence to the author but I didn't really enjoy it, it's just not my type of book I like.
                • domosaur
                  domosaurThursday, April 18, 2019 at 8:19 am55 starsFeatured
                  Caitlyn Breen is the new seventh grader at Mitchell School, with ten other kids. As always, she is an outsider, since the others have known each other since they first started school. But the seventh grade isn't truly complete, since this year, Paulie Fink isn't there. Paulie Fink is the type of student that teachers detest, the class troublemaker. But why is he gone? As the year goes on, his story starts to unfold, and the need to fill his space in the class grows. Soon, Caitlyn finds herself as the judge of the competition to become the next Paulie Fink. As competition grows, Caitlyn starts to discover who this "Paulie Fink" really was, and discovers new things about herself. Who will become the next Paulie Fink? What will this competition do to relationships between friends? To find out, read The Next Great Paulie Fink. I recommend this to anyone who loves a funny read. My favorite part was how the characters evolved through the book.
                  • mdawg14
                    mdawg14Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at 8:02 am55 stars
                    This book is very cool I enjoyed it
                    • callie_b
                      callie_bMonday, April 8, 2019 at 5:14 pm55 starsFeatured
                      OK... WOW. This book surpassed all my expectations and more! Caitlyn is the new girl in town at the Mitchell School in Mitchell, Vermont, aka THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. Seriously! The 7th grade literally only has 10 kids! Well, 11 now, with Caitlyn. And it seems like there used to be 11 kids in the year before too, a kid named Paulie Fink being the eleventh. Everyone expected Caitlyn to be Paulie when she walked in the door, but Paulie never showed up. Paulie was indefinitely missing to the 7th grade class of Mitchell, nicknamed the Originals after being the first class to start off the brand new school in kindergarten. As Caitlyn asks who Paulie is, she is overwhelmed with stories about his tricks and pranks and overall, how great of a person he was and how great he made going to school be. Caitlyn never really gets a grasp of the real Paulie Fink, she only gets snippets through the stories. But what she does know is that this kid was a legend amongst the Originals, and life really seems to be duller without him. But then Caitlyn comes up with an idea to try to get in with the Originals and become a popular 'silver dollar,' as she puts it. Caitlyn wants to have a contest to decide a NEW Paulie Fink to take his place as class clown and make school less boring again! The rest of the students vote Caitlyn as judge, and she puts them through intense rounds of elimination to find a new Great Paulie Fink! I flew through this incredible book and the ending kept me hanging on! Totally different then what I expected, honestly. And it was GREAT. I LOVE LOVE LOVED this book! I've read "The Thing About Jellyfish" by this same author, Ali Benjamin, and this was a great second novel to top it off. This book was filled with laughs, adventure, and realistic situations of middle school, and no joke, my eyes filled with tears as the book came to a close. I didn't want it to end! I recommend this book to any middle schooler, or really anyone who goes to school, or anyone who doesn't! Everyone should read this book! 5/5 stars and I recommend it for ages 8+. A really a great novel, I can't say that enough, and I can't wait to see more novels from Ali Benjamin in the future!