Download FREE Discussion Guide

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
12 Book Reviews
Add a Rating
  • 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!
              • readingkendal
                readingkendalSunday, March 31, 2019 at 7:52 am55 stars
                I really enjoyed reading Ali Benjamin's newest novel "The Next Great Paulie Fink"! When Caitlyn a new 7th Grader shows up at the Mitchell School instead of everyone's pranking hero, Paulie Fink, the quest to find "The Next Great Paulie Fink" begins. Everyone picks Caitlyn to judge the competition, she reluctantly agrees that way she can her mind off her old friends. Between hilarious competitions, soccer games, party trouble and crowning The Next Great Paulie Fink, what could go wrong? Nothing could until The Mitchell School becomes at risk of being closed do to not enough money. Will the school be saved? Or will it be shut down? Find out in The Next Great Paulie Fink!
                • jeffdaboss
                  jeffdabossWednesday, March 27, 2019 at 10:52 am55 starsFeatured
                  The Next Great Paulie Fink is a surprisingly great book. It's about Caitlyn, a 7th grader who is being forced to move to a new school in Mitchell, Vermont. She desperately misses her old friends and worries about adapting to her new school. However, her new school is weird, crazy, and definitely unusual. Her entire grade comprises of 10 odd kids, ranging from the girl who always wears pantsuits to the twin boys who play a crazy pretend game. All of them are shocked that Paulie Fink, the hilarious class clown, is no longer in their school. Caitlyn can't stand her school, but as she learns about Paulie Fink's wild pranks and her classmates, she begins to open up and enjoy it. It doesn't end there, though, because her classmates want to find their new Paulie Fink, and they pick Caitlyn as their judge. Through the crazy adventures, the engaging ending, and the amazing writing, this book deserves all five stars. The front cover itself shows how crazy and interesting the book is!
                  • llpanda
                    llpandaMonday, March 25, 2019 at 6:10 am55 starsFeatured
                    How do you become a legend? That's the question that Caitlyn Breen must answer when she moves to rural Mitchell, Vermont and finds out that her class (of 10 ) isn't happy about her replacing their most beloved peer, Paulie Fink. Paulie was something different to everybody-awesome, class clown, evil genius- but everybody agrees that Caitlyn definitely is not a good replacement. So they decide to hold a reality-show kind of competition to replace Paulie. As the judge, because she's never met him, Caitlyn struggles to learn who Paulie was but ends up learning more about herself. I really like this book, and recommend it to everyone. Thanks to the Advanced Reading Club and DOGO for giving me the awesome opportunity to read it.
                    • mybooksandi
                      mybooksandiThursday, March 21, 2019 at 6:15 pm44 stars
                      It was actually, kinda impressive. At first, I didn't really think this book is something I would like to read, I just didn't think it would appeal to my taste. But no, it was like, really good. The Next Great Paulie Fink is all about the horrors, ups, downs, and how to overcome that evil middle school version of yourself. It follows the life of Caitlyn Breen ,a girl in seventh grade that has to move to a new middle school in the middle of nowhere. She has to overcome the obstacle that is finding yourself. At the same time, she hears stories about a kid names Paulie Fink who, apparently, impacted the school and kids greatly. This book is different. It really shows the real side of middle school and how it was (truly) not the greatest. Hard. It was straight up hard, and this book shows that but with metaphors. I received an ARC from DogoBooks.