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Jordan Johnston is average. Not short, not tall. Not plump, not slim. Not blond, not brunette. Not gifted, not flunking out. Even her shoe size is average. She’s ordinary for her school, for her town, for even the whole wide world, it seems.
But everyone else? They’re remarkable. She sees evidence everywhere—on TV, in magazines, and even in her classroom. Tremendously talented. Stunningly beautiful. Wildly gifted. And some of them are practically her age!
Jordan feels doomed to a life of wallowing in the vast, soggy middle. So she makes a goal: By the end of the year, she will discover her great talent. By the end of the year, she will no longer be average. She will find a way to become extraordinary, and everyone will know about it!
Well known for his expert ability to relate to kids in a school setting, bestselling author Andrew Clements presents a compelling story of the greatest achievement possible—personal acceptance.
Read an Excerpt
It was a sunny spring morning, but there was murder in the air. Jordan Johnston was killing Pomp and Circumstance. Actually, the whole elementary school orchestra was involved. It was a musical massacre.
But Jordan’s violin was especially deadly. It screeched like a frightened owl. Mr. Graisha glared at her, snapping his baton up and down, side to side, fighting to keep all twenty-three students playing in unison. It was a losing battle. He glanced up at the clock and then waved both arms as if he needed to stop a freight train.
“All right, all... see more
Hear an Excerpt
Reading Group Guide
By Andrew Clements
About the Book
Jordan Johnston wishes she were extraordinarily popular, pretty, athletic, musical, intelligent . . . something! She dreams about escaping her average existence but what she can’t figure out is exactly how. Then nature intervenes and Jordan discovers something way above average about herself that may have been there all along.
1. From the start of the novel, it is clear that Jordan is frustrated by her lack of special talents. Reread the first ten pages of the novel and then list at least four things at which Jordan appears to have skill. Can you think of a word or phrase to describe the types of aptitudes Jordan possesses? What kind of “above average” abilities does she want?
2. What does Marlea Harkins do that upsets Jordan? What options does Jordan consider to retaliate against Marlea? Do you agree with her thought process? What advice would you give to Jordan at the end of Chapter Four?
3. At the end of Chapter Six, Jordan observes that: “Numbers were so clean and simple. No words, no feelings, no mind tricks. Numbers were like a hiding place, a quiet corner of the world.” Do you feel this way about numbers or can you understand what Jordan means? Is there another school subject or activity that brings you comfort? Explain your answer.