The School Story

by Andrew Clements

Other authorsBrian Selznick (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2002



Local notes

PB Cle




Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2002), Edition: Reprint, 196 pages


After twelve-year-old Natalie writes a wonderful novel, her friend Zoe helps her devise a scheme to get it accepted at the publishing house where Natalie's mother works as an editor.


Nebraska Golden Sower Award (Nominee — 2004)
Texas Bluebonnet Award (Nominee — 2003)
Sequoyah Book Award (Nominee — Children's — 2004)
Utah Beehive Book Award (Nominee — Children's Fiction — 2003)
William Allen White Children's Book Award (Nominee — Grades 3-5 — 2003-2004)
Nutmeg Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2005)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2003)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

196 p.; 5.13 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member anneofia
I've been an Andrew Clements fan ever since I read Things Unseen, and this earlier book did not disappoint. I loved the publishing industry background, and the great way the main characters came to life, complete with photo id no less. Selznick did a wonderful job with the illustrations, and I
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especially loved the way the last picture was such a satisfying conclusion to an already good story.
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LibraryThing member mandyk90210
Okay, I admit, this is a children's book. But I just loved it anyway. I liked the idea that a kid could write a book and get it published, without the publisher knowing who she was! Maybe I'll go behind my parents' backs and finally get my book published too. Although, at 17, it's a little late for
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LibraryThing member DarlenesBookNook
I read this book aloud to my daughters.

The book was outstanding!! We all loved it! Zoe and Natalie were loveable characters, and the plan they concocted to get Natalie's manuscript published was very entertaining. The book was brilliantly written, extremely enjoyable, and very empowering for
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I loved the warm, genuine friendship between Zoe and Natalie: Two friends who would do anything for each other and stick by one another.

We haven't yet read anything else by Clements, but we will definitely look into his other novels!
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LibraryThing member matthewbloome
This one tugged at my heart, when it finally came together. I loved this story, felt very attached to the characters and was truly intrigued by the story as a whole.
LibraryThing member Kelsey_Barrell
I enjoyed reading this chapter book for a few reasons. First, the author includes pictures throughout the book to provide context to the text. For example, the two main characters are having a phone call with each other. The author illustrated the two girls so the readers could have a better
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understanding of their conversation. Second, the author used a lot of text features to make the book more interesting. For example, when the main character in the story is writing her book, the author indents the text and uses a different font to make it stand out. I think the overall message of this book is If you believe in yourself, then you can accomplish anything.
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LibraryThing member SueinCyprus
This is a wonderful children's novel, recommended to me by a friend. Twelve-year-old Natalie has written a short novel, and her best friend Zoe is convinced it should be published. Natalie's mother is an editor working in a publishing house, but Natalie doesn't want her to be biased... so the girls
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enlist the help of their English teacher, invent pseudonyms for themselves, and work out how to get the book into Natalie's mother's hands.

The characterisation is excellent, contrasting the quiet Natalie who lacks confidence and the outgoing, sometimes pushy Zoe; it's this contrast which moves the story along, making it difficult to put down, even though some of the ideas the girls have seem rather far-fetched when I think about it now. It's educational in a low-key kind of way, covering as it does the processes required to get a book published, including the legal contracts and publicity. There are are one or two less likeable, caricatured people - Natalie's mother's boss springs to mind - and while it isn't a humorous novel, there's a light-hearted feel to it which made me smile in places.

It's more than just the story of Natalie's novel; there are themes to be explored, such as office rivalry, and coming to terms with the loss of a parent, as well as the importance of standing up for one's dreams. Intended for approximate ages 8-12, this would probably appeal to some teenagers too... and parents! Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member ywoo
Abandon, because I didn't know what is happening in the story even though I back up and re-read.
LibraryThing member MollyGroff
I really liked this book, and think it's encouraging, especially to young (and all) writers who want to become published someday, like me!
LibraryThing member SandyAMcPherson
Two 12-year old girls launch a plot to publish a book which Natalie has written; her best friend, Zoe, poses as the literary 'agent' to shelter Natalie's identity. Great fun ensues with amusing machinations to maintain the charade. As well, the story was a heartfelt rendering of Natalie and her
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mother, widowed too young and the daughter missing the Dad.

It was also an encouraging story of writing novels and blessedly featuring a decent school teacher who mentors them through the editing and business end of the process. It was delightful to read a middle-grade story in a supportive, educational setting. Overall in his oeuvre, author Clements does an excellent job in articulating the trials and tribulations of middle-grade students. A great comfort read for the Tween set.
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½ (203 ratings; 3.8)
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