Books Worth Reading

Books Worth Reading: Extra Credit

Second post of Books Worth Reading is here! I’ll be reviewing Extra Credit by Andrew Clements.

Who knew a simple letter could turn a few people’s worlds upside-down?

Some info: Extra Credit is written by Andrew Clements. It was published on 23rd June 2009 and has 183 pages. 

Theme(s): Friendship & cultural and traditional divide.

Synopsis: Abby Carson is going to be held back in Grade 6 if she doesn’t get a B or higher and her quizzes and tests for the rest of the year (four and a half months). So, she has to do an extra-credit project to help her to go to Grade 7. Extra credit project: writing a letter to someone in another country. Sounds simple enough, right? But then, in the country of her pen-pal, things aren’t as simple. 

Review: Abby Carson has to do an extra-credit project to pass Grade 6 and go on to Grade 7 and ends up doing a pen-pal project with someone on the other side of the world as her assignment. Easy, yeah? She chooses the country of Afghanistan. The teacher, Mahamood Jafari, which Abby’s teacher is in contact with selects Sadeed Bayat, the best student in the village of Panjshir. But according to the tradition of the people of Panjshir, a girl talking to a boy is considered improper. So, Sadeed’s sister, Amira dictates the letter in Dari, the local language, and Sadeed translates it to English. But then, Sadeed and Abby’s friendship does not make some people happy. Suddenly, after a shocking incident that happens with Sadeed, stuff doesn’t remain easy anymore. 

One thing I loved about the book (though I’m sure it was intentional as hell) is that Sadeed and Abby were absolute opposites. He was a boy, she was a girl. He was from a conservative culture, she was from an open-minded one. He was an elder sibling, she was the younger one (this may sound a bit stupid to some people, but I like it). He was an excellent student and she wasn’t. There are so many differences between them, but what I adored about Clements’ main characters were that they somehow seemed to understand bits of each other. Not everything, but just some parts. I also liked how Andrew Clements made Abby and Sadeed seem so… real. The story made me keep guessing about what was going to happen next. My favourite parts of Extra Credit were the letters exchanged between Illinois and Panjshir. 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommendation: Suitable for children of ages 9 and above. 

More by Andrew Clements: 

  • The Report Card
  • Lunch Money
  • Frindle
  • Lost and Found
  • Troublemaker

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