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Reviews for The Mighty Quinn

When free-spirited Neally Ray Stand-well arrives in Quinn Andrews-Lee’s fifth-grade class, it’s the start of a friendship that will change Quinn’s life. Quinn is being picked on by a bully named Matt, and his two good friends are slowly being pulled into Matt’s circle. Quinn’s family supports him, but it’s Neally who shows Quinn how to stand up to and deflect Matt’s taunts. A number of the kids’ exchanges center around the conservative teachings of Matt’s minister father versus Neally’s more liberal understanding of God and spirituality. As Quinn spends more time with Neally and her family, he develops a close relationship with Neally’s father, who suggests that Matt may have it tougher than Quinn and Neally think. Although the story suffers from a slow pace and drawn-out conversations, Parnell neatly weaves ideas about social justice and acceptance into her first middle-grade novel. Neally is a shade too confident to be believed, but her lack of conformity and faith in her own beliefs are welcome. The DeYoes’ cartoon spot illustrations bring a cheerful touch to this thought-provoking read. (Publisher's Weekly, 4/15/2013)


THE MIGHTY QUINN is a smart book, and it’s going to appeal to brighter MG readers. (Yeah, I went there.) It’s a clever and funny book about the Borgia-like scheming simmering below the surface of elementary school social life.

It’s about what it’s like to be raised progressively when peers are, well, not.

It’s about what it’s like to be raised in a free-thinking and non-religious home, when peers are, well, not.

It’s about what it’s like to be a clever and funny kid when peers are, well, not.

What’s more, it’s the rare book for smart MG readers and their parents to read together. A smart MG reader is doing most reading without parents. This is, in some ways, a last hurrah for those bedtime reading rituals that parents miss more than kids—although it never seems to feel like that when you’re reading Mike Mulligan for the hundredth time.

Bonus: there’s plenty that will make parents laugh. (Shelley Mactyre,author of The Attorney At Large's Guide to Practicing Law, The Captain's Prize)

"Bullying, competition, hot and cold friendships, male and female peer role models, and comic relief are just a few of the 10 year old issues presented in the fun and fast moving plot pages for this humorous chapter book. Comic black and white illustrations decorate chapter beginnings and endings, and a comic portrait gallery of the cast of characters aids in fast comprehension. Who would believe the healing power of an ability to belch the alphabet? A suspenseful plot and precise sleuthing sells the story and teaches that Turner Creek School rocks and so does The Mighty Quinn!" (Midwest Book Review)


The plot centers on the relationships between fifth-grade students at Turner Creek School in Hillsboro, Oregon. The themes touch on bullying, tolerance, and conservation, but the most engaging element of the novel is its characters.

If you have experienced the fifth grade on any way, i.e. student, parent, grandparent, or teacher, you will recognize all the signs of that age group in the book's characters. Quinn Andrews-Lee, one of the main personalities, is just trying to survive the year amid his own insecurities with himself and his loyal and not-so-loyal friends. Looming over all Quinn's anxieties is Matt Barker, a pastor's son, who is willing to sink to any level to make Quinn's life miserable. When the new student Neally Standwell arrives on the scene, life at Turner Creek School begins to change because Neally is not only smart and a true friend, she is fearless.

Ms. Parnell has included discussion questions at the end of the book which could be used in a class setting but easily adapted to a parent/child discussion. At the beginning of the novel, there is also a graphic depiction of the numerous characters. Young readers of THE MIGHTY QUINN will enjoy the drama, the victories, the humor, and the surprising conclusion. Adults will applaud the themes that are so timely in every American classroom. (Compass Book Ratings)

“An absolutely delightful read and such memorable characters! Tweens will identify with both Quinn and Neally and will still be thinking about them long after they close the book.”
(Sandra McLeod Humphrey, Clinical Psychologist and children’s author).


"A new classmate helps fifth-grader Quinn Andrews-Lee re-evaluate longtime friendships and stand up to a bully. Neally Ray Standwell’s “cosmos green” eyes can see inside people, Quinn thinks. She recognizes that Matt Barker is a bully and a bigot and understands his schoolmates’ fears. When Matt trips her, she stays silent, but later in the term, when Matt claims that Quinn gave him a black eye, she figures out how to prove the truth. For her first middle-grade novel, set in Hillsboro, Ore., Parnell creates interesting child and adult characters and confronts them with serious issues, including child abuse, care for the environment, ethics and even skin color. Matt’s and Neally’s families demonstrate the contrast between values taken from religious beliefs and those coming from a sense of social justice. Quinn’s own parents don’t go to church. They willingly explain their reasoning to their son in one of a series of serious conversations adults have with children here, often humorously interrupted by the realities of family and school life.... it will certainly provide food for thought... (and) it’s one of the few books for the audience that discusses the possibility of not practicing a religion. (Fiction. 9-12)" — Kirkus Reviews


Overview: Fifth graders Quinn and Neally have to find the right way to stop a bully without making themselves bullies too.
My favorite part was the style of writing because they used unusual words like infinity often.
My favorite character was Kelsey King, because of her favorite tone of voice, yelling.
This is a great book for boys and girls who are getting bullied and want a way out of it.
Can't wait for the next book in the series to come out!

(By Daniel, age 11. Mom was excited to hear about this book that tackles such an important issue in a light-hearted way. Bullies are a big issue for kids, and they can use all the help they can get to deal with bullying behavior AND avoid being the bully. Positive role models for kids are always a good thing! I'm excited to see more books from this publisher!)

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