Hundred Percent by Karen Romano Young



Hundred Percent
Author: Karen Romano Young
Published August 9th, 2016 by Chronicle Books

Summary: The last year of elementary school is big for every kid. Christine Gouda faces change at every turn, starting with her own nickname—Tink—which just doesn’t fit anymore. Christine navigates a year’s cringingly painful trials in normalcy—uncomfortable Halloween costumes, premature sleepover parties, crushed crushes, and changing friendships. Throughout all this, Tink learns, what you call yourself, and how you do it, has a lot to do with who you are.

This book marks beloved author Karen Romano Young’s masterful return to children’s literature: a heartbreakingly honest account of what it means to be between girl and woman, elementary and middle school, inside and out—and just what you name that in-between self.

“A lovely, lovely tale full of warmth, humor, and intelligence.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Perfectly captures the emotions of middle schoolers and their evolving friendships and familial relationships.”—School Library Journal, starred review

“Romano’s characters jump off the page in a thoughtful and realistic look at what it means to be on the precipice of adolescence.”—Publishers Weekly

“A brilliant and irresistible book about the sharp pains and joys of real life. Karen Romano Young is a writer like no other.—Rebecca Stead, Newbery Award–winning author of When You Reach Me

“Karen Romano Young must be twelve. There’s no other way she can possibly know what she knows about sixth grade in all its weirdness and glory.”—Annie Barrows, New York Times bestselling author of the Ivy & Bean series

“Karen Romano Young has an unerring feel for the shifting alliances and uncomfortable intrigues of sixth graders.” —Ellen Wittlinger, Printz Honor–winning author of Hard Love

Review: The blurbs for Hundred Percent state that the book delves into the true emotions and experiences of a sixth grader, and that it does. It actually is so realistic that it will make adults, myself included, a bit uncomfortable. Thinking back to sixth grade, it was the time where everyone was figuring out their identities: social, emotional, physical, sexual. Hundred Percent captures this. Tink is trying to figure out who her friends are, if it is worth liking boys, how to deal with changes all over the place, and so much more. I do know that there are parts of the book that some adults will be uncomfortable with their students/child reading if they are the same age as Tink. For example, there are derogatory terms used such as slut/slutty and horny skank, a lip syncing scene to “Honky Tonk Women,” and a discussion of what “sleeping together” is. Although this may be a bit uncomfortable, the more I think about the more I have come to realize that these conversations are definitely happening between 6th graders, and we can’t, as the adults in their life, pretend like they are not (though I still don’t know why the teachers let them choose “Honky Tonk Women”). With all this being said, I still think this text is for our most mature sixth graders, but those students need Tink’s story. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: In addition to a classroom library book, the text could be used within the classroom during a creative writing unit. The prose of Hundred Percent is lyrical and beautifully written. Karen Romano Young is able to take the most mundane of thoughts or activities and make them sing on the page. Because of this, some parts of the story could definitely be used as a mentor text for writing.

Flagged Passages: “Tink could have cried, but instead she smiled. She was thinking about the moment when she’d held the dishpan down to the surface of the water and turned it sideways to let the lobster slosh out of it. Its clause had sprung wide open, as if it was looking for something to grab on to. The Sound was so cool and blue and clear. She hung over the water to watch the lobster sinking down into the gloom. Back where it belonged again, back home like Tink. She felt like–like crying, but also laughing, like smiling through a storm, like an ambassador of lobsters. She wondered: Does an ambassador ever forget that the foreign land he’s learned so much about isn’t the place he’s from?” p. 55

Read This If You Loved: Truth or Dare by Barbara DeeStill a Work in Progress by Jo KnowlesThe Secret Hum of Daisy by Tracy Holczer

Recommended For:


Kellee Signature

**Thank you Chronicle Books for providing a copy for review!**

2 thoughts on “Hundred Percent by Karen Romano Young”

  1. I am definitely one who believes I would rather have the conversations with my child than have her learn them from her friends. But, and she is in 6th grade, she is not ready for this book yet. Luckily this isn’t what her friends talk about. I wish the characters had been a bit older. Because the 6th grader who is ready for this book could still read it but it would be accessible for an older audience as well. With the characters being in 6th, you’re less likely to have a 7th or 8th grader pick up this book.


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