Skip to main content

All the Answers

All the Answers
Kate Messner
Bloomsbury USA, 2015
Source: Library
Audience: Younger Teens, Children

From Goodreads:
What if your pencil had all the answers? Would you ace every test? Would you know what your teachers were thinking? When Ava Anderson finds a scratched up pencil she doodles like she would with any other pencil. But when she writes a question in the margin of her math quiz, she hears a clear answer in a voice no one else seems to hear.

With the help of her friend Sophie, Ava figures out that the pencil will answer factual questions only – those with definite right or wrong answers – but won’t predict the future. Ava and Sophie discover all kinds of uses for the pencil, and Ava's confidence grows with each answer. But it's getting shorter with every sharpening, and when the pencil reveals a scary truth about Ava's family, she realizes that sometimes the bravest people are the ones who live without all the answers...

I thought the idea of having all the answers, or at least the ability to have all of the factual answers, was terrific. However, I thought that the idea of getting those answers from a pencil was a bit... lame. It’s not flashy and it’s definitely not realistic. But if it’s not realistic, could it at least be flashy? I liked the theme of gaining confidence, too. Overall, it had good intentions and promise, but to me, it fell flat - especially the explanation for HOW the pencil had the answers.