Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pay It Forward: Young Reader's Edition by Catherine Ryan Hyde

I read this book last month, and I'm finally getting around to writing my thoughts on it. ;) internationally bestselling book that inspired the Pay It Forward movement is now available in a middle grade edition.

Pay It Forward is a moving, uplifting novel about Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy in a small California town who accepts his teacher’s challenge to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world.

Trevor’s idea is simple: do a good deed for three people, and instead of asking them to return the favor, ask them to “pay it forward” to three others who need help. He envisions a vast movement of kindness and goodwill spreading across the world, and in this “quiet, steady masterpiece with an incandescent ending” (Kirkus Reviews), Trevor’s actions change his community forever.

My Thoughts: The act of paying it forward is a noble thing to do. I love it when people do selfless acts for others, even it was something very small. A coworker of mine recommended I read this book insisting that it was really good. I was highly looking forward to it, even if it were a young adult's edition of the original. However, I found myself having mixed feelings after reading it. 

The book started off very strong. I was captivated with the boy, Trevor, and how he envisioned his idea on "Paying it Forward." His ideas on how he was going to make his project work were very admirable. I even chuckled when his mother came home to find a homeless man in their home. The feeling of hope and the strong sense of wanting to help others was prominent in the first half of the book. I was eager to read how Trevor's ideas were going to spread.

However, halfway through the book everything changed. It felt like the main purpose of the book got lost. It no longer focused on Trevor's project in changing the world. Instead, it began to follow his mother and her issues with men. It bothered me tremendously because I thought it was an inappropriate topic for a young reader's edition. I could have cared less about the mother. Yes, it was cute that the mother and Trevor's teacher were falling in love but it had nothing to do with "Paying it Forward." To make things more irritating, it seemed that the author remembered her purpose in writing this book in the last few chapters. It was rushed and had an unsatisfactory ending, which was different from the original. 
After many, many days of pondering on what I thought about this book, all I can say is that this was okay. I loved the first half but disliked the second half. I wish the theme of paying it forward was expanded more and that it had a different ending. I rate it: