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Anything But Ordinary    by Valerie Hobbs order for
Anything But Ordinary
by Valerie Hobbs
Order:  USA  Can
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Bernie Federman moves to Pittstown when he is thirteen. New to the school, he is a back-row kid wedged between the gangsters and the makeup girls. He meets Winifred, who is a front row girl with a pop-up arm - no matter what the question. Winifred is smart and about as popular as cafeteria meatloaf.

After starting numerous school clubs and having no one join them, Winifred starts the Green Hat Club. Teased and beaten down, Winifred stops raising her hand but refuses to give up her olive green hat with a bright red pom-pom on top. Bernie sympathizes, finds the ugliest green hat he can and joins her club.

Opposites in almost every way imaginable, they fall in love. Through middle school and high school they make plans for their future together when they'll go away to college and get out of Pittstown.

The year of their graduation Bernie faces a tragedy that throws him off course and Winifred goes to college alone. Taken up by her savvy roommates who remake her, Winifred becomes Wini and for the first time in her life begins to fit in. Realizing he has lost her, Bernie travels across country to find her.

Winifred and Bernie's unusual love story is touching, funny, and heartbreaking. Will Bernie reach his potential and will Winifred trade his love for being normal?

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