Review: Honestly Elliott by Gillian McDunn

Honestly Elliot by Gillian McDunn

Honestly Elliott
Gillian McDunn
Bloomsbury Children’s USA
Published March 1, 2022

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About Honestly Elliott

Elliott has been struggling since his closest friend moved away, and he’s not too sure where he fits into his own family, especially since his newly remarried dad and stepmom are expecting a baby. His grades aren’t too great, he’s always forgetting things, and he doesn’t really like sports. All together, the result is someone the complete opposite of his dad–a fact they’re both very aware of. Elliott’s only solace is cooking, where he can control the outcome, testing exciting recipes and watching his favorite cooking shows.

When he’s paired with the super smart and popular Maribel for a school-wide project, Elliott worries they won’t see eye to eye. But Maribel is also looking for a new way to show others her true self and this project could be the chance they’ve both been waiting for. Sometimes the least likely friends help you see a new side to things . . . and sometimes you have to make a few mistakes before you figure out what’s right.

My Review

I’ve been a huge fan of Gillian McDunn’s books right from the first page of her debut, CATERPILLAR SUMMER, and that hasn’t changed a bit with HONESTLY ELLIOTT.

This book is a little different than her others. It focuses a lot more on the family dynamics in Elliott’s life, specifically his navigating divorce and a blended family. I loved that the story explored some of Elliott’s feelings about having a new half-brother as an older kid. When my family went through that change, it was really hard for me to find resources out there that looked at both a blended family situation and becoming a sibling for the first time as an older child.

I felt like HONESTLY ELLIOTT delved into a lot of big topics, but in a gentle way. Elliott learns a lot about himself in his role as a friend and in his role in his family. I also thought the way his views about cooking versus baking get challenged and the way that his project for school helped him connect to his community and community history.

All in all, I’m so glad I read HONESTLY ELLIOT. It’s so important to have great books out there that center on complex issues of adjusting to sibling-hood and blended families, and I’m really excited to be able to recommend this one.

Content Notes for Honestly Elliott

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Elliott has ADHD. Maribel has celiac disease. Elliott’s best friend Malcolm has two moms.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content

Violent Content

Drug Content

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of HONESTLY ELLIOTT in exchange for my honest review.

About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

2 thoughts on “Review: Honestly Elliott by Gillian McDunn

  1. Oh, this sounds great for kids. Especially the family dynamics as it can be so difficult for kids to navigate.

    1. I think so, too, Wendy. I’m so glad there are books like this one out there in our world. 🙂

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