Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 8395
The Most Important Thing
Overall rating
Writing Style
Inspired by real life artist James Hampton's life and work, it hard to believe that Shelley Pearsall book is fiction. She builds a world and creates characters that give readers an opportunity to reflect on their own attitudes and actions as they interact with those characters others may be viewed as different or eccentric.

What works best is the character development of Arthur as he goes on his own personal journey of discovery. I love the emotions from this book! Pearsall really has a knack for getting readers to invest emotionally in her characters. Arthur is in the true sense of the word a teen boy that has been through a lot of difficult events and had many difficult choices to make. He is flawed, but what person isn’t. Even though he makes a few bad choices, Pearsall makes the read emotionally invested in his future. She uses these emotions to help keep the plot moving and developing while dropping in some valuable lessons for the reader.

There isn’t much world building and the setting has a basic description. In many ways this works. It is historical fiction, and using background knowledge some readers will be able to get a picture of the setting without it. However, it also makes the story seem timeless. Yes, this is takes place in the past, but the events that take place in The Seventh Most Important Thing, could possibly happen today. People, including young adults, make poor choices and have to live with the consequences. A person’s actions affect those around them. It is the choices one makes after that that can matter the most. Setting doesn’t affect the events, the people do.

This book is not just about how people change, but how people’s perceptions can change over time. This is a perfect book for a middle school reader. However, it is a book that anyone can enjoy.

What makes this book stand out is the fact that this story is based on James Hampton, the creator of the actual masterpiece, "The Throne of The Third Heaven" which is on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.
Good Points
Historical Setting
Museum connection
Realistic and likable characters
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