Saturday, September 10, 2016

Blog Tour: Hundred Percent by Karen Romano Young

Today, I’m thrilled to have Karen Romano Young here to discuss the 10 things that may or may not have happened in her newest book Hundred Percent.  

Hundred Percent
Author: Karen Romano Young
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 256
Published:  August 9th,  2016

The last year of elementary school is big for every kid. In this utterly honest, equal parts funny and crushing, novel perfect for boys and girls alike, Christine Gouda faces change at every turn, starting with her own nickname—Tink—which just doesn’t fit anymore. Readers will relate to this strong female protagonist whose voice rings with profound authenticity and absolute novelty, and her year’s cringingly painful trials in normalcy—uncomfortable Halloween costumes, premature sleepover parties, crushed crushes, and changing friendships. Throughout all this, Tink learns, what you call yourself, and how you do it, has a lot to do with who you are. 

Excerpt from Hundred Percent: 

 In late August, Tink got a new name. Her best friend Jackie renamed her. This was after Tink realized that none of her school clothes fit and her mother took her on a hellish shopping trip involving two sizes up, three bras-for-the-very-first-time, and four arguments about style that had both Mom and Tink in tears. On the way home, Tink convinced her mother to drop her at Jackie's with all six shopping bags, so they could have a fashion show.  
    Jackie had already been shopping-not because she had grown, but because she had insisted, and her mother said yes because Jackie was an only child.  That was what Tink's mother said.  She couldn't do as much when she had three girls between grades three and six to outfit, plus a first grade boy, all growing like weeds.  Tink was just grateful that her mother had found two hours to take her shopping alone, without the whole circus.  You could thank the bras for that.  

10 Things That Really Did Happen to Me in Sixth Grade
 (But May or May Not Have Happened in Hundred Percent) 

1. We had a bus driver who told us his name was Roman Gabriel (actually the name of an NFL football player, he was on the Rams) and who drove the school bus down the hill at 50 mph, not braking around the 75º turn. My friend Barbara told her mother, who got him fired.

2. I had to go to dancing school with boys who were mostly shorter than me, and one time when two of the shortest boys had to sit with two of the tallest (Stacy and me) they tipped their chairs over backward out some French doors and ran away.

3. I got hit in the face with a snowball by some boys who were pegging kids as they came out of school for recess. My glasses were broken and I had to walk around blind for a week until they were fixed.

4. A boy I had a crush on bought me a little lion ornament for no occasion whatsoever, but it was snowing out.

5. I grew 5 1/2 inches in 9 months and had fainting spells because I was growing so quickly.
I got in trouble for trying to ride a pony because I was too tall.

6. I was allowed to go to a movie that had two people in a bed who seemed to be naked. It was a very big deal and involved a lot of phone calls among mothers making sure they were all on the same page. (I didn’t understand why anyone would be naked in bed.)

7. I slept on $500 sheets. It sure as heck wasn’t at home.

8. I went out for Halloween as a soldier while my best friend Barbara went as a pregnant lady, and we failed to put two and two together.

9. My teacher Mr. Bergman let us bring in music in return for listening to his: Mott the Hoople, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Rolling Stones.

10. We did a lip synch performance to Honky Tonk Women, read Brave New World and To Kill a Mockingbird, and went out of school boundaries to hang out at a pond.

Here’s a picture of me reflecting something I wish had happened: I wish I HAD rescued a lobster in sixth grade!

My Thoughts: 

Romano Young really taps into that middle-grade voice in our main character, Tink.   Tink's dialogue really jumps around in just a few sentences, she is talking about everything from her love of Peter Pan, to kids barking like dogs to wanting to know if she's pretty or cute.  There is a focus on boys, wanting to be seen as cute, liked, thinking you are overweight which did take me back to listening to kids this age talking and in some cases to my own middle school feelings. I liked how Young expressed that feeling of having a circle of friends and then one of your friends is suddenly more popular leaving you feeling like you're looking in on the circle instead of being a part of it.  Or sometimes seeing the popular kids in their own circle and wishing you could belong.  Overall, my favorite moments were when Tink began to get comfortable in her "own skin" and stopped worrying about what others might think about her and looked at what was outside the circle. There is some content (a boy commenting to Tink that she would look good naked and some swearing) to be aware of, but overall it's a story about trying to find your place while navigating middle school.   

 Praise for Hundred Percent:

“A lovely, lovely tale full of warmth, humor, and intelligence.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Romano’s characters jump off the page in a thoughtful and realistic look at what it means to be on the precipice of adolescence.”—Publishers Weekly

“A brilliant and irresistible book about the sharp pains and joys of real life. Karen Romano Young is a writer like no other.—Rebecca Stead, Newbery Award–winning author of When You Reach Me

“Karen Romano Young must be twelve. There’s no other way she can possibly know what she knows about sixth grade in all its weirdness and glory.”—Annie Barrows, New York Times bestselling author of the Ivy & Bean series

“Karen Romano Young has an unerring feel for the shifting alliances and uncomfortable intrigues of sixth graders.” —Ellen Wittlinger, Printz Honor–winning author of Hard Love

Blog Tour Stops for Hundred Percent: 
9/7/2016 Jumpintoabooks
9/8/2016 Melissa Walker 
9/11/2016 Readerkidz
About the Author:

Karen Romano Young has written nearly two dozen books for children, and has illustrated several, including the groundbreaking graphic novel, Doodleb and its sequel, Stuck in the Middle (of Middle School). She lives in Connecticut. 

Discussion Guide also available at Chronicle Books


  1. I will be adding this one to my list. Karen recently came to a local bookstore and I wasn't able to make it. I hope to make another one. :) I loved reading her list of things that happened to her in 6th grade. Wishing her all the best!

    1. Karen't list is pretty fun. Can't imagine $500 sheets and lip synching would have made me to nervous. Thanks for stopping by.