Sally’s Rating: 2/5
In The View from Saturday, four sixth graders compete in the Academic Bowl. Yet, when Mrs. Olinski is asked how she chose her team, she has trouble answering the question. Through flashbacks to the time leading up to the event, it’s revealed how the four students with different backgrounds came together to form the team that is currently competing.
Throughout the novel, each character tells about the time in their life that led up to them being picked for the Academic Bowl Team. Except for Ethan’s story, most of the stories were rather boring. I got tired of Noah really quickly as he tries to think of ideas for wedding gifts when he becomes the best man at last minute. Likewise, Nadia’s story dragged a bit at the beginning, filled with family and conservation issues. Julian’s flashback was fine, but this is mainly due to the previous chapter that covered how Ethan became friends with him and how they started hanging out together.
Additionally, there is no central conflict in the novel. The problem is that it’s an introspective novel that focuses on bland characters and boring storylines. The competition itself is not the point of the novel; it’s the characters’ growth and interaction, which can be problematic if the reader doesn’t care for the characters.
E. L. Konigsburg’s The View from Saturday comes off as trying to hard and fails to create an engaging storyline; the writing style reflects a cute and quirky vibe that doesn’t quite mesh with the narrative being told. If looking to read one of her books, stick with From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – which has similar characteristics, but feels a bit more cohesive and entertaining.