It all began with the idea of writing a story about a school assignment. It blossomed into the remarkable novel Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde, an extraordinary tale that, like its young protagonist, just might change the world. When social studies teacher Reuben St. Clair writes on the blackboard, Think of an idea for world change, and put it into action, 12-year-old Trevor McKinney takes the assignment seriously and comes up with the concept of Paying Forward. His plan is fairly simple: He'll do something really good for three people who, instead of paying him back, will be asked to pay it forward by aiding three more. Hard as he tries, Trevor's initial attempts seem to fail. Time after time, the recipients of his good deeds let him down. But just when Trevor thinks his entire project has been for naught, things take a turn for the better and his efforts slowly snowball into a national phenomenon. Pay It Forward is Hyde's second novel and, 20 years in the making, it is truly a labor of love. Telling the story of Trevor's remarkable project from the alternating perspectives of Trevor's diary and the people who are touched by the young boy's vision, Hyde grabs the reader's attention and never lets go until the novel's passionate surprise ending.
Big things are expected of this book (there was already a movie deal in the works before its release), and with good reason. Pay It Forward is a delightfully uplifting, moving, and inspiring modern fable that has the power to change the world as we know it which would be a wonderful phenomenon indeed.
Sharon Galligar Chance is the senior book reviewer for the Times Record News in Wichita Falls, Texas.