The book focuses on four sixth-grade members of an Academic Bowl team, Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian, and their paraplegic teacher, Mrs. Olinski. The narrative alternates between the children's first-person perspective (of past events) and that of Mrs. Olinski (in the present day, at the state finals). Utilizing a format similar to Q & A (the book that formed the basis of Slumdog Millionaire), in which questions at the competition lead to stories about each child's experiences, Konigsburg crafts a humorous and heartfelt tale. As the narrative threads circle around and twine with each other, we get a better and better picture of the group and how they became "The Souls," the adults with whom they interact, and the small New York town, Epiphany, that they call home. Unlike many of the books I've read recently, almost all of the characters are sympathetic (aside from some delightfully skewered school officials), even the ones who aren't as endearing when we first meet them. A delightful treat.