Big Mouth & Ugly Girl [NOOK Book]

Overview

Big Mouth

No I did not. I did not, I did not. I did not say those things, and I did not plan those things. Won't It anyone believe me?

Ugly Girl

All right, Ugly Girl made a mistake. I'd told my mom what I'd heard in the cafeteria, and she'd told Dad. Evidently. I'd thought for sure they would want me to speak up for the truth.

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Big Mouth & Ugly Girl

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Overview

Big Mouth

No I did not. I did not, I did not. I did not say those things, and I did not plan those things. Won't It anyone believe me?

Ugly Girl

All right, Ugly Girl made a mistake. I'd told my mom what I'd heard in the cafeteria, and she'd told Dad. Evidently. I'd thought for sure they would want me to speak up for the truth.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“A superb story bursting with themes relevant to high school life today.”
ALA Booklist (starred review)
“A thought-provoking, character-driven drama.”
Washington Post
“Gripping.”
Denver Rocky Mountain News
“Should bring Oates a whole new generation of fans.”
Ruminator Review
“A divinely readable novel, one of the finest and most provocative in any genre of late.”
San Francisco Chronicle
Middle and high school kids will find a lot rings true in “Big Mouth and Ugly Girl.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061756221
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 324,943
  • Age range: 13 years
  • File size: 715 KB

Meet the Author

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award; and the New York Times bestseller The Accursed. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Rosamond Smith
    2. Hometown:
      Princeton, New Jersey
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 16, 1938
    2. Place of Birth:
      Lockport, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

It was an ordinary January afternoon, a Thursday, when they came for Matt Donaghy.

They came for him during fifth period, which was Matt's study period, in room 220 of Rocky River High School, Westchester County.

Matt and three friends -- Russ, Stacey, Skeet -- had formed a circle with their desks at the rear of the room and were conferring, in lowered voices, about Matt's adaptation of a short story by Edgar Allan Poe into a one-act play; after school, in Drama Club, the four of them were scheduled to read William Wilson: A Case of Mistaken Identity for the club members and their advisor, Mr. Weinberg. It was a coincidence that Mr. Weinberg, who taught English and drama at Rocky River High, was in charge of fifth-period study hall, and when a knock came at the door of the room, Mr. Weinberg went to open it in his good-natured, sauntering manner.

“Yes, gentlemen? What can I do for you?”

Only a few students, sitting near the front of the room, took much notice. They might have registered a note of surprise in Mr. Weinberg's tone. But Mr. Weinberg, with his graying sandy hair worn longer than most of his male colleagues' at Rocky River, and a bristling beard that invited teasing, had a flair for dramatizing ordinary remarks, giving a light touch where he could. Calling strangers “gentlemen” was exactly in keeping with Mr. Weinberg's humor.

At the rear of the room, Matt and his friends were absorbed in the play, for which Matt was doing hurried revisions, typing away furiously on his laptop. Anxiously he'd asked his friends, “But does this work? Is it scary, is it funny, does it move?” Matt Donaghy hadsomething of a reputation at Rocky River for being both brainy and a comic character, but secretly he was a perfectionist, too. He'd been working on his one-act play William Wilson: A Case of Mistaken Identity longer than his friends knew, and he had hopes it would be selected to be performed at the school's Spring Arts Festival.

Typing in revisions, Matt hadn't been paying any attention to Mr. Weinberg at the front of the room talking with two men. Until he heard his name spoken -- “Matthew Donaghy?”

Matt looked up. What was this? He saw Mr. Weinberg pointing in his direction, looking worried. Matt swallowed hard, beginning to be frightened. What did these men, strangers, want with him? They wore dark suits, white shirts, plain neckties; and they were definitely not smiling. As Matt stared, they approached him, moving not together but along two separate aisles, as if to block off his route if he tried to escape. Afterward Matt would realize how swift and purposeful -- and practiced -- they were. If I'd made a break to get my backpack...If I'd reached into my pocket...

The taller of the two men, who wore dark-rimmed glasses with green-tinted lenses, said, “You're Matthew Donaghy?”

Matt was so surprised, he heard himself stammer, “Y-Yes. I'm -- Matt.”

The classroom had gone deathly silent. Everyone was staring at Matt and the two strangers. It was like a moment on TV, but there were no cameras. The men in their dark suits exuded an authority that made rumpled, familiar Mr. Weinberg in his corduroy jacket and slacks look ineffectual.

“Is something w-wrong? What do you want with -- me?”

Matt's mind flooded: Something had happened at home to his mother, or his brother, Alex...his father was away on business; had something happened to him? A plane crash...

The men were standing on either side of his desk, looming over him. Unnaturally close for strangers. The man with the glasses and a small fixed smile introduced himself and his companion to Matt as detectives with the Rocky River Police Department and asked Matt to step outside into the corridor. “We'll only need a few minutes.”

In his confusion Matt looked to Mr. Weinberg for permission -- as if the high school teacher's authority could exceed the authority of the police.

Mr. Weinberg nodded brusquely, excusing Matt. He too appeared confused, unnerved.

Matt untangled his legs from beneath his desk. He was a tall, lanky, whippet-lean boy who blushed easily. With so many eyes on him, he felt that his skin was burning, breaking into a fierce flamelike acne. He heard himself stammer, “Should I -- take my things?” He meant his black canvas backpack, which he'd dropped onto the floor beside his desk, the numerous messy pages of his play script, and his laptop computer.

Meaning too -- Will I be coming back?

The detectives didn't trouble to answer Matt, and didn't wait for him to pick up the backpack; one of them took charge of it, and the other carried Matt's laptop. Matt didn't follow them from the room; they walked close beside him, not touching him but definitely giving the impression of escorting him out of study hall. Matt moved like a person in a dream. He caught a glimpse of his friends' shocked faces, especially Stacey's. Stacey Flynn. She was a popular girl, very pretty, but a serious student; the nearest Matt Donaghy had to a girlfriend, though mostly they were “just friends,” linked by an interest in Drama Club. Matt felt a stab of shame that Stacey should be witnessing this. . . . Afterward he would recall how matter-of-fact and practiced the detectives obviously were, removing the object of their investigation from a public place.

What a long distance it seemed, walking from the rear of the classroom to the front, and to the door, as everyone stared. There was a roaring in Matt's ears. Maybe his house had caught on fire? No, a plane crash...Where was Dad, in Atlanta? Dallas? When was he coming home? Today, tomorrow? But was it likely that police would come to school to inform a student of such private news...

Big Mouth & Ugly Girl (AER). Copyright © by Joyce Oates. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 56 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(27)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(5)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 18, 2010

    Good Book!

    In the book Big Mouth Ugly Girl by Joyce Carol Oates, the two main characters are Ursula Riggs and Matt Donaghy. Ursula calls herself "Ugly Girl", and doesn't care what anybody thinks of her. People have to look twice just to confirm that she's a girl, and she doesn't have many friends. Matt Donaghy is a top student with a lot of friends, and is known for being funny which gets him the title "Big Mouth". He's overheard saying something at lunch with his friends that gets misheard for what he really said. Someone reported his comment, and Matt was soon arrested for giving the school a bomb threat. None of his friends spoke up for him, but Ursula heard what Matt really said and decided to tell the truth. Matt's name was cleared, but he came back to school as a loner and a completely different person. He and Ursula became friends, and slowly started to change each other's lives. Because of this, the theme of the book would be "finding out who you really are can be an incredible journey", because both characters get to know themselves better as they get to know each other.
    I liked the plot of the book in general, especially the ending. The book had an appropriate length too. My only complaint was that I think it moved a little too quickly in the beginning, so there wasn't a lot happening in the middle. It's a relatable book for anyone though. Everybody's felt alone or different at one point or another during their lives and this book addresses those feelings through the characters. I would recommend this book for patient readers that are willing to wait for answers, and more exciting parts towards the end. Overall, I think it was a pretty good book, and think that just about anyone would enjoy it.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2012

    Anonyomos

    I thought this book was awesome!!!!!!!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    It was good

    I like it and i dont like reading a lot not my think but i got in to this one but i would not read it again

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2011

    big mouth ugly girl

    big mouth ugly girl is a amaizimg book you should read it

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2007

    The Big Mouth Ugly Girl

    Teh book Big Mouth and Ugly Girl was a very amazing book. This book involves a sport that most people favor such as basketball.This book is about two different girls big mouth and ugly girl. Ursula Riggs is ugly girl. She loves hurting peoples feelings and is decribed as a very ugly girl. She also has brown hair. Brooke is the big mouth. she has blonde hair and is descibed as pretty and also loves to hur peoples feelings. She is known as big mouth Brooke. Together there known as big mouth and ugly girl. I like this book because it really shows kids that when you do things wrong there are consequences. This is not the best book i have ever writen but it gets #2.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2007

    A reviewer

    I had to read Big mouth and Ugly Girl for my english class. I didn't find it very interesting. When I started reading Big Mouth and Ugly Girl it was very hard to get into the book. It was based on a two main characters who were bullied at school everyday. There was no way around there fellow students. They had to go to school and face them everyday.I couldn't hardly bring myself to pick up the book at nights to read it. As I got further into the chapters it got a little better, if any. I all around found the book kind of boring, and it didn't interest me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2006

    Big Mouth and Ugly Girl

    It was a pretty good book but, it needed more action like kind of suspense. The ending part was pathetic and there were parts were I would just get lost. I give it 3 stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2014

    Book is LAME

    This booked sucked

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2013

    Worst book ever

    Worst book ever

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2013

    I THINK ITS GREAT

    Ithink that this book is a okay book but not all that but good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    DONT TELL THE STORY

    People that rote 3 pgs dont rune the book it probley makes all lot of other people mad. So stop righting 3 pgs please.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2013

    HORRIBLE

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2012

    Anoymous

    If you thought the book was awesom why did you put one star for the rating

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    Amazing

    One day matt is pulled out of class for questioning about an alleged bomb threat and ugly girl aka ursala riggs steps in to help
    Its a must read!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2011

    Berfer

    Reafdgr

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 4, 2010

    totally recommended!

    This book is my favorite book ever! It was awsome i totally recommend it to anyone. Even if it doesnt sound good to you...get it...youll learn to love it! it gets better at the end so if u dont like the beginging....dont quit it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2008

    big mouth and ugly girl

    I think Big Mouth and Ugly Girl is a great book for people my age to read. It tells a story about two friends that have been rejected before in their lives. And even after their rejection, they still find goodness in each other. Ugly Girl has never had many friends, but Big Mouth started out being very popular with a lot of friends and everyone liked him. Then, Big Mouth got himself into some trouble, and Ugly Girl was the only one there that wanted to help him. This is a story of how there friendship grows as the days go by, and how nobody could tear them apart. Everybody needs a friend like one of them in their life. this was an overall great book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2008

    Big mouth and Ugly girl

    Big mouth Ugly girl was a good book. I loved it! It was splendid. I used it as a novel in my senior English class. I think it was a very interesting book and I think everyone should read it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2006

    BIG MOUTH & UGLY GIRL

    I loved this book! I read it twice - not even skipping to my fav parts - it was sssooo totally awsome! It is not only sometimes laugh out loud funny , but also deals with what most of us might face time again thoughout our lives!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2006

    Nothing special

    This was a good book, but it didn't always keep me wanting to read more. Certain parts were good, but others went on and on for way too long. This book was interesting and the writing was pretty good, but it definitely didn't leave me with new feelings or leave me feeling like it was one of my favorite books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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