Jerk, California

Jerk, California

4.5 53
by Jonathan Friesen
     
 

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Read Jonathan Friesen's posts on the Penguin Blog.

This Schneider Family Book Award winner changed the face of Tourette's Syndrome for modern teens. Wrought with tension, romance, and hope, Jerk, California tells the story of Sam, who sets out on a cross-country quest to learn the truth about his family and his inherited Tourette's Syndrome,…  See more details below

Overview

Read Jonathan Friesen's posts on the Penguin Blog.

This Schneider Family Book Award winner changed the face of Tourette's Syndrome for modern teens. Wrought with tension, romance, and hope, Jerk, California tells the story of Sam, who sets out on a cross-country quest to learn the truth about his family and his inherited Tourette's Syndrome, along the way finding both love and acceptance.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Kevin Beach
Plagued by Tourette's syndrome, a weak mother, and a stepfather who despises him, recent high school graduate Sam is taken in by an eccentric old man in his small Minnesota town. Relentlessly teased by his peers and family, he finds solace and acceptance for the first time in his life with the old gardener. A gifted runner, Sam has a casual friendship with attractive young Naomi, also a runner. Sam begins learning some truths about his real father who also had Tourette's. Was he really a drunken womanizer? The death of his new benefactor brings about more surprises and compels him to take a road trip that will help him discover the truth about his life. Meeting relatives he did not know he had on a his road trip with his girlfriend, Sam fills in some of the gaps that were missing from his past, uncovers some lies, and develops a meaningful relationship with Naomi. Can he set things right back home with what he has discovered? The author conveys Sam's utter sense of frustration with his condition and his accompanying low self-esteem and self-loathing. The dialogue and characters are realistically drawn but sometimes seem a bit stereotypical and at times disjointed. Overall the plot is emotionally rewarding and effective. This novel has been advertised via a book trailer on YouTube, which might spark added interest from the intended audience. Reviewer: Kevin Beach
Kirkus Reviews
Like its Tourette Syndrome-afflicted protagonist, this novel lacks grace. Sam lives with his mother, his baby half brother and his stepfather, an abusive man with OCD who hates Sam's dead father so much that he changed Sam's name. With no prospects after graduation, Sam takes a job with "Coot," a local oddball who knew Sam's dad and quickly becomes Sam's best friend (as well as his connection to beautiful Naomi) before dropping dead and leaving Sam his farm and a quest. Sam, now reverted to Jack and accompanied by Naomi, follows the quest and discovers his parents' Mennonite past and the windmills his father built. Quirky characters who barely rise above caricatures, clunky dialogue and inconsistent voice and a pregnant leading-lady round out the tale. Cluttered plot and issues galore, with a too-easy resolution and a rickety back story (why did no one ever mention to Sam that his dad was not a boozing two-timer?) undermine the potentially interesting premise. Hardly worth the effort. (reading-group questions; author interview, not seen) (Fiction. 13 & up)
From the Publisher
-Compelling.+ -School Library Journal

-Emotionally rewarding and effective.+ -VOYA

-Like any good road story, there are enough corners and bends to keep readers eagerly anticipating what lies ahead at the journey+s end.+ -Booklist

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—When Sam was diagnosed as a young child with Tourette's Syndrome, handed down to him genetically by his deceased father, his stepfather Bill rejected him and his mother allowed it to happen. Now a high school senior, the boy expects nothing from his mother and abuse from his stepfather. Sam is an outcast in school due to the tics and verbal outbursts his Tourette's precipitates, yet he never explains the disease that causes this behavior. He just struggles on, continues to be bullied, and accepts it all. The day he graduates, George, his dad's old friend, appears in his life and changes everything. All the lies that Bill told him about his father are revealed, but none of it sinks in until George dies and leaves Sam his money, property, and a map that he must follow to learn the truth about his father. George's granddaughter, Naomi, the girl of Sam's dreams, comes along for reasons of her own. On this quest, Sam comes to know himself as James's son, Jack, and learns that his father was a remarkable man. The plot of Jonathan Friesen's debut novel (Penguin/Speak, 2008) is somewhat unbelievable, the story is overly long, and Andy Paris's narration does not fully distinguish the characters. Although Sam has been raised in the Midwest, there is no trace of a regional accent. The winner of the 2009 Schneider Family Book Award for its portrayal of Tourette's Syndrome, this offering will fill a niche in libraries seeking novels about the condition.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781440651243
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
09/04/2008
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
543,713
Lexile:
HL510L (what's this?)
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

-Compelling.+ -School Library Journal

-Emotionally rewarding and effective.+ -VOYA

-Like any good road story, there are enough corners and bends to keep readers eagerly anticipating what lies ahead at the journey+s end.+ -Booklist

Meet the Author

Jerk, California is Jonathan Friesen’s first novel. A fourteen-year public school teacher and writing instructor at the University of Minnesota, Jonathan shares his passion for writing with children of all ages—including three of his own, whom he home schools. He lives in Mora, Minnesota.

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Jerk California 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jerk is the story of a young man who is freed form a cruel prison. I'm not talking about Tourette's but everything and everyone around him who beat him down with it, including himself. Obviously Jonathan writes out of his own experience and pain--and the story is beyond rich for it. I found myself cheering for Jack, balling up my fists and wanting to fight for him, alongside him. The ending was totally satisfying. Justice prevails at every level. As Jack becomes free from his prison, he frees others with him. It is the story of a beaten down young man who learns to stand tall and straight. A boy who quietly joins the ranks of men who have earned the title Hero. Not because of some glorious moment in a sporting event, but because of his choices, his character, the man he has become. This was the most enjoyable read I've had in a long, long time. I expect this book will be one that becomes required reading in high school classrooms all over the US. And it ought to be.
Kristin78 More than 1 year ago
Jerk California, now one of my very favorite books I’ve ever read, begins with an 18 year old graduate with Tourettes Syndrome, Sam Carrier. Sam ends up meeting a girl named Naomi while running a race that got rained out. Both were a mystery to eachother, but as you read further into the book, they end up bumping into each other more and more. When Sam becomes friends with the weirdo old gardener man, nicknamed Old Coot, he moves in and assists him with the gardening business. When Old Coot passes, Sam is left a puzzle by Old Coot to find the true story about his father who had allegedly run off with a woman and gotten himself killed. Naomi tags along for an unknown reason and as their trip progesses, the two get closer and closer. When they reach their destination, having stopped at all the windmills that Sam’s father had constructed, the duo eventually ends up at Sam’s grandmothers house in Jerk, California. When he is told the truth about his father’s past, he returns to his home town with the courage to face his mother and his abusive, OCD step-father. Even though Sam Carrier's life seemed complicated with Tourrettes Syndrome and a drunk, constantly counting step-dad, timid mother, and a town of typically narrow minded people, he proves that he's just the same as us and that he can overcome anything.
Lindsay_Caddell More than 1 year ago
In the novel, Jerk California by Jonathan Friesen, Sam Carrier, a recent high school graduate, struggles to stay sane with all of the obstacles thrown his way. Not only does Sam have to deal with Old Bill, his step-father who hates him and a mother who doesn't care, he also struggles from Tourette's syndrome and his social awkwardness. After being tortured by his relentless step-father for the last time, Sam leaves his house in an angry rage and starts roaming around the town. Eventually, a man they call "George the coot" took Sam in and gave him a job. When George dies unexpectedly, Sam leaves his home town to travel across American to a city named Jerk, California. Along the way, Sam meets family he didn't know he had, falls in love, takes on new responsibilities as an adult, and learns new things about himself that he never would have imagined. With the help of George, Naomi, and his deceased father, Sam finds the strength within himself to stand up to Old Bill and take his life back for good. I loved this book because there were so many twists that I didn't see coming. Everyone can relate to it in some way because throughout the book Sam faces so many different problems with family, friends, love, money, and self-esteem. It really made me appreciate how great my life actually is, to read about a guy whose life took wrong turns every day. The author based this novel off of his own life, so there are many life lessons to be found throughout the book. I have been blessed with a family who loves me and would never treat me the way Sam's family treated him. Now when I get angry or frustrated I remind myself that life could be worse. At least I have to ability to sit still.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im not in the mood to answer questions u already know the answer to
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think I read Jerk, California in fourth grade. I enjoyed it a lot, it was one of those books that I dreamt a sequel was made. It was touching, and throughout the book, I thought a lot about some of the things people said about Sam. It made me think. Do I want someone to treat me like that? Do I get to treat others like that just because they're different? If you know anything about Tourette's Syndrome, some common "tics" are jerking and twitching, and swearing randomly and uncontrollably. This, of course, is what Sam has. He is pretty much alone in life. Sam struggles with Tourette's. His mother pretends to try to support him and protect him against his abusive stepfather. He can really only talk to his shrink. But really, he is repulsed at the thought of needing a shrink. Then, one day, he goes on a road trip with a girl named Naomi. Naomi is the kind of character that I copied into one of my Barbie dolls. Cute! At the end of the story, there is a shocking surprise and discovery with Naomi and Sam. Read it to find out. I had two advantages in reading this book. The first advantage is that I am from Minnesota. I tend to enjoy any book where the Minnesotan author likes to place his characters there. Second, I got to meet Jonathan Friesen. Sort of. At a school seminar he spoke a bit about his experiences. It made me feel sad for him. His childhood was as troubled as Sam's. Maybe even moreso. He told of how in seventh grade, the grade I'm in, he stopped going to school and lived in his room. He began to write there. He wrote on his walls, namely "I HATE ME. I HATE ME." Wow. But, now he is married with three children and living happily. He's quite a great guy and rather funny, too. If you are looking for a great story about, love, loss, and cope, Jerk, California will really open your eyes. --MissFutureAuthor122 Reviews
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book changes the way you look at people, its an amazing book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book. Really touching. In all, great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It touches your heart no matter how many times you read it. I dont think i will ever get tired of reading. The author neeeds to make a sequel!!! What do you think
audaciousauthor More than 1 year ago
Jerk, California is about a teenage boy called Sam Carrier (AKA, Jack Keegan) and his diseased biological father, his current short-tempered OCD stepdad, and the syndrome that continuously plagues him: Tourette’s. In a life instilled with not only a misleading condition, but also a life of lies, and secrets, Sam, AKA Jack, is sent on a life-changing expedition to find the truth about his real father. He’ll uncover true friendship, and even romance along the way in this emotional, relatable tale. I found the book very interesting and relatable to real-life situations. It is also an eye-opener to the affects of the very misleading “curse at everyone, punch random people” Tourette’s Syndrome. And for a random fun fact? The author of the book also struggles with TS.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think that this book is really good. At times it is hard to read but its one of those books that you just cant put down!
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Mark Peterson More than 1 year ago
The strugles of the main character are sometimes excrutiating but the depth and development of the story wont let you put the book down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
haley55 More than 1 year ago
This book keeps you intrigued threw and threw. It describes things in ways that anyone disease or not can relate to. I read it once a few years ago and continue to think back on the vivid details and the descriptions of the surroundings. This is my second time reading it now and i dont believe my last. Wonderful book i almost wish there was more to it so i could follow the characters threw life. I think everyone one should read this and fall in love with the story like i did.
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Enchantress0fTales More than 1 year ago
I pricked this up in my library last year over the summer and said, "Why not?" Unfortunately, I had to put it back because school was starting up again, and I still had to finish my summer project. So now, exactly one year later, I am ahead in my summer project, so I picked it up again and now I am so glad I did. Jerk California will forever be apart of my library. I recommend this novel to anyone in for a moving life-journey story. I love how relatable it is to everyone!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago