Joey Pigza Loses Control (Joey Pigza Series #2)

Joey Pigza Loses Control (Joey Pigza Series #2)

4.1 66
by Jack Gantos

View All Available Formats & Editions

"He was wired. No doubt about it...Now I know what Mom meant when she said he was like me, only bigger."

Joey Pigza really wants his six-week visit with his dad to count, to show him he's not as wired as he used to be, to show his dad how much he loves him. But Carter Pigza's not an easy guy to love. He's eager to make it up to Joey for past wrongs and to

…  See more details below


"He was wired. No doubt about it...Now I know what Mom meant when she said he was like me, only bigger."

Joey Pigza really wants his six-week visit with his dad to count, to show him he's not as wired as he used to be, to show his dad how much he loves him. But Carter Pigza's not an easy guy to love. He's eager to make it up to Joey for past wrongs and to show him how to be a winner, to take control of his life. With his coaching, Joey's even learned how to pitch a baseball, and he's good at it. The trouble is, Joey's dad thinks taking control means giving up the things that "keep Joey safe. And if he wants to please his dad, he's going to have to play by his rules, even when the rules don't make sense.

About the Author

Jack Gantos is the celebrated author of Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor Book. He is also the author of the popular picture books about Rotten Ralph, and Jack's Black Book, the latest in his acclaimed series of semi-autobiographical story collections featuring his alter ego, Jack Henry. Mr. Gantos lives with his wife and daughter in Boston, Massachusetts.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a starred review, PW said, "Like its predecessor, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, this high-voltage, honest novel mixes humor, pain, fear and courage with deceptive ease." Ages 10-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
First introduced in Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, Gantos's hyperactive hero Joey Pigza has not lost any of his liveliness, but after undergoing therapy and a stint in special ed., he now can exercise a reasonable amount of self-control--provided he takes his meds. His mother has reluctantly agreed to let him spend the summer three hours from home with his father, an alcoholic who, so he claims, has taken steps to turn his life around. Readers will sight trouble ahead long before Joey's optimistic perception of his father grows blurry. Mr. Pigza is at least as "wired" as the old Joey, and when he resorts to his drinking habits and becomes belligerent, Joey (who still wants to win his father's favor) feels scared. Then Mr. Pigza, telling Joey his medicine patches are a "crutch" that Joey doesn't need, summarily flushes them down the toilet: "You are liberated... You are your own man, in control of your own life," he announces. Joey is torn between wanting to call his mom immediately and sticking with his father. "Even though I knew he was wrong," Joey says, "he was my dad, and I wanted him to be right." Like its predecessor, this high-voltage, honest novel mixes humor, pain, fear and courage with deceptive ease. Struggling to please everyone even as he sees himself hurtling toward disaster, Joey emerges as a sympathetic hero, and his heart of gold never loses its shine. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature
In this National Book Award Finalist selection, Gantos introduces a young boy learning to cope with ADHD. Joey has medicine and strategies in this sequel, but he is still the same Joey. In the opening scene, he sets up living room pillows as targets, accidentally pierces his dog's ear, then solves the problem with a hoop earring. Soon after, Joey is off to live with his heavy-drinking, egocentric father for the first time. He is also living with his grandmother, who switches from crabby to cruel as quickly as she alternates smoking a cigarette and gulping fresh air from her oxygen machine. Readers will sympathize with Joey as his father rationalizes drinking, throws out Joey's medicine, and continually disappoints him. But none of these situations take away Joey's original retorts and comical, unique solutions to problems. Joey's biggest improvement may be his knowledge of self and how he applies it to better control his life. His wisdom and experience with failure show when he sizes up his grandmother. He knows she will always be her two selves—one nice and funny, and the other mean and scary. She will not change because she never feels that anything she does is wrong. All the changing is up to Joey, who says, "That was okay because I knew I could be wrong most of the time." Gantos' writing excellence shows in the way he allows the reader to draw conclusions, while Joey only experiences situations. Gantos still gives us what we love best about Joey—neither medicine nor a bad situation can take away his comic responses. This artist has created a satisfying follow-up. 2000, Farrar, $16.00. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Susie Wilde
In this sequel to Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1998/VOYA February 1999), Joey begins his visit with his father on a relatively even keel because of the medication he takes to treat his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is not, however, an easy father-and-son reunion, as Carter Pigza is an adult version of the non-medicated Joey, so wired that "a humming sound [comes] out of his body." Joey pitches for the baseball team that his father coaches, and Carter has plans for a winning season. Joey handles the demanding role of being the hotshot pitcher-son of the coach until Carter decides that Joey is a normal kid who does not need "crutches" and flushes Joey's medicine down the toilet. Although he wants to believe in his father, Joey knows that it will not be long before the old wired Joey comes back. The reader is drawn into Joey's struggle for self-control while his medication wears off and as his father's behavior becomes more erratic with the increased consumption of alcohol. Through Joey's narration, Gantos brilliantly portrays the often-manic pace of an ADHD mind, but he alleviates the tension with touches of humor. Joey accidentally pierces his Chihuahua Pablo's ear with a wayward dart and wants to put an earring in the hole. His mother is not amused, although the reader cannot help but smile at Joey's antics. Joey is a young teen struggling to maintain control in an often out-of-control world, a struggle with which many teens will relate. Gantos's style of writing and the subject matter make this book a great middle school read-aloud. VOYA CODES: 5Q 5P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Every YA (who reads) was dying to readit yesterday; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2000, Farrar Straus Giroux, 196p. Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Ruth Cox VOYA, February 2001 (Vol. 23, No.6)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-In Patricia Reilly Giff's young adult novel (Delacorte, 2000) set in 1845 at the beginning of the Potato Famine, 12-year-old Nory Ryan is a strong young Irish girl. Hearing Nory's story recounted in actress Susan Lynch's lilting Irish accent brings the time and place alive. Nory's story is not a happy one, but listeners will be drawn into her moving tale and want to find out if Nory and her family will get through each long, hungry day in Maidin Bay and make it to Brooklyn, New York, where "no one was hungry." The two English characters in the story--Lord Cunningham, the landlord, and his agent, Devlin--are presented as unfeeling and heartless. The Irish are presented as both good and bad, willing to give up their last coin and not adverse to stealing someone's last coin. This period in Irish history is realistically recreated for listeners.-Suzanne Libra, Huron Middle School, Northglenn, CO Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
As if Joey didn't get into enough trouble in his unforgettable debut, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key (1998), Gantos has him wig out again in this sad, scary, blackly funny sequel. His hyperactivity under control thanks to new meds, Joey is looking forward to a six-week stay with his father Carter, hoping for some bonding. Unfortunately, his mother's warning: ". . . he can be, you know, wired like you, only he's bigger." understates the case. As a father, not to say a human being, Carter turns out to be appallingly dysfunctional: irresponsible, utterly self-centered, domineering, callous, and ominously short-fused. Smart enough to see through his father's loud assertions that he's turned over a new leaf, Joey nonetheless struggles to please, even when Carter flushes Joey's medication down the toilet, insisting that real men only need willpower to solve their personal problems. Joey tries to tough it out, hoping (despite bitter experience) that this time he won't go spinning off. Swept along by Joey's breathless narrative, readers will share his horrified fascination as, bit by bit, he watches the bad old habits and behavior come back. Joey's emphysemic Grandma, alternating drags on a cigarette with whiffs of oxygen as she trundles about the neighborhood in a shopping cart, and his Chihuahua Pablo, who survives both being locked in a glove compartment and having his ear pierced by a dart, provide the closest thing to comic relief here. The situation takes a dangerous turn when Joey eggs Carter into a wild rage; fortunately, his mother is just a phone call away, waiting in the wings to bail him out. Carter is truly frightening, a vision ofwhatJoey could grow up to be, did he not possess the inner honesty to acknowledge his limitations (eventually), and caring adults to help him. A tragic tale in many ways, but a triumph too. (Fiction. 11-13)

Starred Review Booklist

A truly memorable read.

Read More

Product Details

Perfection Learning Corporation
Publication date:
Joey Pigza Series, #2
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Mom was disappearing down the road and Dad was shifting around in front of me with his arms and legs crossing back and forth like he was sharpening knives. He was wired. No doubt about it. When I looked in a mirror I could see it in my eyes, and now I could see it in his. Even with my medicine working real good, I felt nervous inside he was so jumpy. Now I knew what Mom meant when she said he was like me, only bigger. He was taller than me too. He had long arms and pointy elbows and a humming sound came out of his body as if he was run by an electric motor. I took a deep breath and even though my insides were churning I was determined to stand there and be as stiff as the rusted-up Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz.

"Well, Joey," Dad said with a grin rocking back and forth on his face like a canoe on high seas, "you can call me Carter." And he stuck out his hand to shake.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Joey Pigza Loses Control 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 64 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book because it was really funny and it was a fiction book. Because you can't buy a pack of cigarettes when you are under 18 yrs old. In the book Joey goes to visit his grandma and dad and he goes through a lot of ups and downs like he forgot his dog Pablo in the glove department and he goes to a baseball game and gets knocked out by a fling ball. But most of all his grandma almost dies by smoking. I think the type of reader I recommend this to would be someone who likes stories about peoples lives.
Mrs-Forreal More than 1 year ago
I recently attended an author series with Mr. Gantos and he is as engaging and hilarious in person as his character is in the book. Being an English Language teacher, I could see some of the same situations and perspectives that my students exhibit everyday. This book is humorous, appealing, and, if you read close, you will learn a lot about what children with behavioral issues contend with!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Do you ever just feel like letting go, and losing control? That's what happens to Joey in this book when his dad decides to take Joey off his ADHD medicine. In order to find out what happens to Joey after a few days with no medicine, you'll have to read this great book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joey Pigza is off to see his dad, Carter, for the first the first time in years. Joey is planning to stay with his dad for the whole summer. While Joey is over at his dad¿s house, Carter is eager to make to is son for all the wrongs that he did. Carter tells Joey to always be a winner not a loser. Along time ago Carter was crazy and was in a special ed class. Then Carter got on meds to help him control himself. That¿s why Joey was not aloud to see his dad. Then while Joey is over at his dad¿s house he does something that his dad does not like. Then Carter gets mad. While Carter harm Joey or while Joey call his mom? The things I liked about this book were that it didn¿t have any many boring parts in it. The book was usually exciting most of the time. This book goes along with some of the other books, but you can read any of them. You do not have to read them in any order. This reminds me of the movie Winn-Dixie because the girl always wanted to meet her mom and Joey wanted to meet his dad. I think someone that likes to wonder what happens next and a person that likes exciting books would like this. This book is similar to all the other Joey Pigza books and it also similar to the Tucker series, I think. The Tucker series has a lot of excitement in it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was Joey Pigza Loses Control,by Jack Gantos and I gave it four stars because I would highly recommend it. The reason I liked the book was cause it was funny. The mom didn't joke around though. Joey and his grandma both loved to joke around all the time. His dad was a alcoholic and was trying to quit smoking. Joey's mom hated it when Joey joked with her she wanted to strangle him. His little dog chihuahua was very fragile and hurt he did not have a good stomach either. His grandma was the most funniest character in the story and probably my favorite. This story had a very serious side to it too. Joey had ADHD and he had to be on meds. He had to change his patch (patch) everyday. One night after a baseball game Joey's dad Carter had a couple of beers with his girlfriend Leezy. After they got home Carter told Joey to brush his teeth. When Joey was doing that Carter told him how he wanted to make up leaving him and his mom so he wadded up his patches and through them down the toilet and flushed it. After that you the reader are terrified and wondering what will happen to Joey after this when he does not have his medicine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cool! I have to read this for Name That Book and it looks great :)
SJKessel More than 1 year ago
Gantos, J. (2000). Joey Pigza Loses Control. New York: HarperTrophy. 0064410226 Joey's back and he's facing a new challenge: Meeting his father for the first time and visiting his difficult grandma, whose health is declining. This book deals more deeply with issues only touched on the first book: The results of a lifetime of smoking, parental alcoholism, the need for ADHD medication, parental pressure, the desire for a united family, etc. Also, this book may appeal to sports fans, since Joey spends a lot of time playing baseball while visiting his father in Pittsburgh. There are also fairytale elements to this story, since Joey's father repeatedly uses fairytales as metaphors for his life. What's amazing about the second book in this series is how the reader's perception changes of Joey's mother. In the first book, I found myself wondering if Joey should be living with her. In the second book, when Joey visits his father, I found myself pleading, "Please, please, PLEASE send him back to his mother!" Activities to do with the book: This book can be used to have a number of conversations on visiting an absent parent, realizing parents make mistakes, the experience of being ADHD and needing medication, the health complications of smoking. And so on. If a teacher shares this book with a student or class, he or she must be certain to show sympathy for Joey and encourage personal response to the narrative. If students have read the first book, a teacher could ask how their views of the characters have shifted. Do they feel more sympathetic toward Joey, his mother and grandmother? Since the story ends rather abruptly, students could write a continuation of the story, letters to Joey and his family members or just go on to read the next book. Favorite Quotes: "That's the one thing I liked about [my father] already. [Mom's] mind was on him, him, him. Usually it was on me, me, me, and I couldn't do or say anything that she didn't notice, but now I was hiding inside his shadow like a drop inside an ocean, and he got to take the blame for her bad nerves" (p. 7). JOEY'S MOTHER: "I'm sending you because you might like [your dad] and because I think-not with my heart-that it's a good thing for you to have a relationship with your father. And now that he claims to have stopped drinking and has a job and has gone to court to get some visitation. I'm sending you to him because I think it's the right thing to do" (p. 8). "My patch is not a drug," I pleased. "It's medicine" (p. 93). For more of my reviews, visit
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has recently been on my mind and I must admit that my review may be clouded by nostalgic feelings.

Back when I was about nine years old my mom handed me this book. It's the first book I can really remember reading from front to back in a very short amount of time.

Joey is a funny and likeable character; his wacky antics just make you want to smile and shake your head. His attempts to help those close to him and to control his ADD urges are simply endearing. The author handles Joey's problems in a way that, while making the reader feel sympathy for him, make them seem humorous and cute.

This book is a fun read, plain and simple. I would highly suggest picking up this book and the entire series for your kids. It should also be noted that you don't have to read the first book in this series to enjoy this one. I didn't even realize that this book was part of a series while I was reading it, I found out much later and had sadly outgrown Joey by then.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joey Pigza books are a very great book to read wether your in 1st-12th grade. I recamend this to all people (that is if you can read)!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is one of the best books I've ever read, and I've read quite a few. It's hilarious, it gets the point across loud and clear, and is just plain good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book a lot because it mixes 2 different genres: It is funny but with some dramatic and dissapointing sections.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joey Pigza is a story about a boy who live with his Dad for the summer. There both wired. They play baseball!! YEAH! Buth then I forgot! Its a fabulius book!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gotcha. Ive never read this book but i am writing a bad review anyway becuase the first one hd a girlls nose chopped off. Spoiler alert. Anyway this book is probably horrible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She is alone at 'my light' result 4! No rescuers! And she is weak! Even though she is half god she is weak!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Carries melody on
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently read the book Joey Pigza Losses Control by the author Jack Gantos. I had to read this book for a project in reading class. I dont really like reading, but i had to for this project. So, I read Joey Pigza Loses Control. I would recommend this book because it tells you Joey's story and maybe you can relate to his story. In the book Joey Pigza Loses Control is the little boy and his mom couldn't handle him in the summer and he was on patches because he had ADD or ADHD. Then he went to his dad's house and his dad was hyper and was on patches because he drank alot. The author used alot of really entertaining setences to make you keep reading on. Joey jioned a baseball team. I would recommend this book to a boy like me. The author Jack Gantos has alot of Joey books. I hope this helps you to choose this book and thanks for listening. I would give this book four stars because it is good and entertaining but i couldnt really get into it. This book is good for kids ten and up and it is a very good fiction book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought the first one in the series and had to have more its still very good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Now that I've got the boring conjunction part done, I can freeflow with this! Next part at next result! And Winkyface, I will DEFINITELY use that BUT I have to wait for LE RIGHT TIME. Timing is key. Anywhooo... --- ...I come face to face with a slightly pissed-off looking girl. She has black-and-silver hair(probably dyed) put into a bun. She wears an orange tee with the words CAMP HALF-BLOOD printed on it. She has on a pair of faded blue jeans and grey boots. "Who are you?" she repeats. "Uh, um-" I say. "First day with your new lips? Come on! Talk! I can't find my friends, and YOU TWO are the only ones I CAN find!" she says. "Okay, calm down!" I say. "I'm Jenny, and this is DJ. WE, for one, have no idea how we got here." I return her unfriendly glare. The girl fingers a silver and blue bow slung over her shoulder. "I'm Pip," she says. "Is... is that a bow? And arrows?" I say, indicating to the ones slung over her shoulder. "What? Oh, uh.. heh, no, those aren't arrows. Or a bow. It's just, uh... a sash! Yeah!" Pip can tell I'm not buying it. Since she made up that lame excuse, she probably thinks I'm really dumb. "Okay, so you can obviously see through the mist. Who are you? Irregular mortal, Half-Blood, monster, or diety in disguise?" Pip says. "None of the above?" I try. "Okay, you're talking crazy," I decide out loud. "You've gotta be some alien. In that case..." I slap the dial down on the Morphitrix. "Wild Mutt? Great choice. Attack the so far not proved evil crazy person with the mean, menacing half-alien dog," DJ says. "Thanks for telling me," I say, but it probably just came out as growls to DJ. I launch myself at Pip. --- Short, but cliffhangerey ^^ keep reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good job nice dramatic ...................................................................................................................................................................pause
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I might not go back to school on monday. I LOVE SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!! -Henry
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Me too!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You should read the book fun cool funny read read read book book book !!!!!!!!!!!!!