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Just Juice

Just Juice

4.3 18
by Karen Hesse, Robert Andrew Parker (Illustrator)

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This year, Juice Faulstich is back again in Miss Hamble's third grade class. Letters and numbers still don't make sense to her. But when an important letter comes to the family, someone's got to read it and break the news to Ma and Pa.


This year, Juice Faulstich is back again in Miss Hamble's third grade class. Letters and numbers still don't make sense to her. But when an important letter comes to the family, someone's got to read it and break the news to Ma and Pa.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

SLJ, AB, H, K, PW*, C
Kathleen Odean
...[T]he family radiates an appealing warmth more often found in old-fashioned children's books. —Bok
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
This 1997 Newbery Medallist is back with Just Juice. Juice doesn't see the value of school until her poverty-stricken family is about to lose their home in the hills. How can they raise the money to pay the back taxes? In this chapter book, Hesse paints a believable portrait of a close-knit family and the odds they face-and overcome together.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Juice, age 9, is the middle one of five girls and her mom is expecting another baby. Juice is talented with her hands but reading and numbers are just a jumble. She is so embarrassed at school that she prefers staying home and working with her dad. Her dad's awful secret is that he can't read either and when he receives official looking letters, he puts them away. One day Juice sees the seal on the latest letter and gets her oldest sister to read it. The family is past due on taxes and may lose their home, which prompts Juice to action. Juice is irresistible. Hesse writes books from the heart, and this is another "must read."
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
Justus Faulstich, called Juice, is in third grade, although she should be in fourth. She would much rather hang out with Pa. Since he lost his last job, he's often so sad she feels she can't bear to leave him alone. When tax notices come in the mail, neither Juice nor her Pa pay attention-no surprise, since neither can read. Ma is expecting her sixth baby, and Geneva, the visiting nurse, finds out that she has gestational diabetes. From now on, Ma has to keep track of her blood sugar. When the baby is due in two months, Geneva visits every other day, but one day when she doesn't come, the baby does. Pa's truck is stuck in the mud and the older girls are in school, so Ma is alone with Juice and the two little girls. Then Ma starts acting funny, and Juice realizes there's really something wrong when she can't pay attention to test her blood. Juice knows what to do-she pokes Ma's finger, puts the paper in the machine-but what are those numbers? What order are they in? 300 or 030? If Juice is wrong, Ma will die. This is a terrific story, beautifully told. Juice and her four-soon to be five-sisters are real girls, fighting and laughing and nagging each other, and loving each other. Pa and Ma are real, too, and their love for the girls and each other is almost tangible. Recommended, but with the caution that childbirth is described very graphically, possibly too much so for ages 8-12.
The ALAN Review - Mike Angelotti
Juice is an intelligent eleven-year-old with a reading problem. Because of the miseries it creates within her own mind and the embarrassments it causes her with her peers, she seldom finds the motivation to attend school. Her family is close, but very poor, and already threatened by the loss of their home due to nonpayment of taxes. Juice spends most of her days encouraging her unemployed father and helping him start a family business to solve the tax problem. Meanwhile, the school district is pressuring Juice's pregnant mother to ensure that Juice will attend classes regularly or face heavy fines. As intriguing as the family subplots are, the main story is Juice and her internal conflicts related first to her reading disability and second to her responsibility to family. Because of Karen Hesse's sensitive treatment of her characters and obvious storytelling skill, she is able to provide her readers opportunities to understand at a personal level the lives of peers beset with learning or economic difficulties, or both. It is the old story of the beauty within told one more time. And well worth the read.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Times are hard for the Faulstich family. Pa is out of work, Ma's pregnancy isn't progressing quite right, and the truant officer is after nine-year-old Juice. Although she is bright, letters and numbers behave differently for her than for other people, leaving her repeating the third grade and unable to read. The threat of losing their house to back taxes is the catalyst that leads Pa to open his own machine shop and Ma to make the children's schooling a priority. This is a timely event for Juice, who is just beginning to crack the reading code. Despite the absence of welfare, food stamps, and unemployment benefits, this is a contemporary story. The setting is Appalachia and the narrative is flavored with hill speech. Though the locale may seem foreign to urban or suburban children, the unity of the Faulstich family and the dignity with which they approach their poverty are absorbing and convincing. Juice's narration, for the most part, is both believable and lyrical, despite her life being "...as rough as a cob." In both pace and setting, the novel is reminiscent of Sable (Holt, 1994). All in all, a trim package with pared-down prose, a memorable main character, and enough complexities to provide ample food for thought.-Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Down-to-earth, resourceful heroine Justus "Juice" Faulstich doesn't like going to school. She'd rather spend the day with her out-of-work father, or helping her mother, who's expecting her sixth child. Even though she's only nine, Juice believes she is more useful at home; secretly, she's afraid that someone will find out that she can hardly read. When Pa receives a letter explaining that they may lose their house because of past-due taxes, and Juice's older sister has to read it, Juice realizes that she's not the only one in the family with a secret. The struggling Faulstich family's strength and the atmospheric details of rural life lend the story a timeless, sturdy quality. This poignant story of love and endurance has a lot to say; fittingly, it never shouts. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 7-12)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.45(d)
Age Range:
8 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Karen Hesse is the award-winning and critically acclaimed author of many books for children. Her titles include WITNESS, THE CATS IN KRASINSKI SQUARE, and the Newbery Medal winner OUT OF THE DUST, among many others. She lives in Vermont with her husband and two teenaged daughters.

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Just Juice 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Reckart More than 1 year ago
I am reading the story Just Juice. The author of the book is Karen Hess. Juice is in the middle of four kids. Juice and dad cannot read. They are poor family. There dad has to open up a shop to pay the bills. Juice does not go to school for a while because the kids at school are making fun of her. The family is in debt, so pa has to work three jobs. They got a check from the school lots of money and ma has to go down to the school and tells them that juice was not at school because she was helping ma deliver a baby, so they did not have to pay the bill. Ma says they all need to learn how to read.
I liked the book. It teaches the characters how to read. It teaches those real messages that when they get older pay their bills; tell their kids how to read, and to send their kids to school. You should always try your hardest, and never give up. Juice never gives up on trying to get money so they can pay their bills; and to learn how to read. She helps out her mom and dad the best that she can so they can work to get money. Her dad and juice try to read, but juice does not go to school all of the time so it¿s hard for her to read. She tries to help her dad but she cannot help him if she does not know how.
Another book that reminds me of Just Juice is Call of the Wild. This book reminds me of this because the book is a little bit older and it does not use some words like today, it also reminds me of this because Buck in the story Call of the Wild, he never gives up and he always tries his hardest. Just Juice reminds me of me because I am always helping out my parent the best that I can, and juice does the same thing. She is also helping her dad with the business like going and putting up signs, and helping her dad work on the bikes when they come in. I would tell people to read this book when they get a chance. I would tell people it shows real events in life. This is my summary. I enjoyed this book a lot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The name of my book review is Just Juice by Karen Hesse. The theme of the book is sometimes you have to work for what you want. Juice has to help her dad in the shop to make money. All so she doesn¿t know how to read. So she really has to try to learn how to read. When times are hard you just have to work thou them.
I like this book because the theme of the book is similar to my own life. In the summer I mow my neighbor lawn and church and in the winter I shovel snow at my church. So I don¿t get stuff hand down to me like juice. This is my book review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The title of the book is Just Juice by Karen Hesse. I liked this book because it¿s about Juice¿s pa and ma have hardly any money and almost lose their house and they put up a machine shop to make some money. Ma is going to have a baby and she has got diabetes Juice does not know how to read and refuses to go to school but she as to or they¿ll get fined one day she missed school because ma is having dizzy spells. Then Officer Rusk the triune officer comes out and gives pa a fine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just Juice written by Karen Hesse is a story about a girl named Juice. She is growing up in a poor family, but something is different about Juice. She can¿t read, and neither can her dad. When Juices family receives a letter stating that they have one year to buy their house back, they have to come up with the money and keep the secret from their mom.
I think Just Juice has two main themes. The first one is never give up, because Juices family never gives up on trying to get the money. The second one is things can always get worse, because the story starts out bad, then things get worse as the story goes on. Also the mood of the story changes a lot, from good to bad. I would compare the theme of this to Hatchet, because in both stories the main character never gives up.
I thought Just Juice was a good, quick, and easy read. At times it would be boring but usually picked up pretty fast. I feel like it was aimed toward younger audiences though. I think it was easy to understand and follow. This is the only story I¿ve read from Karen Heese, but if this story is any indication of how she writes her other books I would recommend them for younger readers.
crazyfrazee More than 1 year ago
Just juice is about a girl that can¿t read. Karen Hesse wrote this wonderful book. Her whole family is poor. Later one day pa gets a letter in the mail saying that the house is going to be sold to pay their taxes. The problem is that pa can¿t read it he doesn¿t know how. So he went to school to let one of his daughters to read it. And it said that they are going to lose the house. Pa was upset and didn¿t want to tell ma, so he went to the town office to try to reason with them.
Pa doesn¿t want to tell ma so he thinks of a way to get money. So juice goes to the junkyard and finds a building to put all of her paps old metal working tools. So she takes pa to look at it and pa likes the idea so they take it home.
About a month later ma is having dizzy spells. She has a doctor check her blood and she has diabetes. So ma hast to keep poking her finger with a needle to draw blood.
Juice missed school so many times if she misses aging that they will be taken to court. So she starts to go to school and she is learning to read. Then one day she stayed home to make sure pa got out of the mud. When she got there the truck was stuck and ma was sick so she tried to help her and pa got out of the mud. Then a parole officer comes and hands ma a note. It says they will have a court date. But all in all everything comes all right. The story is correct. You don¿t get what you want all the time but you get what you need to survive. Exhilarating
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story Just Juice is a good story. There's this girl named Juice. She has two sisters. Her mother is pregnant. Her father lost his job and her mother makes shells, blankets, and other stuff to get money. Juice hates to go to school so she walks with he father to get pine cones for her mom to make stuff. She helps her mom as much as she can. Juice is missing too much days of school if she misses any more days they will have to pay a fine. Juices dad don't know how to read and he don't won't to tell ma. Juice is the only one that knows about him not knowing how to read. He goes to a job interview and gets stuck in the mud. Juice has to help her mom have a baby. She misses that day of school n they have to go to court Juices mom goes n takes care of everything. This is a great book I think you should read it because it's a book that is about life. There are different family's out there and this is one of them.
brooke_hoskin More than 1 year ago
Just Juice is about a girl named Juice and her family that is going through some problems. Juice is growing up in a poor family. She can¿t read and neither can her father. Juice¿s father doesn¿t work and Juice doesn¿t go to school because she is afraid the other kids will make fun of her because she can¿t read. Juice¿s father gets a notice in the mail about their taxes that they haven¿t paid in awhile. Juice¿s mother has diabetes and is expecting a baby. She also doesn¿t work. Juice and her dad open up the junkyard and turn it into a shop so that they don¿t lose their house because of the taxes. He doesn¿t show juice¿s mother though until later in the story. Juice helps her father in the shop, which is called The Land of Bones.

I think the theme of the book is to never give up. The reason is, is because the author mentions it throughout the book by the actions the characters make. Another thing is, is that you should never give up on your family and you should always help each other out, and never lie even if you¿re about to lose your house or if you¿re having some family issues.

I liked the book Just Juice, why because I thought it had a good message. After I read the book, I realized that being a family is important and to always stick together. Another thing is, is that going to school is very important because later on in life you¿ll have to use the things you learned like for an example reading. If you can¿t read like Juice cant then it¿ll be hard to get through life.

The mother is one of my favorite characters in the book. The reason why is because she reminds me of someone I know. She tries really hard to keep the family together, and I think she is a really good person. She really cares for her 5 kids, and I think when you¿re a mom you should care a lot for your children. She doesn¿t even work but she tries hard so they don¿t lose their house.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What I liked about this book is it made you realize how people that dont have as easy of a life as most do.How they are treated and how they make it through life with being poor.Also it has parts where the kids are telling how they feel and the book also tells how the parents feel.In the book it tells how juice doesn't like to go to school and stay at home with her dad and help him now that he's lost his job, but the state says she can't and she has to go to school.The book also allows you to think something but then after awhile it tells you what happend or what was said.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book even though I thought it was sad that juice¿s dad didn¿t have a job and her family was very poor. They were scared to lose their house and live in the street. Juice was scared about the house and school because she thought that she was dumb. Pa was trying very hard to save money to pay of the house. The story was sad but it had a happy ending Juice learn to read and they were able to save up money so that they would not lose their house.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the whole story was exciting, I enjoyed the story because I thought Juice was faithful to her father. I thought she was faithful because everyday she stayed home with him, kept him company and helped him around the house. She helped him to read the letter to keep the house and pay the taxes. She had helped him find a job, she also helped him build stuff and helped him sell the things he made.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book because it teaches you how hard life is when you are poor, it also shows you how important it is to get a good education and why you should stay in school. In the book, Juice is a normal girl who hates school cause she thinks it is just to hard. She sometimes gets embarrassed when she goes to school because she can¿t read. When her sister comes home they play pretend school and try to teach Juice to read. Juice didn¿t think it was working until one day when Juice helped deliver her new baby sister Sugar by reading the monitor right and giving her the right amount of sugar she needed, she was able to save her mother life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i read this book and it is so good. it's a great book for kids to see that all familes go through problems and that no family is perfect. this book is my all time favorite! im in the sixth grade and i already love this book! this book is my classes favorite book. every girl in my class loves this book including my teacher.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just Juice is a really great book! I think that it really is good for all kids to read. In the begginning of the story Juice is not getting ready for school and she needs to because a officer is looking for her. So she has to hurry up. I think that this book was really great, but I read oter books to!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is great book by the well known Author. Although it discusses childbirth and real life struggles, there's a good lesson to be learned from Juice. Just when she gives up hope she discovers her strength and realizes that learing is never too late. Most of all the love the family displays is what keeps her together. And don't we all want to be loved and accepted?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is about a girl who does not know how to read or spell. She skips school and helps her father with his troubles. She helps her father get work started an his life moving. This brave girl can't read or spell but can still do a lot of amazing things for herself and her family.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Though Karen Hesse is a great author, I didn't think this was her best work. It was good story. It's a good story of hope. People should have this book read to them if they can't read. It would insprie them to learn to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is a very good book! It teachs lessons in every part of the book! well read to find out how it teahces lessons! hope u enjoy the book!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
cool book