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Planet Middle School
     

Planet Middle School

4.0 7
by Nikki Grimes
 

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For twelve years, Joylin Johnson's life has been just fine, thank you very much. A competitive game of basketball with the boys was all it took to put a smile on her face. Baggy jeans, tee shirt, and hair in a ponytail worked great seven days a week. Then, overnight, everything seemed to turn upside down at once. As if the changes to her body weren't bad enough, all

Overview

For twelve years, Joylin Johnson's life has been just fine, thank you very much. A competitive game of basketball with the boys was all it took to put a smile on her face. Baggy jeans, tee shirt, and hair in a ponytail worked great seven days a week. Then, overnight, everything seemed to turn upside down at once. As if the changes to her body weren't bad enough, all the neighborhood "boys" turned into "guys" when she wasn't looking. Who is she to be trying on dresses and batting her eyes to get attention? And why is Joylin powerless to make herself stop?


Between the pratfalls and the heartbreak, Joylin's journey from tomboy to young girl is beautifully told in poems that are alternatively funny, heartbreaking, and insightful. At its close, readers will remember the timeless truth at the center of Joylin's story: the most important kind of love is the love you have for yourself.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The story is by turns touching and laugh-out-loud funny, and readers will appreciate the time they spend with Joylin, her family, and her friends as they live, grow, and learn as individuals and together.” —SLJ, starred review, on Planet Middle School

“[Grimes'] accessible verse and clear themes of self-acceptance and open-mindedness ring true. A work that should help adolescent readers find the courage and humor to grow into the individuals they already are.” —Kirkus Reviews, on Planet Middle School

“[Grimes'] realistic novel has solid middle-school appeal and avoids preaching.” —Horn Book Magazine, on Planet Middle School

VOYA - Nancy Wallace
Twelve-year-old Joylin, enjoys hanging out in jeans and T-shirts with her friend, Jake, and playing a rough game of basketball. Then comes the embarrassment of growing up: her first bra, her first period, and Joylin feels as though she has lost her identity. Even the boys are treating her differently. She feels awkward and unsure. When Santiago catches her eye, she decides to do a make-over: makeup, a skirt, pierced ears, and a new hair style. Santiago already has a girl friend, though—one who looks remarkably like the old Joylin. Frustrated and upset, Joylin turns to her old friend, Jake, and finds that he likes her...just the way she is. This brief verse novel provides short snapshots of Joylin's life. Reminiscent of stream of consciousness, it gives the reader the inside track on Joylin's chaotic emotions and experiences: the misery of cramps, falling in her mom's high heels right in front of Santiago, and putting makeup on all wrong. Her feelings swing from raw to poignant. A secondary plot depicts her brother as a creative, artistic student with a sports-obsessed father. Joylin's gentle orchestration of their relationship lends a subtle serious tone to the story. This giddy portrayal of a girl going through puberty may be a real turnoff to older teens, but it will find an audience among younger boy-crazy adolescent girls who can identify with Joylin's conflicting emotions, hopes and dreams. Its length and subject matter will appeal to middle schoolers going through similar experiences. Reviewer: Nancy Wallace
Children's Literature - Marcie Flinchum Atkins
Joylin has always been a tomboy. She loves basketball and spends most of her time with her best guy friend, Jake, and her best girl friend, KeeLee. Then things start to change. She has to start wearing a bra, gets her period, and has zits. And something else starts to change: for the first time in her life, she starts to notice boys and is attracted to them. She trades in her sneakers for heels, and comfortable gym shorts for short skirts. She even gets her ears pierced and tries to wear makeup. They don't feel comfortable, but she wants a particular boy to notice her. Joylin spends her time coaching her artistic brother to be himself instead of trying to be a basketball player like her. Jake is shocked by the changes in her too. It isn't until the boy she likes starts dating another tomboy, and Jake is seriously injured in an accident, that she takes her own advice and learns to be happy with who she is. Grimes' beautiful novel in verse captures details in Joylin's life that will make the reader ponder and laugh out loud. Even with sparse words, Grimes fully paints her characters and makes the reader care about Joylin and her circle of friends. She distills middle school in all of its ups and downs into this stunning novel about personal acceptance. Reviewer: Marcie Flinchum Atkins
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Joylin has always been happy in blue jeans and a t-shirt playing hoops with Jake, her best guy friend. As she turns 13, all of a sudden she begins noticing boys and has to pick out training bras with her mother. Nikki Grimes uses her trademark verse poetry to tell this coming-of-age story (Wendy Lamb Books, 2011) about a young teen who begins to feel like an alien, faces the confusing world of "planet middle school," and tries to figure out exactly who she is. While many have a hard time reading novels in verse, listening to it is an entirely different experience. Poetry is at its best when read aloud, and this novel is no exception. Sisi Aisha Johnson takes Grimes's text and sculpts a very real young girl who is struggling with who she is and who she is becoming. She keeps Joylin's voice just young enough to sound convincing, and deftly handles the secondary characters, such Joylin's concerned mother, her best girlfriend, Jake, and others. Sure to resonate with middle school teens.—Shari Fesko, Southfield Public Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews

A young tomboy comes of age on and off the basketball court.

In free-flowing free-verse poems, multi–award-winning author and poet Grimes (A Girl Named Mister, 2010, etc.) here explores the riot of hormones and expected gender roles that can make negotiating the preteen years such a challenge. Twelve-year-old Joylin "Jockette" Johnson prefers jeans, T-shirts and one-on-one basketball games with her father or friend Jake to conforming to the more demure, feminine image her mother has of her. Sassy, self-assured Joy enjoys the simple math of her life—"friends / plus family / plus sports"—until she begins to notice "two weird mounds ruining / the perfect flatness / of [her] chest" and gets her first period, which she deems, "the end of life / as I know it." Beset by physical changes, Joy also finds herself witness and prey to unfamiliar behavior; Jake begins to show interest in her friend KeeLee, and Joy herself tries to adopt a more feminine persona to attract the attention of Santiago, a fellow basketballer with "sweet brown curls / bouncing above killer green eyes." Though Grimes' plot development is rather predictable—a life-threatening accident leads Joy to reassess her priorities—her accessible verse and clear themes of self-acceptance and open-mindedness ring true.

A work that should help adolescent readers find the courage and humor to grow into the individuals they already are. (Verse fiction. 9-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781599907277
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
09/13/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
160
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling author Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include ALA Notable book, What is Goodbye?, the novels Jazmin's Notebook, Dark Sons, The Road to Paris (Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books) and the bestselling Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope. Creator of the popular Meet Danitra Brown, Ms. Grimes was born and raised in New York City and now lives in Corona, California.

www.nikkigrimes.com

Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include ALA Notable book, What is Goodbye?, the novels Jazmin's Notebook, Dark Sons, and The Road to Paris (Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books). Creator of the popular Meet Danitra Brown, Ms. Grimes lives in Corona, California.

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Planet Middle School 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a preaty good book an di am almost done with it. The way it is wrote reminds me of I Heart You, You Haunt Me, which is alsp a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best book ever i have read. I would think this book would be good for you all
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVED THIS BOOK! READ IT! IT GIVES ADVICE ABOUT MIDDLE SCHOOL TOO!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thizs was not even close to helpful..... i read my cousins hardcover addition and it stunk......
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The poems are expresive, lovely, beautiful, abstract, and creative; but the sample is only "22" pages long, which seems pretty lengthy for a free sample- only the title page, acknowledgements, and table of contents are so long ithat the sample is about 4 pages; the equivalent of 2 1/2 poems! Good poetry, but way too short! Buy the real thing if you have the money for it! BAAAAAD SAMPLE! NOTE: The poems are 4 stars, but the length is 0 stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My name is Milkway, and I could make an exemplary Forrest Deputist on the quest for the Jekk king. I have forty eight emeralds and am also really responsible. I come from the Lightning stone clan. I would greatly appreciate it if I was chosen.