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Stuck in the Middle (of Middle School): A Novel in Doodles

Stuck in the Middle (of Middle School): A Novel in Doodles

4.2 5
by Karen Romano Young

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Moving is tough. Being the new kid in school is even tougher. But the hardest thing of all about the move that Doreen "Dodo" Bussey's family is making is that she suspects it might be because of her. She got into trouble at her last school.
On the drive to their new home, her mother gives Dodo a blank notebook, which she uses to chronicle the move, the first


Moving is tough. Being the new kid in school is even tougher. But the hardest thing of all about the move that Doreen "Dodo" Bussey's family is making is that she suspects it might be because of her. She got into trouble at her last school.
On the drive to their new home, her mother gives Dodo a blank notebook, which she uses to chronicle the move, the first days in a new city, and the ups and downs of starting a new school and making new friends. In the process, she reinvents herself as the Doodlebug. Her little sister seems to adjust to everything so easily—so why is it so hard for Dodo?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Doreen Bussey aka Dodo aka Doodlebug returns in this companion to Young’s Doodlebug (2010), which shares the loose, meandering, and very funny notebook-style format of its predecessor. As in that book, Doodlebug offers a handwritten and inventively illustrated account of her family’s continuing efforts to resettle in San Francisco. Tensions between Doodlebug’s parents, her sister’s efforts to fit in at school, and an upcoming school dance loom large in this installment. Throughout, Young has a gift for capturing Doodlebug’s scattered but perceptive outlook—“Permanent,” she writes (in permanent marker), “is a word that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with my family so far”—both in her writing and her authentically childlike illustrations. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Ramirose I. Attebury
Not your typical graphic novel, this unique creation combines illustrations, handwritten text, and, well, lots of doodles in a story about Doreen (aka Doodlebug) Busey, a middle-school student whose ADD is calmed by constant doodling. Conflict with a teacher who is dating the father of the boy she has a crush on, strife between her parents as their careers collide, angst about grades and an upcoming school dance, and sisterly concerns about her talented but sometimes conceited sister's social life combine to show the complexities of Doreen's life. The plot and subplots will keep middle-school readers interested and guessing what might happen next. At the same time, little side notes that dot each page offer quick, witty sound-bites. These add-ons may be distracting, but they nevertheless enhance the story and offer frequent opportunities to chuckle and snort while reading about Doreen's middle school challenges. Students and teachers alike will appreciate this fresh take on a novel, which could be touted in both art and literature classes. Most middle-school libraries and public libraries will want to incorporate this impressive effort into their collection. Reviewer: Ramirose I. Attebury
From the Publisher

“We can only hope that this amusing and touching title will soon have a sequel so that we can once again share in Dodo Doodlebug's world.” —Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

“Like Melissa Moss' Amelia books, Young presents the story as if it is Doodlebug's notebook, incorporating drawings, graphs, and different kinds of lettering that are an integral part of the story and make this insightful look into a middle-grader's life a pleasure to read.” —Booklist

“This novel's graphic format, showcasing narrator Doreen's clever doodles, will fascinate readers. They also will admire Doreen's spunk, honesty and problem-solving skills.” —The Topeka Capital-Journal

“Sure to inspire creativity in children and teach them they can overcome obstacles that they may encounter.” —The Kansas City Star

“Young provides an engaging story about how Dodo reinvents herself as the Doodlebug in her new school, tracking her year in an illustration-filled notebook.” —Scripps News

“* An engaging, original heroine, a satisfying story and lots of great pictures . . . Charming and thoughtful.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Doreen (aka Doodlebug) is still dealing with challenges in this sequel to Doodlebug: A Novel in Doodles (Feiwel & Friends, 2010). This time around, her parents are trying to figure out their new jobs, Doodlebug has a teacher who believes she is capable of more, and her first school dance is fast approaching. Will she be able to keep her ADHD in check and solve all of her problems, or are they beyond her control? This story is easy to relate to, with school and home struggles at the forefront, and readers will understand Doodlebug's feelings of guilt regarding the fact that her parents are fighting and her concern that her dad will leave her mom. The format will work well for some readers, as the doodles and conversational style will pull more reluctant readers into the story, but the busy pages may turn others off. Ultimately, this is a good addition to collections, especially for kids wanting more books like Jeff Kinney's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series (Abrams).—Elizabeth Swistock, Orange County Public Library, VA

Product Details

Feiwel & Friends
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)
500L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt


by Doreen Bussery (the one and only TRUE Doodle bug
Yo, get away from me, birds!
IT’s not like I have nothing better to do in my life than draw a million little stripes on skinny outlines of letters.
Then why doodle?
If you could see inside my head, you would understand.
Without a pen or pencil in my hand, my brain keeps on bringing up TOPICS.
Ack! Overload! Must jump up and act!
But put a pen in my hand and my big old brain can finally SHUT UP and in the new guiet, NOW! CAN HEAR BIRDS again and AIRPLANES flying over and PEOPLE sniffing and my beat and IT’S BETTER BETTER BETTER (except in MS. Farley's class) and Doodling saves lives! Is my new motto.
YEAH!! THINGS are good.
THINGS are great!
Elizabeth kaur / Colleen Callahan or, as she is known in these parts, the COOTIE CATCHER, is telling Morno's for tune with her paper-folding arts. “ You Will become a World - famous opera singer, Maureen.”
“NAH, I’m going to be a ROCK STAR.” And Mom says, “That's Morno for ya. She never Settles.” In the kitchen, Magic Marco Pinho says, “ you mean, nothing’s ever good enough for her?” (HIS CHEEKS ARE EVEN PINKER L THAN WHEN HE GOT HERE, AND THAT WAS ALREADY PRETTY PINK!) “Not a bit!” Says Dad. "She doesn’t let what anyone else says or does LIMIT her.”
And then he makes a great Proclamation: “EVERYBODY STOP SIGNS SHOULD MAKE THEIR OWN IN LIFE.”
Hooray for that idea but isn’t it time to get going?
This is the reason we are all here together at our house. All together, we are going to witness MOM’S big cottony moment:

Jolene Bussey
show us your underwear!!!
Her underwear SIGN.
AND NOW, MS.JOLENE BUSSEY BRINGS Cool, Clean, Cottony shine to the moon over S.F.!!
That’s you!
Serene as the moon
over San Francisco
We drove out of the city and came back until suddenly we saw it!!
I bopped momo on the head and said, “THAT’S MY MAMA!” She waved both hands and yelled, “THAT’S MY MAMA!” Dad sighed, “IT’S GORGEOUS, JO!” C.C. Said, “Those are the biggest un dies I’ve ever seen, Mrs. Bussey. Impressive!” Marco said, “Your very own Sign.” Mom said, “You are all very sweet.” And Smiled.
We dropped M.M. and C.C. off on our way home.
Marco lives in a tall, modern apartment house on top of the HIGEST hill.
“SWANKY!” says Mom.
“what does his father do?” asks Dad.
“Hes graphic artist,” Says Elizabeth.
“Oh, so it CAN be done!” says Mom.
Dad didn’t answer.
Lives in the cutest cottage in a long row of cute cottages. “Cute, but crow ded,” she says. “If only I was an only child.”
But she has 4 sisters.
“That’s a SWEET house,” says Dad.
“It doesn’t take a lot of money to be happy,” says mom.
There was a silent space in the car. “Will, that’s good!” Said Momo. “Since we don’t have a lot of MONEY”
I said, “Yeah, well, pretty soon, TIGHTY WHITEYS will be on all the big shots in the city!!”
MOMO said, “you mean all the Big Butts!!”
Mom said, “From your to God’s.”
I asked, “what will you buy?
Mom said, “A SWEET little house.”
DAD said “No, a SWANKY apartment.”
Momo asked, “Can we take SVEN?”
And we all answered, “Sven is Staci’s cat.”
Momo said, “Maybe he is just a little bit outs?” If EVERTHING around here feels like it is just a little bit ours, that is because we have tried to make it so.
By now it is ALMOST our house, our apartment, our stairs, our neighborhood, our roof, out cat, our city, our school, our life. But guess what?
Staci comes home in just 3 days.
We are maybe moving into a little house near the cootie Catcher’s cute cottage. It is for rent.
Yes, sir! We are staying.
DAD is still interim manager for now.
MOM’s underwear is all over the city. Hee hee.
MOMO has a solo in the choir’s spring concert. AND ME?
And Seven comes out and listens to us when we talk, but still won’t let us pet him.

Copyright © 2013 by Karen Romano Young

Meet the Author

Karen Romano Young is the author of over a dozen books for children, both fiction and nonfiction, including The Beetle and Me: A Love Story, which has won several state awards, received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly, and earned her a "Flying Start" in Publishers Weekly. She lives in Bethel, Connecticut, with her family.

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Stuck in the Middle (of Middle School): A Novel in Doodles 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
RRH1 More than 1 year ago
I got this and the previous Doodlebug book for my 8 year old niece. She read them both in record time and is now re-reading them because she loved them so much. I am so pleased with the books and thrilled that they made her so happy. I highly recommend them, kids love them! Great reading for kids.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Luv it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wanna be nook friends?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Does anyone want to have nook sex?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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