The Pity Party: 8th Grade in the Life of Me, Cass

Overview


The sequel to Alison Pollet's brilliant debut, NOBODY WAS HERE, follows quick-witted Cass Levin, through the rugged terrain of 8th grade at New York City's Elston Prep.

Why are there so many books about orphans? That's what Cass Levin wants to know. Why, just about every book on the reading list for her English class is about an orphan! Huckleberry Finn, Oliver Twist, Jane Eyre -- orphan, orphan, orphan! It's enough to make Cass, who just so ...

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Overview


The sequel to Alison Pollet's brilliant debut, NOBODY WAS HERE, follows quick-witted Cass Levin, through the rugged terrain of 8th grade at New York City's Elston Prep.

Why are there so many books about orphans? That's what Cass Levin wants to know. Why, just about every book on the reading list for her English class is about an orphan! Huckleberry Finn, Oliver Twist, Jane Eyre -- orphan, orphan, orphan! It's enough to make Cass, who just so happens to be an orphan herself, wonder: Is her English teacher out to get her?
Actually, when 8th grade begins, Cass feels like the entire school is out to get her. She's stuck in classes without her closest friends Penelope and Tillie to keep her company -- which is only made worse by the fact that they have all

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2005 (Vol. 73, No. 12))
Cass, the quirky, self-confident girl who appeared in Pollet's earlier Nobody Was Here (2004), about prep school life in the mid-1980s, is trying in eighth grade to sort out who she really is: orphaned child; invincible girl; third wheel? She's discovering that at 13 things start clanging around in disharmonious earnest. The garrulous boy seated behind Cass in English class seems to voice some of this turmoil. Rod is bold and not at all perfect, but their friendship is a gift, and his abrupt departure challenges Cass to try to find her own missing pieces. Pollet steers a neat and relatively innocent course through the troubled and murky waters of middle school. Readers will recognize Cass's lack of perspective and experience as their own, and there are moments enough of genuine warmth and humor that they will care what happens to her. 2005, Orchard, 160p, $15.95. Category: Fiction. Ages 10 to 12. © 2005 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.

Janis Flint-Ferguson (KLIATT Review, July 2005 (Vol. 39, No. 4))
The protagonist here is Cass Levin, being raised by her grandmother after the death of her parents and going into 8th grade with her best friends Penelope and Tillie. Well, not exactly with her best friends, since the school schedule shows that they are in entirely different classes. Cass makes friends with a new kid, Rod Punkin. Rod is witty and wise, but is he also a "behavioral problem." He calls out, mostly inappropriately, and gets thrown out of all the classes except English. When he is assigned to the same literature group as Cass, he shows his talent and demonstrates the know-how to put together a film, Olivia Twisted, the group's horror homage to Oliver Twist. The characters are typical young adolescents, but in the midst of middle school maneuvering there is also the story of Cass coming to terms with the long-ago death of her parents. As she tries to be friends with Rod, she also struggles with the childhood memories of losing her parents. Both situations come to a head when she runs away from a field trip and meets Rod in the summer cottage where she had spent time with her parents. In the end this is a poignant story of learning what it means to fit in. (Sequel to Nobody Was Here) Category: Hardcover Fiction. KLIATT Codes: J--Recommended for junior high school students. 2005, Scholastic, Orchard, 160p., $15.95. Ages 12 to 15.
SLJ 12/1/05
POLLET, Alison. The Pity Party: 8th Grade in the Life of Me, Cass. 149p. CIP. Scholastic/Orchard. 2005. Tr $15.95. ISBN 0-439-68194-4. LC 2004022331.
Gr 5-8–In this sequel to Nobody Was Here (Scholastic, 2004), readers get to know Penelope Schwartzbaum's friend Cass better. Orphaned when she was eight, she lives with her beloved guardian, Bea, and attends a New York City private school. Cass is devastated when she discovers that she does not have classes with her two best friends. While she is at first horrified that troublemaker Rod Punkin sits behind her in English class, the two eventually develop a friendship, and she begins to understand herself and why he is the way he is. She is able to come to terms with her parents' death, accept the benefits of counseling, and gain a sense of belonging. Inventive details, such as Cass's word lists, the comforting rhyming games she remembers playing with her mother, and the warm support of her art-collecting guardian and psychoanalyst aunt make this a first-rate purchase. Multilayered characters inhabit this complex, thoughtful book that beautifully hones in on middle-school friendships.–Debbie Stewart Hoskins, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI

Publishers Weekly
In a starred review, PW said that Alison Pollet's first novel set in a private Manhattan school in 1981, Nobody Was Here: 7th Grade in the Life of Me, Penelope, "gets all the details right, from how a clique attacks a victim to the trappings of a fancy bat mitzvah, then delves beneath the surface." In her second novel, The Pity Party: 8th Grade in the Life of Me, Cass, the author once again digs deep. In the same way that Penelope befriended honest, offbeat Cass Levin in the previous book, Cass now takes under her wing "spiky-headed" Rod Punkin-and middle school will never be the same. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-In this sequel to Nobody Was Here (Scholastic, 2004), readers get to know Penelope Schwartzbaum's friend Cass better. Orphaned when she was eight, she lives with her beloved guardian, Bea, and attends a New York City private school. Cass is devastated when she discovers that she does not have classes with her two best friends. While she is at first horrified that troublemaker Rod Punkin sits behind her in English class, the two eventually develop a friendship, and she begins to understand herself and why he is the way he is. She is able to come to terms with her parents' death, accept the benefits of counseling, and gain a sense of belonging. Inventive details, such as Cass's word lists, the comforting rhyming games she remembers playing with her mother, and the warm support of her art-collecting guardian and psychoanalyst aunt make this a first-rate purchase. Multilayered characters inhabit this complex, thoughtful book that beautifully hones in on middle-school friendships.-Debbie Stewart Hoskins, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Cass, the quirky, self-confident girl who appeared in Pollet's earlier Nobody Was Here (2004), about prep school life in the mid-1980s, is trying in eighth grade to sort out who she really is: orphaned child; invincible girl; third wheel? She's discovering that at 13 things start clanging around in disharmonious earnest. The garrulous boy seated behind Cass in English class seems to voice some of this turmoil. Rod is bold and not at all perfect, but their friendship is a gift, and his abrupt departure challenges Cass to try to find her own missing pieces. Pollet steers a neat and relatively innocent course through the troubled and murky waters of middle school. Readers will recognize Cass's lack of perspective and experience as their own, and there are moments enough of genuine warmth and humor that they will care what happens to her. (Fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439681940
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/1/2005
  • Series: The Pity Party
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 840L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.66 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2008

    A reviewer

    Believe it or not, this book is actually true. These things happen in everyday life. I love it cause it almost tell my life story of how I had to leave my friends. The only thing is, is that I left them in another school. This book is phenominal!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2007

    I haven't finished it yet but I'll rate it anyway

    I read 'nobody was here' and I absoluely loved it!!! And when I read the back I was like: 'OMG!! MOM! WE HAVE TO GO TO THE LIBRARY!!!' So I've been taking my time reading it,it's okay,nohing spectacular but okay,I haven't really gotten into it yet I'm at the part when Rod is expellled for some reason and Cass is searching everywhere trying to find him,but I dunno,this book is just kinda confusing and it didn't exactly spark my interest as 'Nobody was here' I forget the authors name but I'll give her one more chance to get me to like her books I was very much dissapointed. I reccomend this to you,this is just my opinion but I think you might not get into it as much as some of her other books. HAPPY READING!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2007

    Excellent!

    Another great book,following Nobody was Here. It has the characters from Nobody was Here, but that book is about Penolope's life, while this once is about Cass's. Outstanding.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2007

    A HEADACHE

    I didn't really like this book. I found it to be confusing. One minute I thought I was kind of understanding what was happening, then it jumped to another thing. I liked the book in the beginning, but as I continued reading, I became extremely confused. The main character Cass, her parents died and I think she lives with her aunt, but the book has so many different characters that I'm not sure about who she lives with. I think it's her aunt Doris. Cass seems to be a real weirdo to me. She has a dog named Sylvia Hemple and she doesn't really like her ,just because she doesn't sleep in her room anymore. Cass kind of makes friends with a boy named Rod Pumkin but he goes to a different school and he's weird just like her. He sees a phycologist, so does Cass. But no offense, I don't recommend this book to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2006

    excellent

    i liked the book very much make a scecond part please

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2006

    I havent read it but cant wait

    I AM SO EXCITED TO READ IT, I LOVED THE FIRST BOOK NOBODY WAS HERE!

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