This Journal Belongs to Ratchet [NOOK Book]

Overview

"A book that is full of surprises ...Triumphant enough to make readers cheer; touching enough to make them cry."—Kirkus, STARRED Review


If only getting a new life were as easy as getting a new notebook.

But it's not.


It's the first day of school for all the kids in the neighborhood. But not for me. I'm homeschooled. That means nothing new. No new book bag, no new ...

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This Journal Belongs to Ratchet

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Overview

"A book that is full of surprises ...Triumphant enough to make readers cheer; touching enough to make them cry."—Kirkus, STARRED Review


If only getting a new life were as easy as getting a new notebook.

But it's not.


It's the first day of school for all the kids in the neighborhood. But not for me. I'm homeschooled. That means nothing new. No new book bag, no new clothes, and no friends - old or new. The best I've got is this notebook. I'm supposed to use it for my writing assignments, but my dad never checks. Here's what I'm really going to use it for:


Ratchet's Top Secret Plan

Project Goal: turn my old, recycled, freakish, friendless, motherless life into something shiny and new.


This year, I'm going make something change.


"One of the freshest new voices I've heard in a while...A book for young readers to enjoy, discuss, then read all over again, this debut novel is a winner."—Augusta Scattergood, Author of GLORY BE, an Amazon Best Middle Grade Novel of 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Eleven-year-old Ratchet records her observations, complaints (“Everything in my life is old and recycled”), worries, and goals (“To be a girl who fits in—hopefully one with a friend”) in a series of writing exercises for her language arts “class” (she’s homeschooled by her single father) in Cavanaugh’s debut novel. But fitting in is difficult for a girl nicknamed after a mechanic’s tool, who doesn’t have a mother, doesn’t attend a “real” school, and spends her days helping her “crazy environmentalist” father fix cars. Worse, her father’s outspoken political views have won him the wrong kind of publicity around town, and his battle to save Moss Tree Park from becoming a strip mall looks like a lost cause. Cavanaugh uses bold, often humorous first-person narration to capture the essence of an unconventional heroine struggling to figure out who she is supposed to be. Ratchet’s journal—written on lined paper and filled with a medley of lists, poems, stories, essays, and doodles—offers an enticing blend of strong social views, family secrets, and deeply felt emotions. Ages 9–up. Agent: Holly Root, Waxman Leavell Literary Agency. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"A book that is full of surprises . . . Triumphant enough to make readers cheer; touching enough to make them cry." - Kirkus

"Cavanaugh uses bold, often humorous first-person narration to capture the essence of an unconventional heroine struggling to figure out who she is supposed to be. Ratchet's journal-written on lined paper and filled with a medley of lists, poems, stories, essays, and doodles-offers an enticing blend of strong social views, family secrets, and deeply felt emotions." - Publishers Weekly

"One of the freshest new voices I've heard in a while, 11-year-old Rachel (AKA Ratchet) is handy with tools, homeschooled, and the kind of vulnerable kid you'd love know. A book for young readers to enjoy, discuss, then read all over again, this debut novel is a winner. " - Augusta Scattergood, Author of GLORY BE, an Amazon Best Middle Grade Novel of 2012

"The book's journal format, which shows Ratchet writing in various styles as she completes her language arts assignments, allows debut author Cavanaugh to cover a lot of ground thematically. Ratchet is a thoroughly relatable character whose wish for normalcy will strike a chord with readers." - Booklist

"Bottom line: I cannot imagine a middle grade classroom or library where this book wouldn't be popular. " - Colby Sharp, sharpread

"This heartfelt story of an 11-year-old girl being raised by a very different single dad . . . Ratchet is a memorable heroine; the vivid portrayal of what it's like to have no money for nice clothes and other things Americans take for granted will give readers something to think about." - The Buffalo News

Kirkus Reviews
An 11-year-old home-schooled girl who longs to live like everyone else learns that her strange life with her father may be weird, but it's also wonderful. Ratchet, whose real name is Rachel, lives with her father, a "crazy environmentalist," who believes that he has a God-given mission to save the Earth. In consequence, Ratchet, who lost her mom when she was 5, wears thrift-shop clothing and helps her father repair cars in their driveway. This makes her both an able mechanic and a magnet for the derision of the neighborhood kids. Ratchet longs to go to school, to buy cute clothing and, most significantly, to make a friend. In a book that is full of surprises, it turns out that assisting her protest-junkie father in his court-ordered community service as a go-cart–building instructor is the catalyst she needs. This is how she will find female helpers and role models, make a friend and even save a little piece of the world. The story has a gimmick; it consists entirely of entries in the language-arts notebook Ratchet uses to record her home-school assignments. At first it seems artificial, with observations that are too on-the-nose. But as the novel's unexpectedly multifaceted plot comes together, it becomes increasingly compelling, suspenseful and moving. Triumphant enough to make readers cheer; touching enough to make them cry. (Fiction. 9-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402281075
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/2/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 186,917
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Nancy J. Cavanaugh has a BS in education and an MA in curriculum and instruction with multiple published works. She was a teacher for more than fifteen years and currently works as a Library Media Specialist at an elementary school. Nancy lives in Tarpon Springs, FL with her husband and daughter. Visit nancyjcavanaugh.com
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Read an Excerpt

Writing Exercise: Write about your life.

Writing Format—FREEWRITING: Writing openly and freely on any topic.


Everything in my life is old and recycled.


* The kitchen table and chairs—Salvation
Army.


* Living room furniture—AMVETS.


* TV—Motel
8's going out of business giveaway.



Even worse, I look like I belong in a museum of what not to wear with my Goodwill store clothes.



Dad's motto: "If the Good Lord wanted us to throw everything away, he would've put a Dumpster right outside the Garden of Eden."



I want to say, "Not likely, Dad"; but I don't argue with him. Especially when he's talking about the Good Lord.



Even so, I wish we'd lose all this junk so we could start over. Because it's hard to look good in faded T-shirts that are too big. Jean shorts that are out of style. And my blond hair with no style at all thanks to coupons at Super Snips.



Today could be a day to start over. It's the first day of school for all the kids in the neighborhood. But not for me.
I'm homeschooled. That means nothing new.


*No new book bag.


*No new clothes.


*No new shoes.


*No friends—new or old.


Just Dad and me and a bunch of smelly old textbooks from the library book sale. And a garage full of broken-down cars that need fixing.



So I sit at the chipped and dented kitchen table doing my assignments. Wishing I were in a real classroom. With real classmates. And a real teacher.



A teacher who says, "Good morning," and smiles.



A teacher who reads my assignments and writes "Great job!" and "Way to go!" on my papers with glitter pens and funky colored markers.



Dad just glances at my work without really reading it.
I know he doesn't really read it because one time for a social studies paper I wrote, "Abraham Lincoln's nose is bigger than his hat," two hundred times. Dad put a check mark at the top of the paper and wrote, "Keep the engine running!"



It was proof that Dad did not really read my work and even more proof that Dad is really out there somewhere on some automotive planet all his own because who would write, "Keep the engine running!" on top of a paper about Abraham Lincoln?



As long as I do my homeschool work, Dad thinks he's being a great teacher.



Dad's out in the garage yelling, "Ratchet!"



I don't think he's ever called me by my real name,
Rachel. At least not since I can remember. Says I've always reminded him of a ratchet the way my help makes all his jobs easier.



I've been fixing cars with him since I was six.



Dad yells again, "I could use a hand out here!"



So I'll put down my pencil, even though I hate to because it's new. It's real wood. (Not the fake plastic kind.) Purple sparkles. A super sharp point. And a perfect eraser. But I'll put it down anyway and go out to the garage and hand Dad tools for the rest of the afternoon.


What would I rather be doing? Getting off a real school bus with some real school friends after a real day of school.



What will I be doing? Maybe a brake job or a transmission flush or a fan belt replacement. Hopefully not another oil change. My hands are finally almost clean from the one we did last week.



None of the things an ordinary eleven-year-
old girl should be doing. But when your nickname is Ratchet, you're not an ordinary girl.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2014

    Jazmyne

    This is a great book people should really buy this book!

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

    Posted October 30, 2013

    Ratchet is a consistently interesting and endearing main charact

    Ratchet is a consistently interesting and endearing main character, and her journal, which includes poems and even a creative writing project, is great fun. A terrific book!

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

    Posted June 26, 2013

    Great book! It was a heartwarming tale told through the eyes of

    Great book! It was a heartwarming tale told through the eyes of a girl who wants just one thing--to fit in. We follow her struggles and triumphs through various experiences via her journal entries. Each 'chapter' was written in the form of a different style of writing under the guise of one of Ratchet's home-school writing assignments--poetry, prose, free writing, interviews, etc. It was effortless to connect to Ratchet, which is essential in any good book. Although I am no longer a middle-grade reader (I wish!), I found that I simply could not put this book down! It was funny, touching, heartfelt, and simply a great read. Nancy J. Cavanaugh really has hit the nail on the head with this one, and I can't wait to hear more from her!. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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