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What Would Joey Do? (Joey Pigza Series #3)

What Would Joey Do? (Joey Pigza Series #3)

4.1 36
by Jack Gantos

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Reader t.b.a.
approx. 4 hours
3 cassettes
Are they flirting or fighting? This is Joey Pigza’s question when the fireworks suddenly start to explode between his long-separated mom and dad, whom he’s never really had a chance to see together. The more out of control his parents get, the less in control Joey feels and the more he wants to help make


Reader t.b.a.
approx. 4 hours
3 cassettes
Are they flirting or fighting? This is Joey Pigza’s question when the fireworks suddenly start to explode between his long-separated mom and dad, whom he’s never really had a chance to see together. The more out of control his parents get, the less in control Joey feels and the more he wants to help make things better. But Joey’s ailing, tell-it-like-it-is grandmother wants her grandson to see it like it is with his unpredictable parents. Knowing that she is fading fast, she needs Joey to hurry up and show that he can break the Pigza family mold by making a friend in the outside world. The only potential candidate, however, is Olivia Lapp–Joey’s blind home schooling partner, who brags that she is “blind as a brat” and gets meaner to Joey the more desperate he gets for her friendship–even if Joey senses there’s more to her than meets the eye.
In this dazzling conclusion to the Joey Pigza trilogy, Jack Gantos’s acclaimed hyperactive hero is discovering that settling down isn’t good for anything if he can’t find a way to stop the people he cares about from winding him up all over again.

About the Author: Jack Gantos lives in Boston, Massachusetts, and is also the author of the Jack Henry books and a recent memoir for young adults, Hole in My Life. His first book about Joey Pigza, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, was a National Book Award Finalist. Its sequel, Joey Pigza Loses Control, was a Newbery Honor Book.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The final title in the saga that includes the Newbery Honor book Joey Pigza Loses Control finds the hero flustered by his parent's questionable reunion and his ailing grandmother's efforts to push Joey to make friends. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Joey's back, and this time he's not doing as much of the "weird Joey stuff" as usual. Now that he's ready to be "Mr. Helpful," it seems that everyone around him needs more help than he can give. His mom and dad have crazy fights involving motorcycle crashes, kidnapped Chihuahuas, and a restraining order. Joey's new homeschool partner is Olivia, a blind girl who earns the title of "Mistress of All Evil," and whose fundamentalist mother teaches them. And Grandma, the person who best understands Joey, is dying. The boy's first-person narration is as frenetically fun as it was in the first two books. Here, though, his energy and insights are turned more on those around him, and he turns out to be terrifically perceptive. His observations are totally believable because he vividly recalls (and sometimes still indulges in) dysfunctional behavior. His ability to connect with several diversely troubled personalities sets up many humorous scenes. A convoluted, but oddly logical scheme involving Olivia, Grandma, and tickets to Godspell culminates in the boy's touching (and very funny) first date. By book's end, Joey has lost a loved one, but he has gained enough confidence, and even wisdom, to look out for himself without letting his external problems overwhelm him or hold him back. Readers who don't know Joey will have no trouble jumping right in with this book, and those who have met him in the previous books will enjoy the way "Mr. Helpful" tries to set things right in a chaotic and uniquely amusing world.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Clad in black leather, Carter Pigza motorcycles into town like some mad vampire on the loose, with Mrs. Pigza chasing after him with a broom, looking like a witch about to take flight. Grandma huffs on the tube from her oxygen tank, threatening to shrivel into a zombie and haunt Joey for eternity. Moreover, Joey’s only friend happens to be the baddest blind girl in town. Welcome to Joey’s world. Hard to believe that Joey is the almost-normal one in this third and last installment in the chronicles of Joey Pigza. With his med patches, Joey has gotten better, but nobody else has. As in Joey Pigza Loses Control (2000), Humpty Dumpty is a powerful metaphor. In a world of untogether people—like Humpty after his fall—Joey wants to be together, even the one to make the whole world better. But it’s a hard thing for a boy with problems of his own to be in charge of keeping house, family, and hope from being blown to smithereens. Images of monsters, allusions to fairy tale characters, and sparkling similes make for a wild tale. However, it’s not just a funny story with nutty parents out of control, it’s a poignant story of family, loss, lessons learned, and one boy’s learning to make his way in the world with confidence and good cheer. This work easily stands by itself, but readers new to Joey Pigza will rush out to get the others, too. A must read. (Fiction. 10+)
From the Publisher

“Joey . . . is an impossible, contradictory, glorious creation.” —Liz Rosenberg, The Boston Sunday Globe

“* Joey isn't leading the easiest of lives, but he's a tough and triumphant kid with an absorbing story.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

“In Joey Pigza, Mr. Gantos has meticulously crafted the voice of a troubled kid with a solid center of goodness. Joey tells his own story, and it reads like a ride in a car without brakes.” —Sue Corbett, Knight Ridder News Service

“* Joey emerges as a sympathetic hero, and his heart of gold never loses its shine.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“* Readers will cheer for Joey, and for the champion in each of us.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“Stepping into Joey Pigza's skin isn't easy . . . But it's worth the discomforting fit.” —Deirdre Donahue, USA Today

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Joey Pigza Series , #3
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.48(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

What Would Joey Do?

Chapter One


About three weeks ago Dad suddenly showed up in town and started buzzing us on his motorcycle at all hours of the day and night. At first I was afraid because I thought he had come to get me, but I was wrong. He was much more interested in Mom. I lost track of how many times he roared down our street and ran the corner traffic light past Quips Pub, where Mom lounged in the leather window seat sipping a mixed drink with her new boyfriend while making plans for her future. Dad must have spotted her there during one of his rounds. He didn't say anything, but he'd look at her in the window like she was something he wanted. Then, he'd blast off. If it was dark out, I could look through my back bedroom window and between the lines of damp laundry catch his single jittery headlight brightly striking the white marble tombstones lined up like crooked teeth behind our yard as he cut through St. Mary's Cemetery and raced out and around the neighborhood making a crazy eight before he looped back down Plum Street and past our house again. He must have been watching her closely because sometimes he'd show up the minute she got home from work. Then, her face would go red and I'd watch her run out to the front porch and yell at him as he raced by, but the louder she yelled the louder he revved the engine.

"I'm losing my patience with that man," Mom would say when she came back inside, pacing wildly up the hall, swinging around and down again, past the furniture and me and Pablo and Grandma, as if she too were on a motorcycle that was darting past us.

"If you didn't yell at him I bet he'd get bored and go home," I said once while trying to be helpful.

"He'd better return to the hole he lives in," she said, "or I'll send him into the next kingdom."

"Just ignore him," I advised. "It'll drive him nuts."

"And I'll go nuts if I don't yell at him," she replied.

I knew Dad. Yelling at him was only going to make him want to yell back twice as loud. The only way Mom could be louder than him was to be quiet. He couldn't stand to be ignored and Mom couldn't stand to be quiet, so I knew something bad was on the way. I could feel it coming, just as I could hear his motorcycle circling.

And then it finally happened. We were out on the front porch late one afternoon.

I was squatted down behind a wooden railing, holding my dog Pablo and peeking out between the slats, while Mom was on the top step hollering at Dad. The muffler on his motorcycle was dragging across the asphalt and a steady stream of sparks trailed behind him like the lighted fuse on a bomb that was headed right at our house. He looked like a giant black bat in his studded leather biker outfit with his hands raised up in the air on his chopper handlebars and his shiny blue-eyed wraparound sunglasses clamped tight against his bony face. He had already circled our block about ten times in a row and each time he got a little closer to the house, as if he were zeroing in on a target. He was really flying and when he reached our yard he jerked up on his handlebars and lifted his front wheel over the stone curb. When his back wheel hit the curb the rear of the chopper bounced up and almost catapulted him forward. Still, he hung on and landed with a smack back in his seat as he fishtailed across the sidewalk and headed straight for the porch.

But Mom was waiting for him, and she was ready for a fight. As soon as he jumped the curb she sprang forward and bolted down the porch stairs with a broom held up over her head as if she would swat him like a biker vampire who had come to suck our blood. But when she reached the bottom stair and leaped forward he stuck out his leg with a huge, nasty boot on the end of it and without flinching knocked her back on her butt as he turned and roared across our rutted dirt yard and toward the street. She bounced just once and flattened out like something heavy dropped from the roof as he laughed, or cursed, or announced his return -- I couldn't tell which because of the engine noise, and with Mom's yelling and Pablo's yapping in my ear, I couldn't hear anything clearly. Then, as he flew off the yard, his muffler hit the curb and suddenly there was an explosion of sparks like a comet smashing into the earth, only it was his muffler flipping into the air and spinning like a pinwheel, showering the street with sparks. Instantly the engine noise was a hundred times louder and I had to drop Pablo to cover my ears as Dad snarled down to the end of the block where he turned right and I could hear him open the throttle along the straightaway and rattle the windows across the neighborhood, across all of Lancaster, maybe the whole state of Pennsylvania.

And then Mom scrambled to her feet and raised her fist in the air. "So you want to play dirty?" she hollered. "I'll show you what dirty is!" She charged up the porch stairs two at a time. "Outta my way," she panted, and rushed past me with her broom held forward like a witch about to launch herself.

"Are you okay?" I asked. "Are you hurt?"

"This time I'm gonna kill that creep," she promised with a murderous look on her face that made her words seem real to me. "I should've done it years ago and put him out of my misery."

I followed her into the house.

"I don't think you should kill him," I said, and held on to the back end of the broom. "He's just a nut."

"A dangerous pain-in-the-butt nut," she replied, and yanked the broom away. "He can't scare me, but I'm gonna make him pay for messing with you."

"Don't do it because of me," I said. "Just leave him alone and he'll go away."

"No, this time he has to pay."

"But he doesn't owe me anything," I pleaded. "Just lock the door and call the police."

What Would Joey Do?. Copyright © by Jack Gantos. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Jack Gantos has written books for people of all ages, from picture books and middle-grade fiction to novels for young adults and adults. His works include Hole in My Life, a memoir that won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert Honors, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist, Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor book, and Dead End in Norvelt, winner of the Newbery Medal and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction.

Jack was raised in Norvelt, Pennsylvania, and when he was seven, his family moved to Barbados. He attended British schools, where there was much emphasis on reading and writing, and teachers made learning a lot of fun. When the family moved to south Florida, he found his new classmates uninterested in their studies, and his teachers spent most of their time disciplining students. Jack retreated to an abandoned bookmobile (three flat tires and empty of books) parked out behind the sandy ball field, and read for most of the day. The seeds for Jack's writing career were planted in sixth grade, when he read his sister's diary and decided he could write better than she could. He begged his mother for a diary and began to collect anecdotes he overheard at school, mostly from standing outside the teachers' lounge and listening to their lunchtime conversations. Later, he incorporated many of these anecdotes into stories.

While in college, he and an illustrator friend, Nicole Rubel, began working on picture books. After a series of well-deserved rejections, they published their first book, Rotten Ralph, in 1976. It was a success and the beginning of Jack's career as a professional writer. Jack continued to write children's books and began to teach courses in children's book writing and children's literature. He developed the master's degree program in children's book writing at Emerson College and the Vermont College M.F.A. program for children's book writers. He now devotes his time to writing books and educational speaking. He lives with his family in Boston, Massachusetts.

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What Would Joey Do? (Joey Pigza Series #3) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book i think its a must read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in school and now i am reading it every day
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book because it gave me alot of laughs. This book was about joey and his parents got divorced and his parents try to get along with each other. But you will just have to read this book to find out what happens!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book What Would Joey Do? is a very interesting book. It is bout Joey, a kid who has ADHD. He I always hyper and has a lot of family problems. His grandmother is a lady who is always talking about how she is going to die and his mother and father are always getting into arguments. Not only does Joey have problems in his house but also in his school. He is home schooled at one of his mother¿s fiend¿s house. He has problems in school because he has to help out a blind girl who is very mean to him and is always trying to get him into trouble. The only friend that Joey has is his Chihuahua, but Joey has a big problem when his Chihuahua stolen. I liked this book because it shows that there is no perfect family and it also shows that children with disabilities or with violent parents have a very rough life. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to listen to or read adventurous books. This book is full of adventures that Joey has because of his rough life. I would also recommend this book to abusive parents so that they can learn that they are really hurting their children by having so much violence around them. I would give this book three and a half stars out of five because it was fun to read but with a lot of unnecessary detail.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book that I read was â¿¿What Would Joey Do?â¿ This book starts out with Joey Pigza telling us about his Dad riding his motorcycle around the house driving Mom mad. They do this for weeks until Dad crashes and lands in a tree with a branch in his side. Joeyâ¿¿s Dad gets away from the hospital and starts it up again. Mom hides with Booth. Joey is home schooled with Olivia Lapp. Olivia is a blind girl with a bad temper. Joey has to take care of his Grandma that just licks stamps and letters for her lung transplant. Dad steals all the dogs like Joeyâ¿¿s dog to try to get Joey to meat with him. Joey meats him and takes the dogs with him to return the dogs. On Thanksgiving Day it was fine until Dad came and Mom started throwing things at him, she even throws knives. A couple of days latter Grandma died. At the funeral his parents are fighting again so Joey leaves. He goes to Miss. Lapp if Olivia and he could go to Godspell. If you want to find out what happens you will have to read the book, â¿¿What Would Joey do?â¿ I liked this book because it has a lot of entertainment in it. This book is in a series but you can read it in any order. People that will like this book is with parents that are always fighting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I know many people have commented about this book and said it's great, deserving a 5 star. I give it four, since it's not the best ever. It's a great book to read but reading the back summary gives all the information and surprise.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I ever read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi guys! I still haven't found my nook, I'm on my mom's right now. But don't worry, I'll be up and writing again soon! ~J10
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Today is my bithday -Haidn
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Crazy joey funy book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This thing is kool
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Guest More than 1 year ago
One thing that was action packed was that Joey¿s dad gets hurt pretty bad by the mom. She hits him with a broom and knocks him off his bike. After he started to fly through the air he hits a tree and gets hurt pretty bad. There is one sad thing and that is that Joey¿s grandma dies. The doctors said she died for lung cancer. One more thing is that the mom and dad don¿t get back together. It¿s all because the mom doesn¿t want to. this is a great book and that¿s why I would recommend it for everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What Would Joey Do is the best book in the Joey Pigza series. Jack Gantos puts you right in the shoes of Joey Pigza. His great attention to detail makes Joey come alive on the pages. I could not put this book down! I read it cover to cover and wanted more when I was done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worst book ever so babyish
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book is horribke
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joey is weird.