Thursday, February 23, 2012

Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes

Book Jacket

For twelve years, Joylin's life was just fine, thank you very much.  A rough game of basketball with the guys was all it took to put a smile on her dirt-smudged face.

But then, overnight, her body starts changing without her permission.  Suddenly boys are all she can think about.  Where did these crazy ideas, like trying on dresses and batting her eyes, come from?  Any why can't she stop thinking about Santiago?  Does he even know she exists?  Any day now, Joylin might become someone she doesn't even know...or like.

Then an accident takes more than just her breath away, and all the weirdness of life screams to a halt, as Joylin is reminded of what really matters and who her true friends are. 

Looking for love can be funny, embarrassing, and even downright yucky, and award-winning author Nikki Grimes captures it all brilliantly.


Oh man.  It was painful to relive adolesence through Joylin, and by painful, I mean hilarious and embarrassing.  I remember that confusion of "why am I doing this!?" and scoping out other girls to see what I should be like.  Grimes manages to deal with that huge teenage identity crisis in a concise novel in verse, and for that I am super impressed.

I absolutely adored Joylin's best friend KeeLee.  She is a precher's kid who gets it.  She knows she isn't perfect, and she wants to be seen as a person and not a label.  But she does rebel and try to be bad--she genuinely wants to talk to God and do right.  She is Joylin's beacon of hope, and their relationships strains were painful to watch because...KeeLee!  She should be in everyone's life!  I especially liked when she explains to Joylin that she tried wearing heels for herself, but Joylin was trying skirts for a boy.  And that makes all the difference.

Ironically, the biggest plot twist, with the accident that is mentioned at the very beginning, did nothing for me.  I don't even think it is really necessary.  Should have done without.

Ooo, but also I liked Joylin's family.  Caden seems like a really cool kid, and I would love for him to be my younger brother.  The pressures of their father felt real, but so did his slow appreciation of his kids for who they are. 

Four out of five navy blue outfits.

Release Date: September 2011
Reading Level: Grade 5+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: Not currently a part of our collection.

1 comment:

  1. I was so excited when I saw your comment that you had gotten to read this one. And "Four out of five navy blue outfits" just made me laugh :) Kee-Lee was by FAR the best character in this book. I loved it when she was explaining (to Jake I think?) why he wasn't actually cursing on the court. I wish I could remember that quote... And I TOTally agree about the end. It just seemed over the top and unnecessary.