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The Edumacation of Jay Baker (Christy Ottaviano Books) Hardcover – January 31, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Christy Ottaviano Books
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805092560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805092561
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,472,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* First off: not a thing happens here that’s unusual for a teen, or a teen book for that matter. Jay Baker nurses a crush on his longtime best friend, Cam; becomes an emotional mess after his parents’ separation; clashes with his homecoming-queen older sister; and weathers a feud with a pushy jock who could squash him like a bug. But the magic lies in the telling. Jay, a large-hearted wiseass who’s nearly impossible to dislike, has a narrative patter so deeply laced with groaner puns, pop-culture bombs, and warp-speed free associations that it’s almost a new language. It’s an argot he shares with vivacious Cam (whose real name, hilariously, is Cameo Appearance Parnell), but after he gets rebuffed trying to share a bit more with her, he starts seeing another cutie who’s more or less the anti-Cam. While their awkward love triangle takes shape, Jay’s parents get mired in their own supremely embarrassing love-life disaster. To help him out of his funk, Jay’s government teacher (who can match him bon mot for bon mot) challenges him to use his considerable powers of clever to write a school blog. OK, so it’s not the most thrilling goal ever, but getting there is both flippantly fun and surprisingly resistant to ironic detachment. Most of all, though, Jay’s smarts, originality, and warmth make the old teen trope of the hot girl(s) falling for the doofus guy actually believable. Grades 8-11. --Ian Chipman

Review

"The Edumacation of Jay Baker has something for everyone, and hopefully you'll emerge smarter for having read it."--Teenreads.com

"I don't remember the last time I laughed out loud so often while reading a book."--Mundie Moms Blog 

“Readers eager to give both their hearts and their brains an energetic work-out will enjoy this mash-up…”--BCCB
 
“Jay’s smarts, originality, and warmth make the old teen trope of the hot girl(s) falling for the doofus guy actually believable.”--Booklist, Starred Review

More About the Author

The Edumacation of Jay Baker is the debut young adult novel of ... none other than Jay Clark. A tennis enthusiast and former teaching pro, Jay's essays and articles have appeared in The Washington Post and Tennis Magazine.

Until recently, Jay resided in Columbus, Ohio, in a condo owned by his sister, paying his post-grad dues at various lame jobs for zero financial gain. He did hold a gym membership during this dead-end tenure, albeit by masquerading as his sister's "husband" on her corporate account. Jay now lives in Virginia with his girlfriend, Caroline Baker, whom he met through a tennis blog (long story). Things are looking up.

Customer Reviews

Brilliant humor, amazing story.
J. Kellogg
Meet Jay Baker - self deprecating, witty, hopelessly in love, and in the midst of his parents' marital crisis.
delicateflower152
I highly recommend this book for teen and adult readers.
Katie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By April VINE VOICE on March 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Edumacation Of Jay Baker by Jay Clark is a young adult contemporary novel about a boy whose parents are divorcing and the effects of the divorce on him. Jay is an average freshman boy for the most part, he's got a huge crush on his best friend Cameo Parnell, is running for student government and has an enemy, Mike Hibbert, who likes to rhyme Jay with other words.

The Edumacation Of Jay Baker by Jay Clark is mostly a book about self-discovery. It's a book about not defining yourself by others, but by the things you are good at and care about. I'm being purposefully vague, but Jay Baker certainly has a lot to learn.

The best element of The Edumacation of Jay Baker is the humor. Reading about Jay trading barbs with Mike is laugh out loud funny. Plus, Jay is very self-deprecating which is something I appreciate in a YA character. Also, there's one character, a teacher, who is a hoot and zany and wonderful.

However, The Edumacation Of Jay Baker is not a perfect read. Jay's love interests, Cameo and Caroline, are bland and never seem very three dimensional. There is not much nuance going on with the two. Also the book is weighed down by excessive pop culture references. It felt like every other sentence contained one.

If you're looking for a young adult take on divorce with a light tough and don't mind excessive pop culture references, by all means check out The Edumacation of Jay Baker by Jay Clark.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. R. Rikard on March 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
From the moment I picked this book up, until the last page, I was laughing; even in the parts that were more serious I still got a chuckle. I'm not sure how much of an autobiography this book is, but it reminded me a lot of Sherman Alexie's Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian. In this book, Jay Baker is a freshman who is not the leader of the "nerd herd", but definitely not part of the popular crowd. He uses humor and sarcasm to overcome a boy who bullies him during the freshman class president election, and self-deprecating humor to handle all the other bad things coming up in his life right now: including his parents' "trial separation", his life-long unrequited crush on his friend Cameo "Appearance" Parnell, and finding a new girl in his life who kicks his butt at tennis and in love.
The book is a very fast read because it's set up into small "songs". He has disc one and disc two and then each chapter has been renamed for a popular song...and his titles are extremely creative and extremely funny. I will admit he has so many pop culture references it could make you a little dizzy - and students are not going to catch them all - but he is so clever, I just loved it. As a librarian, I can recommend this for grades 9 and up because it has some crude humor, references to masturbation, and of course he's a teenage boy who thinks about sex... a lot. But if you have reluctant boy readers looking for a book, this will hit the target. And I'm sure the girls would enjoy it as well.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lauri Crumley Coates VINE VOICE on March 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I don't even want to think about how long it's been since I was this kid's age. Even my own child is long past this age. But anyone with any memories of those marvelous (?) tween and teen years will find so much to identify with and laugh at here. Another reviewer compared the author to Chelsea Handler, but not quite so inappropriate, and I agree wholeheartedly. Written from the view of a 15 year old angst ridden boy with a monumental crush on his best friend, Cameo, and a rapidly growing interest in another beauty, Caroline Richardson. Add in a fractured and falling apart parental unit, mix in irritable bowel syndrome for good measure, and prepare to laugh yourself silly!

I did note that some reviewers felt it the story was either too witty or inapropriate for kids of this age. I have to disagree, and believe that it may be more true to life than some people are willing to accept. I will be waiting for the next book by this talented and hilarious author.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By drebbles TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In many ways, Jay Baker is a typical teenager. He is smart (even if he doesn't realize it); in love with his close friend, Cameo (even if she doesn't realize it); fights with his sister (whom he really loves even if neither one wants to admit it); a bit of a class clown who loves pop culture references, jokes, and puns. In other words, he has basically built an invisible wall around himself, hiding his true feelings from his family and friends - even himself. But that wall is about to come tumbling down as Jay watches his parents' marriage begin to fall apart and he starts looking at his own relationship with his family and friends.

Aimed at readers ages 12 and up, "The Edumacation of Jay Baker" is the nicely done story of a teenager who is just starting to learn who he is and that his friends and family aren't perfect. Writing in the first-person as Jay, author Jay Clark does an excellent job of developing the fictional Jay's character. On the surface, Jay may seem a bit shallow, with all his joking around, but Clark deftly has other characters reveal that Jay is really insecure and putting himself down far too much. What I really like is how Clark captures a typical teenage boy's "voice" - too many young adult books feature characters who talk like they swallow a dictionary. Not Jay - he has a typical teenage vocabulary with current slang (and a swear or two). Clark also does a good job of capturing high school life (you'll cringe every time Jay is called "Gay" Baker) Jay's confusion about his feelings for Cameo (and Caroline) is also nicely done, although Cameo does seem a bit too good to be true at the end.
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