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This Journal Belongs to Ratchet Hardcover – April 2, 2013


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 6
  • Lexile Measure: 830L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402281064
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402281068
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Rachel “Ratchet” Vance is an 11-year-old girl, homeschooled by her widowed, activist father. Ratchet is embarrassed by her father’s often confrontational environmentalism, the fact that she knows more about fixing cars than creating a wardrobe, and that they move each year from one fixer-upper to the next. Desperate to lay down roots, make friends, and simply live a normal life, Ratchet hopes to discover her own identity by learning more about her mother and ultimately changing herself for the better. 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. She is an honest narrator, relying on the secrecy of her journal (she has no worries that her father will read it, despite it being homework) to reveal her fears, doubts, and eventual hope for her “weird, wonderful life with Dad.” Grades 4-7. --Kara Dean

Review

"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

More About the Author

Nancy J. Cavanaugh lives in Florida with her husband and daughter. She spends her summers eating pizza in her former hometown of Chicago. She loves reading middle grade novels. Her secret? She hasn't read an adult book in years.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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It's a beautifully written, funny yet poignant story.
A. Poole
Having never heard of the book, I picked it up and instantly knew I wanted to read it.
JennRenee
I,honestly think it would be a good book for any age.
Anonymous

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JennRenee on April 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Review

This book caught my eye in Barnes and Noble. Having never heard of the book, I picked it up and instantly knew I wanted to read it. So I bought it. I was so excited to get home and read this book, I pushed aside the other million books I have been reading and dove in. I was hooked from the first page and devoured the book. It is full of comedy, cuteness, and coming of age goodness. It was right in the middle of light read and realistic issues. I loved the characters, the relationships, and the journal entries.

Long story Short

Ratchet is just starting her teenage years. She is home-schooled by her hippie mechanic father who she helps fix cars in between her studies. Her mother died when she was young, she has no friends, and she gets everything second hand. She wants a new life. She wants a new look, friends, and to know more about her mother. None of these things she sets out to accomplish are easy. She only has money to buy from Goodwill, all the kids in town think she and her dad are nuts, and her father keeps everything about her mother a secret.

One of her assignments for school, is to keep a journal, in this journal she has a multiple of different writing assignments from free writing to poetry. In this journal she makes a plan... Get a new look, find a friend, and find the box of secrets of her mom.

My Thoughts

I absolutely adore this book. It was non stop fun. First off the book is written in very interesting journal entries. Free writing, plays, poetry, interviews, memos.. and so on. Every entry tells the story of Ratchet. I found the tone to be fun but filled with the undertone of a lost girl who has a lot to discover about herself.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Poole on April 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Simply adorable. Rachel, aka Ratchet, is a young home schooled girl who just wants to make a friend. Her dad is a little bit of a hippie who makes grand speeches about global warming at local city council meetings, embarassing Ratchet to no end. She helps her dad fix cars in their garage, which is how she got her nickname. Her mom passed away when she was little, and she's looking for a way to figure out who she is and who she wants to be. The REALLY cool thing is that whole book is written in journal form; each entry is a different language arts assignment, so each "chapter" is a different format: poetry, diagrams, definitions, lists, letters, etc. It's a beautifully written, funny yet poignant story. Don't miss this one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steph on October 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My twelve year old daughter needed a book for school and previewed it on Amazon and enjoyed it. The book arrived quickly and she said was easy reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James Mattson on October 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Ratchet is a consistently interesting and endearing main character, and her journal, which includes poems and even a creative writing project, is great fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Happy2CatOwner on August 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I read this book a few months ago, and it still resonates as one of my favorites from the summer. Ratchet is the story of a home schooled girl, with a wacky single dad, who really just wants to have friends and feel normal. I was nervous about reading a book in a journal style, but you quickly come to love Ratchet because of the format and want good things to happen for her (which they do, sorry if that was a spoiler). I think I loved most that she realizes that she doesn't have to change who she is to have friends, she just has to want friends who have things in common with her and like her for who she is. The format of the book is so easy to read, and makes it all that much more poignant. I plan on giving this to several of my neices, who I know are going to love this as much as I do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gigi M on April 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I really loved this book. I loved how Ratchet is a down to earth girl who shops at Goodwill, can make a go-cart run better than any boy and cares about her father. The journal is written in her handwriting in a wide variety of writing forms (poetry, how to, persuasive essay, etc.). Her entries are clever, entertaining and amusing, thinly masking her obvious feelings of loss and loneliness. Another aspect of this book that I like is the fact that Ratchet is a middle schooler, but the book is very accessible to ages 9 and up. It is not a difficult read and I think girls and boys alike will enjoy her story.

Themes/topics include: loss of a parent, homeshooling, talents, global issues such as pollution and recycling, friendship, and self-acceptance.
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Format: Hardcover
My daughter and I read this together-- we both LOVED it! It was touching and funny and so unique. The main character helps her dad work on cars a lot, and all of the metaphors were car-related and were so perfect. It's a great story about looking at what you have in a new way and seeing the good in people (including yourself), without feeling preachy at all. We were so drawn in by the main character, we had to keep reading to find out what happened to her. Highly recommend.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is like it was written by an child.
(A gifted child no doubt)
If you have lost your mother than it will be very understanding for you and your will have a deep connection with the main character Ratchet.
If not than you will feel extremely sad for Rachet and you may cry a little thoroughly the book.
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