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Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf: A Year Told Through Stuff Paperback – June 28, 2011

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442436638
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442436633
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–7—Ginny Davis begins seventh grade with a list of items to accomplish. This list, along with lots of other "stuff"—including diary entries, refrigerator notes, cards from Grandpa, and IM screen messages—convey a year full of ups and downs. Digitally rendered collage illustrations realistically depict the various means of communication, and the story flows easily from one colorful page to the next. Ginny is fairly typical—she wants to look good for her school picture but ends up with a hair disaster the night before. She babysits but can't seem to increase her bank balance. She has problems with friends, boys, and clothes. But readers also learn about some deeper issues. She has a hard time adjusting to a new stepfather, and her older brother has difficulties with alcohol and poor behavior choices. Ginny's pain is expressed through report card grades that drop to Cs and hall passes to the school counselor. However, the year ends on a high note as she discovers a talent for art and gets asked to the Spring Fling. The story combines honesty and humor to create a believable and appealing voice. Not quite a graphic novel but not a traditional narrative either, Holm's creative book should hook readers, especially girls who want something out of the ordinary.—Diana Pierce, Running Brushy Middle School, Cedar Park, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Jenni Holm is the Newbery Honor-winning author of Our Only May Amelia, Penny from Heaven, Turtle in Paradise, and the BabyMouse graphic novel series. She lives in Northern California with her family.

More About the Author

Jennifer L. Holm is a NEW YORK TIMES bestselling children's author and the recipient of three Newbery Honors for her novels OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA, PENNY FROM HEAVEN, and TURTLE IN PARADISE. Jennifer collaborates with her brother, Matthew Holm, on two graphic novel series -- the popular Babymouse series and the bestselling Squish series. She is also the author of several other highly praised books, including the Boston Jane trilogy and MIDDLE SCHOOL IS WORSE THAN MEATLOAF. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

For more information, visit her website at www.jenniferholm.com.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 34 customer reviews
The journal is used very sparingly then.
E. R. Bird
I highly recommend this book for middle school reluctant readers.
Amazon Customer
An easy read yet enjoyable for young girls.
Robert J. Feller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Learning All The Time on September 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I cannot even begin to tell you how skeptical I was about the idea of a story being told through stuff. I couldn't imagine how you could tell a coherent story this way, let alone tell a moving story that actually says something meaningful.

But this book really works. I actually cried in a few places (okay I'm sentimental by nature but I think this story would bring a lump to a few people's throats). It was amazing how characters' personalities were revealed by to-do lists, drug store receipts, English assignments, journal entries, comic strips, and the like.

And the plot unfolds quite effectively with "stuff". For example, second on Ginny's to-do list that opens the book is to get the role of the Sugarplum Fairy in the Nutcracker, so you know how much Ginny wants the role. Later on in the book you see the casting list, and on the next page you see a journal entry lamenting her stepfather's forgetfulness, and you easily connect the dots for that plotline.

There was another page with a physician's report, and it says Ginny is normal and healthy, except for a very curious allergy to milk that is treated with allergy shots as needed. This was very curious to me, as my daughter has a milk allergy and she can't have one drop or she gets anaphylaxis, plus food allergies traditionally are not treated with allergy shots. I chalked it up to a mistake on the part of the author, but I was so very wrong, there is a stunning explanation for Ginny's allergy that is revealed in an English assignment further on in the book.

Anyway, this is such a hilarious and beautiful story, about the resiliency and spirit that early adolescents have, in spite of things that always seem to go wrong.

I am so glad I put aside my doubts and read this amazing story. I'm looking forward to the day I can hand it to my daughter to read. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the inner life of middle school girls...
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on August 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I'm 10 years old and I thought the book was great! I read it in only one day. What I like best about the book was that it wasn't like a regular book but was done like a scrapbook. Each page had pictures and writing, it was really fun. I would recommend this book for anyone ages 9-13 years old.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I remember being 13 or so and talking with a much older cousin of mine. When he asked me what grade I was in I told him seventh and he chuckled to himself. "Man, that was the worst." Was it? At the time I couldn't quite figure out what he meant. Sure middle school was awful but sometimes it's hard to separate yourself from what you perceive as "normal". Looking back on it now, I can see clearly just how awful that age is for a whole bulk of humanity, but who has the guts to go on out and say it? That would be two-time Newbery Honor winner Jennifer Holm, of course. Yet when you're dealing with a universal experience you really need to be able to make your book unique in some fashion. Enter artist Elicia Castaldi. "Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf" is a tale told via "stuff". Notes, detention slips, photos, CDs, invitations, shopping lists, you name it. A perfect blending of chaotic piles and orderly prose, this book gets to the heart of the best and the worst (more often the worst) of this most awkward and necessary of ages.

She had such plans for the year, Ginny did. Oh, it was going to be great. She had this whole To Do List with things like "Get a dad" and "Try to be friends with Mary Catherine Kelly". Seventh grade was going to be awesome. Okay, sure Ginny's bank account seems to stay at the unaccountably small ending balance of $5.00 at all times. And sure the aforementioned Mary Catherine Kelly has decided that Ginny just isn't worth being friends with anymore. But really, things didn't start to get really bad until Ginny's older brother Henry started getting in more and more trouble. Or when she didn't get her dream role in The Nutcracker and the aforementioned Ms. Kelly did. Or when that brat Brian Bukvic kept bugging her and, and, and....
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on July 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have to admit that this is one of the most intriguing books I've come across so far this year.

This isn't a normal novel, in that, although the book does contains actual words, the story isn't told in regular story format. Rather, as the full title suggests, it's a story that describes a year in the life of Ginny Davis, a seventh grader at Woodland Central, through stuff.

Stuff, as in notes from the principal. Stuff, as in letters to and from school friends. Stuff, as in pictures of play costumes, and cancelled checks, and calendar notations, and report cards. Stuff, as in anything and everything that makes up the life of a middle-schooler.

Author Jennifer L. Holm is to be commended for this awesome book, which offers a peek into middle school life, and inside the comings-and-goings of a teenage girl. From Post It notes from mom to crazy cards from Grandpa Joe, you'll find yourself smiling and reminiscing as you browse through the pages of MIDDLE SCHOOL IS WORSE THAN MEATLOAF.

This would be the perfect gift for anyone about to enter middle school, or, actually, for anyone who just enjoys books that are a little different from the norm. Believe me, this story is sure to please!

Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"
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