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Planet Middle School Hardcover – September 13, 2011
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“The story is by turns touching and laugh-out-loud funny, and readers will appreciate the time they spend with Joylin, her family, and her friends as they live, grow, and learn as individuals and together.” ―SLJ, starred review, on Planet Middle School
“[Grimes'] accessible verse and clear themes of self-acceptance and open-mindedness ring true. A work that should help adolescent readers find the courage and humor to grow into the individuals they already are.” ―Kirkus Reviews, on Planet Middle School
“[Grimes'] realistic novel has solid middle-school appeal and avoids preaching.” ―Horn Book Magazine, on Planet Middle School--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
NIKKI GRIMES is the author of many highly acclaimed books for young readers, including the bestseller Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope; and the Coretta Scott King honor books Jazmin's Notebook, Dark Sons, and The Road to Paris.
Top Customer Reviews
Told in short poems Planet Middle School explores so many themes it's hard to believe the book is only 154 pages and a delightfully quick read. Joylin is a tomboy and an awesome basketball player. She tries to teach her artist younger brother to play in the hope that their dad will notice him more. She's dealing with her body changing against her will and her best friends (one a boy, one a girl) are trying to make her understand she's still the same person. She's experiencing her first crush.
This book is recommended for girls in grades 6 and up. Reluctant readers will be drawn to it's quick pace and easy to read style while appreciating Nikki Grimes' understanding of what tweens/young teens are going through. I laughed and cried and loved it from the opening poem to the closing one.
I'm trying to go through this review as unbiased as I can because I love Nikki Grime's works. Though this isn't my favorite, this is at least in my top 15.
Joylin is experiencing the 'joys' (pun and sarcasm intended) of growing up into a teenager. She can't even get through a game of basketball without getting distracted by the boys. Her best friends are beginning to make those googly eyes at each other. AND her body is changing without her permission. Can things get any worse?
The plot is explored territory, but this is a very interesting take on going through 'The Changes'. This includes finding your style and becoming your own person, rather than being a clone of someone else.
The writing is great. Though I'm usually not a fan of books told in poetry, this is probably the best I have read. Some of the metaphors used are very nice, but Joylin's voice shines through. Since she is witty and tomboy-ish, there wouldn't be anything 'beautiful' per se.
The poetry wouldn't let the personalities of the minor characters (not Joylin, given it's inside her head), so I guess I can't comment on that.
The only thing I didn't like about this book is that it didn't delve deeper into the mind. If anything, the poetry just scratches the surface of what it's like to be going through 'The Changes'. And I wish it could have been thicker.
Overall, Planet Middle School is a great read, though very thin. Only 160 pages. If you're looking for a read that will make you laugh big and gasping at it's honesty, this book is for you.
I listen to the audio book for this one and it's pretty short. Less than 1 1/2 hours so I was able to finish in a day. (Basically to and from work) Now that being said it was kinda different listening to a book read aloud in verse style. I wasn't use to it at first but quickly immersed myself in the story.
The book is funny and really insightful. I was able to identify with the MC and her struggle with trying to change her appearance. Those moments literally brought flashbacks from my own childhood. I liked the that it showed a strong family and great friendships.
What I didn't like about the story was towards the end of the book. Without giving away spoilers, a certain plot device was used and it came out of nowhere. I felt it was added to create some last minute drama when the book was mostly drama free.
Overall this was a really quick read and I did like it. I would recommend for others to check it out.
Awarding-winning author Nikki Grimes understands the concept perfectly as is evidenced by the true-to-life characters in her latest book. Her main character, Joylin Johnson, feels like she has been dropped onto "Planet Middle School" by an alien spaceship. She keeps hoping the aliens will come and get her, and take her back to her old world on the "normal" planet Earth.
During middle school, Joylin suddenly starts noticing boys, and one in particular. She is a tomboy who plays a mean game of basketball, and up to this point, hoops has been the main focus of her day. But now she exchanges her usual attire of baggy jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes for skirts, fitted shirts and heels --- and even makeup --- all in an effort to get Santiago to pay attention to her. She is not comfortable changing her complete look, but does so because she feels it's important that he notices her.
When he doesn't, her best friends --- Keelee, a preacher's kid, and Jake, who has been her basketball buddy forever --- tell her that she needs to just be herself and quit trying to change who she is to impress anybody.
This is the kind of story any middle-school girl can relate to. Each chapter contains a short poem, and the writing is lively and expressive, making the text interesting to read (even if you're not a big fan of poetry). The point of the book comes across with humor and realism as Nikki Grimes shines a light on the inner workings of a preteen's brain.
Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really liked Joy's personality. She has trouble with being boy crazy and growing up girl stuff. The author did a good job writing this story.Published 21 months ago by Hailey Doak
Great read aloud for middle schoolers! My students loved it. They were mad when we didn't read. Nikki Grimes is a phenomenal poet.Published on March 12, 2014 by Nicole Russell
Book #44 Read in 2013
Planet Middle School (YA) by Nikki Grimes
This is a young adult verse novel telling the story of Joylin, a tomboy who is slowly finding her... Read more
My daughter told me that she like the book because it was realistic. I liked it because the price was competitive.Published on April 27, 2013 by Bridget M. Gillette
I think the book was interesting, especially in the end where Santiago liked another girl who dressed like she did in the beginning· She went through all that trouble for nothingPublished on March 27, 2013 by RA