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Joy School Paperback – Mar 24 1998

4.4 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (March 24 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345423097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345423092
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #547,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Elizabeth Berg's previous novels about the feminine experience in its various stages of girlhood, adolescence, and adulthood have won her a loyal following for their emotional accuracy and powerful voices. In Joy School, Berg's newest book, young Katie's first experience of intense romantic love--with a much older man--becomes not just a crucible for the lessons of love in its various guises, but a rite of passage. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

A 13-year-old girl falls in love with a 21-year-old garage mechanic who saves her life. From this unrequited love and other sorrows, she learns about the joys of life.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Young as I am, I know now that everything is about to come. Jimmy will be the place for me to learn the real happiness. He will be my Joy School. My joy. Mine."

These words sum up this story, about a 13-year-old girl, Katie, transplanted to Missouri after her mother's death, and subject to the mercurial moods of a stern, inaccessible father; she finds solace in the housekeeper and in her two friends - Cynthia, who is odd and whose grandmother actually interests Katie, with her loud, Italian ways and her penchant for cooking pasta in the middle of the night - and Taylor, a shoplifter, who introduces Katie to her larcenous skills and to make-out sessions at the drive-in theater.

And then there is Jimmy - a 23-year-old married man, who comes to her rescue one day when she has fallen through the ice while skating - and who pays her the kind of attention she is sorely lacking in her everyday life.

This coming-of-age tale skillfully describes a young girl who is out-of-place in her world - a world set in the fifties or sixties - and who searches for some kind of kinship with the cast of characters placed in her path.

We connect with her, in that the author paints a picture of this isolation in such a way that we can relate. We think - Oh, yes, I know what that feels like. And as the story comes to an end, we can feel the hope - just as she experiences it.

Joy School is memorable, hilarious and heartbreaking.

By Laurel-Rain Snow
Author of:
An Accidental Life, etc.
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Format: Paperback
"Joy School", written by Elizabeth Berg, is a heartfelt and captivating story for the teen and adult audience. It explores the adolescent life of a thirteen-year-old girl, Katie, and her many adventures and transitions in life. Previously living in a small, hot, Texan town near a military base, Katie makes the very difficult move to Missouri where her new neighbors find pleasure in tormenting her with cruel, hand-written notes propped outside her window on her bushes. At school, Katie is a social outcast and with her older sister Diane no longer living at home, the somewhat recent death of her mother, and the fact that her stern militia father understands very little about women, she seeks comfort and feminine influence in her housekeeper--Ginger. Katie's few friends at school include an overly obsessive misfit named Cynthia and a stunningly beautiful rebel named Taylor; both holding many of Katie's secrets, loves, and lies. Elizabeth Berg explores the different sides and traits of Katie using the two very different friends. Cynthia brings out the child in Katie at times and helps preserve her innocence, where as Taylor shows her how to find thrills in dangerous and exciting things; such as shoplifting and meeting boys. But, Katie has her own unique interests, too; including the 23-year old, gorgeously handsome gas station owner who just so happens to be married. Although age is a large factor in many relationships, it is not for Katie who has fallen completely head-over-heals in love. Katie must learn to move on and that a broken heart can be mended in this hilarious and unbelievably realistic tale of heartbreak and growing up.
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By A Customer on July 26 2003
Format: Audio Cassette
What a delight reliving age 13 again!
I was like yea, I remember being like that. I remember feeling those unbelievably deep emotions. I remember loving an older boy who did not love me back. And yea, I knew beautiful girls like Taylor and hated their guts!
Katie's voice is delicious. She is trying to come to terms with moving to a new state, changes taking place in her body and mind, her own individuality, her first crush...
'He is the most beautiful boy, a Paul Newman look-a-like. I will NEVER love anybody like him as long as I live!' (been there)
Berg gives Katie insight. We hear her 13 year old thoughts, dreams, and her hilarious observations.
She says about one of her teachers...
"He gives some idiotic assignment,which he probably doesn't even know, then sits there reading a newspaper for the entire hour. He gets paid for this?!"
Berg, once again, captures the 13 year old voice we remember.
(Been there, done that!) We adore her for taking us back in time.
The only thing that makes this book better is the Reader, Jen Talor. She is simply superb and Elizabeth should have her read all of her books!
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Format: Paperback
The second in the trilogy about young Katie, daughter of a distant, sometimes kind of abusive, Army father, this book begins where "Durable Goods" left off -- Katie and her father are moving to a new town (in Missouri) and Katie's sister has run off to Mexico with her boyfriend to get away from her dad and his totalitarian rule over their family. Katie isn't too happy with her new school, where she is having trouble making solid friends, or with her new neighbors, who keep putting mean notes in the bush outside her window. And she struggles with the confusion of puberty and the fact her sister left her right when she needed her most. But when she accidentally falls through the ice while skating by herself, she meets Jimmy and immediately falls in love with him. He's much too old for her, and also married, but she is entranced. As their relationship unfolds, so too does Katie's awareness of the pain and intensity first love can bring. Especially when that first love is unrequited.
This is another wonderful exploration of what it means to be a girl growing up without a mother and raised by a father who just doesn't really understand. Berg is a beautiful writer and her characters spring to life with a single sentence, a single thought, a single motion. All three books in this series are really short (about 200 small pages), but they are jam-packed with intensity, hilarity, and agony. I highly recommend the full set to anybody who loves coming-of-age novels.
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