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Planet Middle School

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  605 Ratings  ·  139 Reviews
For twelve years, Joylin Johnson's life has been just fine, thank you very much. A game of basketball with the boys-especially her friend Jake-was all it took to put a smile on her face. Baggy jeans, T-shirt, and hair in a ponytail were easy choices. Then suddenly the world seemed to turn upside down, and everything changed at once. Her best girl friend is now flirting wit ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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(showing 1-30 of 1,402)
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Lisa Campbell
May 01, 2012 Lisa Campbell rated it liked it
Lisa Campbell
Planet Middle School is the story of Joylin, an intrepid sports playing, jean wearing tomboy, told in a series of poems. The poems tell of her relationship with her family, friends and dealing with all the changes that happen to a young girl as she journeys from child to young woman. Joylin’s best friends are Jake and KeeLee, who love her for who she is. Joylin begins to have uncomfortable and surprising feelings for a boy at school, Santiago and she tries to transform herself
Lindsay Surmeier
Jun 19, 2015 Lindsay Surmeier rated it really liked it
For my alternative book report, I have chosen #1 where I tell the president one thing a main character discovered about life and why it is important. I thought this would be perfect for Planet Middle School because the main character, Joylin, experiences transitioning from a child to a woman. It is uncomfortable and awkward for her, but along the way, she learns some important lessons about herself and the people around her. What Joylin had experienced in the novel is the same experience many gi ...more
Rebecca Saxon
A delightfully easy read, exploring the challenges of puberty from the perspective of Joylin Johnson. Grimes employs free-verse poetry to tell Joylin's story, which makes this a fast and fun read. I really enjoy the ways that gender and gender roles are explored, with Joylin a "tomboy" who loves basketball, and her brother who loves drawing. I would have liked Grimes to explore their father's feelings around this topic more (its resolved relatively simplistically) and provided more depth to his ...more
Aspen Dye
Mar 12, 2014 Aspen Dye rated it it was amazing

Planet Middle School is the story of Joylin, an intrepid sports playing, jean wearing tomboy, told in a series of poems. The poems tell of her relationship with her family, friends and dealing with all the changes that happen to a young girl as she journeys from child to young woman. Joylin’s best friends are Jake and KeeLee, who love her for who she is. Joylin begins to have uncomfortable and surprising feelings for a boy at school. Planet middle school was a great book. The characters just pop
Alejandra Garcia
This book was really interesting because it ibcluded the idea of growing up and how it affects not only you but the ones near you. I was able to have a good laugh and also reflect on the idea of acceptance and how at times we are like jake and try to please others before ourselves in order to be accepted and meet their expectations. Its often hard to be the one seeing that happen and how they get carried along into doing things that are not what one is.
Maddy Gazo
Mar 17, 2015 Maddy Gazo rated it liked it
Planet Middle School is a decent read. It is about Joylin Johnson's life has been and it is just fine. A game of basketball with the boys, especially her friend Jake, was all it took to put a smile on her face. Baggy jeans, T-shirt, and hair in a ponytail were her everyday clothes. Then suddenly the world seemed to turn upside down, and everything changed at once. Her best girl friend, KeeLee is now flirting with her best guy friend, Jake. Her clothes seem all wrong in her perspective. Jake is a ...more
Apr 11, 2014 Alyssa rated it really liked it
Have you ever noticed yourself changing?

This fiction book is about a girl named Joylin who just got to middle school and is experiencing some changes on her body. I kinda like this book because its good but theirs not a lot of detail this book is like a road trip book.**SPOILER ALERT** in the book Joylin likes a boy named Santiago and she tries to change herself to impress him but then her friend gets into a really bad accident and it changes everything.

This book takes place at Joylins middle
Jan 29, 2014 Mrbrudney44 rated it really liked it
Planet Middle School, by Nikki Grimes, offers a fascinating look into the world of a girl who is in middle school. Narrated in the first person and composed of many short poems, this book is an easy read. While the book may be easy to read, the themes explored in the book are topics to which many middle schoolers/pre-teen girls can relate. This books falls into the category of realistic fiction, as the events and emotions highlighted in this book are realistic and could very well happen in real ...more
Sofia Galvez
Apr 24, 2016 Sofia Galvez rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, audio
3 1/2 Platypires for Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes

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. Thos
Alex Baugh
Jul 07, 2014 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it
Shelves: randomly-reading
For Joylin Johnson, 12, there is nothing better than a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, a game of one on one with Jake, or hanging out with her best friend KeeLee. It all adds up to a good day for her. Or at least it used to until middle school came along and everything changed.

Joylin is changing - she's growing up and not happy about the changes, inside or outside her body. But she continues to play basketball, making the team at school and garnering all of her basketball loving father's praise. The p
This is a good, quick read. The book is done in free verse, and Nikki Grimes really "gets" middle school girls. Joylin is a tomboy--jeans, sneakers, hoodies, and she is a great basketball player. She's mostly friends with boys, but--just friends. As we all know, there are always changes in middle school, and so Joylin makes the girl's basketball team, and her best friend makes the show choir, but they do still keep in touch with texts and occasionally sitting together at lunch. Of course, there ...more
Margery Bayne
Feb 08, 2016 Margery Bayne rated it really liked it
I'm always a little wary of books in verse, like this one, but my wariness was not warranted this time. First of all, the series of poems that make up this book are like little vignettes, and that's how I read it. Second, our author Nikki Grimes had a good narrative structure: plots, supporting subplots, themes.

What you get in Planet Middle School is a very accurate tale of a girl going through those awkward stages of puberty and adolescence. Body changes, crushes, trying out make up and high h
Jun 15, 2016 Jenny rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, poetry
I am not the target audience for this book and probably would have enjoyed it more if I was. My 13 year old daughter read it in 1 sitting. This tells the story of Joylin who is in middle school. She has always loved basketball and been a "tomboy". But now she gets her first crush and begins to change how she dresses and acts to get him to notice her. At first her mom is excited to see her getting pierced ears and wearing a skirt...but when her attempts to capture the boy's attention backfire, he ...more
Mar 16, 2016 7HillsLibrarian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle, book-tasted
Posted on behalf of Book Taster Kamaia: This book was really interesting because the main character and the characters in this book are very relatable to most girls. Planet Middle School is about a girl named Joylin who has always been a tomboy. She plays basketball with the boys, she always wears jeans and a t-shirt, and one of her best friends is a boy. Then one day she hits the big "P" word, PUBERTY, and all she can think about is how to impress boys. She doesn't think about how this will aff ...more
Oct 30, 2014 CC rated it liked it
Planet Middle school is about a 12 year old named Joylin who is not a girly girl she loves basketball and has a friend who gets her but is girly and they have different personalities. In planet middle school joylin tells her thoughts and feelings. Joylin has a brother who likes to draw but the father isn't much interested and wish he would play sports like his sister while asking for help he seems to be in the way of Joylin and her friend Santiago. to find out more of Joylin's thoughts, and feel ...more
Aug 18, 2016 Bjipson rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-school
Joylin is a tomboy, a terrific athlete, and her younger brother is NOT, which disappoints their father. Brother Caden is, however, an amazing artist, and by the end of the book, their father has started to appreciate him for who he is. During the course of this short book, Joylin starts to get interested in boys, navigates evolving friendships, and deals with middle school angst. Character-driven, PLANET MIDDLE SCHOOL is blessedly free of stereotypes that can dominate young adult novels. Since i ...more
Kendall Rucker
Sep 18, 2014 Kendall Rucker rated it really liked it
i like how it showed her changing constantly throughout the book. i didn't like the ending because she could have elaborated more.this book talks about how a girl goes through middle school, and how a lot of things change in middle school. she and her best "boy" friend start to get in arguments because joylin develops a crush on another boy named santiago. towards the end, she realizes that she could have got him if she was being herself. in the end her best "boy" friend get hit by a car and is ...more
Feb 04, 2014 M. rated it really liked it
Joylin is a typical ‘tween caught between being a basketball star and wanting to be admired by Santiago, her first crush. Her body is changing without her permission and her two best friends, Jake and KeeLee, are making googly eyes at each other.

Nikki Grimes has done an excellent job of conveying Joy’s inner turmoil using a very terse style of poetry. These aren’t the deepest thoughts, of course, but demonstrate how a ‘tween’s mind may well skitter all over the place as life changes from childho
Teresa Scherping
Things are changing in Joylin's life. Her best friend KeeLee is spending more of her time talking about boys and hanging out with her choir friends. Joylin's other best friend, Jake, treats her differently when they play basketball together - apologizing for bumping into her instead of playing hard. And suddenly Joylin is desperate to catch the attention of Santiago, a boy in her class she's never noticed before. Joylin puts aside her basketball jerseys in favor of skirts and heels that boys see ...more
BAYA Librarian
Jul 24, 2012 BAYA Librarian rated it really liked it
This novel in verse was a pleasant surprise. A fast, light read, it is perfect for your reluctant female readers who are not looking for something edgy or complex. Joylin Johnson is a very relatable character who is struggling with the changes to herself and her peer relationships as they enter middle school and puberty. She is a tomboy who loves basketball and doesn’t have time for all that girly nonsense of fashion and make-up. And then she meets Santiago… Grimes poignantly captures that topsy ...more
Joy is a tomboy who loves playing basketball. She is best friends with KayLee and Jack. Everything is normal and fine until she starts middle school. Suddenly her body is betraying her; she gets boobs and her period. And she starts noticing boys! One boy in particular catches her eye, Santiago. Joy wants him to notice her so she starts changing to catch his attention. She tries makeup and heels and skirts, but nothing seems to make an impression. Jack and KayLee both warn her about changing for ...more
Alanna (The Flashlight Reader)
I don't feel like writing a very long review of this one right now, but I will say that this was a cute read with a good message.

This "story" was written as narrative prose (poetry) so it flew by. I'm not sure it even took me a full hour to read this. If you like rhyming poetry, this is not your book. There are no rhymes here. In fact, these poems read like short paragraphs. I liked it, personally, and I think it would make "poetry" accessible to my students.

Joylin is a major tomboy that loves
Sarah BT
Dec 19, 2011 Sarah BT rated it liked it
About the Book: Joylin is finding herself at the crossroads of middle school. She's always been content the way she is, playing basketball and enjoying her friend's. But now her best girl friend is flirting with her best guy friend and basketball seems different. Then Joylin notices Santiago and suddenly her clothes aren't right, she wants Santiago to notice her, and Joylin is feeling a bit left out. Why does middle school have to be so confusing?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Planet Middle School is
Mar 03, 2012 Katie rated it it was ok
Planet Middle School is a novel in verse for middle grade readers. Joylin, our narrator, is 100% tomboy and can beat most of the boys in her class, including her best friend Jake, in a game of basketball.

But when Joylin starts middle school, she starts seeing the boys around her in a whole new way. And now she's wondering if it's time to turn her basketball shoes in for some girly high heels...

Planet Middle School deals with a variety of different stereotypes and gender roles. Although I have a
Melissa Mcavoy
Reviewed from an ARC. Virtually all of us can empathize with twelve year-old Joylin’s sentiments: “I swear, some days I feel like and alien, dropped off on Planet Middle School by mistake. I keep scanning the skies, searching for that spaceship that’s gonna take me home.” In this slight verse novel, award-winning California author, Nikki Grimes, explores Joylin’s struggle to navigate this new, more complicated, an infinitely more embarrassing, world. There is much, in this quick read, that middl ...more
Planet Middle School is told in free verse. It is narrated in the authentic middle school voice of Joylin. She navigates her feelings about boys, her changing body, her first crush and the dangers of transforming yourself into someone you are not instead of staying true to who you are.

She also struggles in the very real and painful way we all do in adolescence (and at various times throughout our lives) with the idea that everything is changing—out of our control—and we are required to adapt and
Mar 18, 2013 Cass rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People that like poetry
I loved this book. Especially how the message came across that people should not change then way they are, despite their outside environments. If she liked the way that she was, then that should not have changed, especially considering that it was only for a guy that she changed for in the first place, not for herself.

I didn't like the father he was too judgmental, especially the way that he acted towards Caden, as if what he was doing was worng or something. He has his own dreams and ambitions
Narrated by Sisi Aisha Johnson. "What's wrong with me?" Puberty drops like a bomb on basketball-loving tomboy Joylin. All kinds of alien events are happening to her: her first bra, menstruation, and now boys, including a crush on Santiago. Just because everything is changing, does it mean Joylin has to change, too? Narrator Sisi youthfully expresses Joylin's emotions and reactions, from confusion to embarrassment to affection.
Liza Wiemer
Jan 15, 2012 Liza Wiemer added it
Shelves: arc, bea
PLANET MIDDLE SCHOOL is a free verse novel written from the perspective of Joylin as she copes with her changing body, her changing relationships with friends, and her changing tomboy image. Joylin also talks about her family and how her father seems to be unhappy with her younger brother's drawing skills. He'd prefer his son to be athletic, but try as he may, Joylin's brother wasn't cut out for the basketball court. Ultimately, PLANET MIDDLE SCHOOL is about accepting yourself for who you are an ...more
Kay Mcgriff
Apr 20, 2012 Kay Mcgriff rated it liked it
I enjoyed this glimpse into Joylin’s life as she navigates the changes that middle school brings. Joylin loves basketball. She could watch and play all day long with the guys, but now things are changing whether she wants them to or not. Her body has a mind of its own as it grows overnight. All of a sudden, she can’t keep the boys out of her mind. She’s even giggling when a certain Santiago comes around. She just might try out some make up and a skirt, too. Things are even changing with her two ...more
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