Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Planet Middle School” as Want to Read:
Planet Middle School
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Planet Middle School

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  651 Ratings  ·  151 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
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Planet Middle School, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Planet Middle School

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
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
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
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.
Grace Nichols
Nov 20, 2016 Grace Nichols rated it it was ok
This book was just okay. It didn't make me jump out of my seat but I didn't want to throw it out the window, I just read the book then moved on.
This book is about a middle school girl named Joy who is great at basketball and has two best friends named Jake and Keelee. Joy is kind of a tomboy, she wears baggy jeans and tee shirts all the time and is always playing basketball with the boys. That starts to change though when she meets a new boy playing basketball one day named Santiago. Joy starts
Dec 18, 2016 Diane rated it really liked it
Joylin, a basketball player, is navigating the world of middle school for the first time. She has her friends to help her. There's KeeLee, a preacher's kid, who was "The only familiar thing about this school year." And her friend, Jake, who is always up for a game of one on one. They have been friends so long that "silences between us are filled with friendship." But does Jake have feelings for KeeLee? How will that impact his friendship with Joy? And what happens when Joy notices Santiago for t ...more
James Worster
Nov 06, 2016 James Worster rated it liked it
This was a very quick read for me. It's about a girl who is a complete tomboy and then all of sudden is worried about appearance and all that jazz. The book is written in verse which I do like that style of writing because you have to use some brainpower to figure what is going on in the book. Decent book overall, but there are many better out there.
Ally Goodwin
Nov 30, 2016 Ally Goodwin rated it really liked it
Grimes has a sparse but vivid writing style which i just love and the narrator, Sisi Aisha Johnson, brings the characters to life
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
Jan 04, 2017 Kacie rated it liked it
Planet middle school was a okay book. I didn't want to read this book in the beginning but I started to like it. It takes you on a journey or Joys middle school life and shows how change is hard and just be yourself, over all it had a really great message and I recommend this book to people who like drama with friends and basketball.
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
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
Allie Crimmins
Sep 11, 2016 Allie Crimmins rated it liked it
This is an incredibly fast paced and easy read. The book is written in free verse poetry and follows the life of Joylin as she grows up and discovers that not only is her body changing, but some of her interests are as well. Joylin has grown up loving basketball and can frequently dominate the boys on the court. As Joylin matures, she finds herself becoming more and more interested in impressing the boys she used to dominate on the court and also struggles with typical female pubescent issues, s ...more
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
Ariel Filion
Sep 08, 2016 Ariel Filion rated it liked it
Planet Middle School follows Joylin Johnson’s transition to middle school. Joylin is spunky and loves basketball. She constantly is trying to figure out how to make new shots and loves her basketball shorts. Joylin is a tomboy and her parents are not a huge fan of that. They are confused why their daughter does not want to “sit pretty” and their son loves art. Joylin discovers whether or not it is worth changing for a boy, what it means to be comfortable in her own skin, and what friendship look ...more
Katie Fitzgerald
Tomboy twelve-year-old Joylin Johnson feels like she has suddenly landed on another planet. It used to be easy to play basketball with the boys, to get dressed in the morning, and to fit in at school, but lately, she finds herself confused by the mixed feelings she experiences. Though she tries her best to maintain the same interests and friendships she's always had, the start of puberty - and especially her newfound attraction to a boy named Santiago - make change inevitable.

This novel in verse
Sep 09, 2016 Katie rated it liked it
Planet Middle School presents a typical narrative of a middle-school girl who has just discovered the new and exciting world of *~boys~*. Joylin has been a tomboy for all of her life; playing basketball with her best friend Jake, wearing baggy jeans and t-shirts, and throwing her hair in a messy ponytail. Joylin couldn't care less about how she looks or what people think until she meets Santiago. Suddenly, Joylin is wearing skirts, high heels, and makeup all in an effort to get the attention of ...more
Mary Nguyen
Sep 08, 2016 Mary Nguyen rated it really liked it
This book is written in simple and free prose from the perspective of twelve-year-old Joylin Johnson, who navigates her way through puberty and all the changes that come with it. I think the biggest theme in this book that everyone can relate to is trying to live up to stereotypes or expectations that you or someone else set for yourself for attention or any other number of reasons. Joylin tries so hard to get another boy named Santiago to notice her and makes all sorts of changes to herself fro ...more
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
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
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
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
Ben Swain
Sep 09, 2016 Ben Swain rated it liked it
Planet Middle School, by Nikki Grimes, is the story of Joylin, told through beautiful free-verse poetry that strikes the perfect note - a mix of blunt language and complex issues. Joylin, a classic tomboy, struggles with her identity and what is expected of her as a female in the tumultuous context of middle school. At the same time, her brother, who enjoys art, and drawing, as much as Joylin enjoys basketball, struggles with much of the same. Joylin's journey is one we feel we can all identify ...more
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
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
Paige Harari
Planet Middle School is an enjoyable read about an eleven-year-old girl, Joylin, who has been a tom boy her entire life. When she enters middle school she realizes that she likes boys and thinks that she needs to change who she is in order to appeal to a specific boy. Joy struggles trying to be someone she's not in conjunction with her brother as he tries to impress their father. In the end, Joy's friends help her realize how much more important her being herself is than being someone else to im ...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
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
Jul 20, 2016 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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Point of View 1 2 Oct 26, 2015 11:09AM  
Point of View 1 1 Oct 26, 2015 11:02AM  
  • Hugging the Rock
  • Caminar
  • Addie on the Inside (The Misfits, #3)
  • Mountain Dog
  • Never Forgotten
  • Pearl Verses the World
  • Summerhouse Time
  • Shakespeare Bats Cleanup (Shakespeare Bats Cleanup, #1)
  • Pieces of Georgia
  • Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War
  • Etched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet
  • Silhouetted by the Blue
  • Serafina's Promise
  • Finding Family
  • Looking for Me
  • Rhyme Schemer
  • Keeping the Night Watch
  • Red Butterfly

Share This Book