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Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf: A Year Told Through Stuff (Ginny Davis #1)

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,621 Ratings  ·  416 Reviews
Ginny has ten items on her big to-do list for seventh grade. None of them, however, include accidentally turning her hair pink. Or getting sent to detention for throwing frogs in class. Or losing the lead role in the ballet recital to her ex-best friend. Or the thousand other things that can go wrong between September and June. But it looks like it's shaping up to be that ...more
Hardcover, 100 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Turtleback Books (first published July 24th 2006)
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Sep 17, 2007 Betsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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? ...more
Feb 12, 2016 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children who enjoy reading graphic novels
This is a wonderfully refreshing and candid story told through various items in a scrapbook-kind of style, but the entries were from different locations and even from screen shots of an old Mac.

While the story is very serious in places, there is a lot of subtle humor, too. I love how a simple trip to the drugstore could lead to an expensive trip to a hair salon as well as a pricey plumbing bill.

The illustrations are filled with multimedia formats that really help to tell the story. It's an unu
May 13, 2014 ReGina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
I'll be the first one to admit that I am not a fan of the graphics in novels. My kids love Diary of a Wimpy Kid - I find the drawings distracting. However, this book is an interesting concept. There are a variety of things - tickets, notes, bills, IMs - that are used to tell the story. However, I find that there is a lot of the story that is left untold this way (but that does make a great opportunity to cover inferences!). I would recommend this book for 5th to 7th grade reluctant readers. The ...more
Patrice Sartor
GENRE: Fiction, realistic fiction, humor.

SUMMARY: Ginny hopes that her mom gets remarried, worries over her older brother Henry, and is frustrated with the antics of her younger brother Timmy. Plus there is her ex-best friend and her new best friend, her to-do list, and her New Year's resolutions that concern her. All of Ginny's life during the entire 7th grade is told through crumpled up notes, report cards, newspaper articles, cartoons, tests, and more "stuff."

EVALUATION: I picked this title
Ginny's seventh grade to-do list includes ten items, including lofty goals such as "Get a dad." and "Get the role of the Sugarplum Fairy in the Nutcracker.", as well as more mundane goals like "Ignore horoscopes whenever possible." Unfortunately for Ginny, it does not mention having the dog eat her science fair project or breaking the jacuzzi jets with watermelon bubble bath.

The unusual format of this book allows the reader to follow Ginny's year through the ephemera of everyday life. Drug stor
Feb 25, 2009 Cornmaven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-school
It's too bad this is limited to middle school, because a lot is still relevant through high school,imho.

Almost an altered book thing, and that's what makes it very interesting. My daughter, who does not like reading all that much, kept peeking over my shoulder each time I turned the page, and got into it enough to pick it up when I finished it. So it's not going back to the library just yet.

The images are wonderful, the writing is perfectly average middle school. Middle school teachers can say w
Oct 28, 2009 Holly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grades-5-8, funny
This would probably appeal to lots of middle-school girls. The story is told entirely through photos of notes, magazine articles, objects, receipts, lists, school assignments, drawings, IM screens, etc., many written by the main character (Ginny) and various people in her life, such as her mother, her delinquent older brother, her best friend, and some of her teachers. This gimmick got a little tiring to me--it seemed that she communicated almost entirely through notes with her family members, t ...more
Sep 17, 2015 Jordan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would recommend to any one who likes graphic novels. It a year told by stuff. there's lists.i really liked this book.
Anne Marie
This is a neat idea for a book - told through stuff like letters between family members, report cards, doodles, instant messages (you can tell this book wasn't written pre-2000), and school reports. I enjoyed it - quick read but wasn't all fluff. Middle school is a struggle for most kids - and this book showed Ginny's experience.
Ginny Messina
Jul 03, 2009 Ginny Messina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I just loved this book! The “stuff” through which the story is told includes to do lists that Ginny, the protagonist makes, notes to and from her mom, report cards, and text messages. The graphics are outstanding and the story is very funny.
Chloe Allen
Mar 24, 2010 Chloe Allen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Girls,People who hate meatloaf
Recommended to Chloe by: My teacher,Ms.Marrs
This book is totally amaze!!! My favorite part is when Ginny gets the card from grampa joe and he signs it, Love Grampa Joe (The old guy in flordia). AHHHHH this book is SOSOOOSOSOSOSOSO goood!!!!!! ;B
Becky Propp
I thought this was a really fun and quick read. The story comes together through a collection of different items and lists that belong to the main character, Ginny. The reader is able to understand all the struggles Ginny goes through as a thirteen year-old girl, even though the book is mostly made up of lists, notes between her and her family and friends, report cards, homework assignments, etc. I really liked this form of storytelling because I think it is a perfect example of how life really ...more
"Who needs ballet when you have a bucket of slugs?"

An unusual book that's told through ephemera. There's such a glut of diary-format books now, so this was a refreshing change (though it's not new -- it was published in 2007). It's hard to imagine a bank statement being funny, but Jenni Holm makes it happen. I'm wondering if her historical fiction novels are as funny -- Holm clearly has a great sense of humor, but I don't typically think of historical fiction as being funny (although a couple ex
Booktalk: Ginnyâs story of her school year is not told in sentences and paragraphs the way a regular book is. Ginnyâs story is actually told in (show pages): to-do lists, report cards, post-it notes from her mom, comics drawn by her brother Henry, bank statements, school flyers, instant messages from her best friend, newspaper articles, her homework, even the cast on her broken arm. Ginnyâs story is told through...stuff. "Read" through her stuff and you'll see how her year is going. But look clo ...more
Apr 28, 2010 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Raevyn (Christian and Proud)
Great if you want something like Dork Diaries that will barely take you any time to read.
Jul 25, 2008 Kaitie♥ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sucks! Totally confusing and boring. I read 5 pages before I put it down
Really good. Loved the format and the humor.
IndyPL Kids Book Blog
Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf is a different sort of book. It’s a scrapbook full of stuff that 7th grader Ginny Davis collects all year: diary entries, post-it notes, instant messages, e-mails, report cards, candy wrappers, sales receipts and more. The scrapbook pages are a collage of all of this. As you turn the pages you read and look at all of this stuff…and it’s the stuff that tells Ginny’s story. There are things to read, like diary entries and e-mails, but the rest of the things on ...more
Reviewed at:

Middle School is Worse than Meatloaf: A Year Told Through Stuff begins as Ginny starts 7th grade and her life was a mix of ups and downs. Her father passed away when she was younger; however, Ginny's wish has come true and her mom has a new, nice boyfriend. Her brother who used to be her hero and friend is getting into trouble left and right. And her best friend is no longer her friend because Ginny got a lead part in a ballet they were in. Se
Dec 24, 2012 Brett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jennifer L. Holm proves that she really is one of the most versatile children's authors out there yet again here: I will recommend her historical fiction tales to just about any middle grade reader who will listen to me, & of course the Babymouse/Squish graphic novels are a huge phenomenon for obvious reasons. This book is billed as "A Year Told Through Stuff" & tells the story of seventh-grader Ginny's miserable year through photo montages of notes, lists, poetry, IM conversations, tick ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sue Leatherman
Ginny Davis keeps a scrapbook of her 7th-grade year of school as she embarks on the strange new world of Middle School with excitement and expectation. The scrapbook begins with Ginny's school shopping list, her class schedule, and "Ginny's Big To Do List!!!"

Each page records a moment in Ginny's life. There is the note about Mary Catherine Kelly, her former "best friend," who conveniently forgets to return Ginny's favorite pink sweater and then spreads a rumor around school about Ginny's older
Oct 14, 2009 Rachael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short and funny. I read this while the kids napped. My absolute favorite part: Ginny's poem to her therapist ("How do you feel about that?")-- it reminds me of what my husband's said about my therapists after sitting through one session with me...

I've enjoyed Holm's previous books, and when I saw the title, I *had* to read it. (For the record, I like meatloaf the way my family makes it, but it's one of those things I don't trust from other sources!) I think the middle school years are some of th
This is a very visually attractive book, fully illustrated throughout on glossy brightly colored pages. It's told as a scrapbook of ephemera: newspaper clippings, homework, notes on the fridge, bank statements, greeting cards, ims, poems, to do lists... but it still manages to pull together to tell the story of a difficult year in the life of a tween just becoming a teen. I was surprised at how much emotional resonance it had actually, I was expecting something much more frivolous, but over the ...more
Reviewer's Name: Kelly Urtz

Are you a nosy person? Do you like reading notes and journals? Are you a detective? Can you figure out things by looking at pictures and making links? If so, you will love Middle School is Worse than Meatloaf. You will learn the story of Ginny Davis’ seventh grade year through stuff. You will read and examine her “stuff” includes her notes, report cards, bank statements, journal entries, homework assignments and newspaper articles. It’s more like reading a maga
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Me for

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.
Jessica Pennington
Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf is a beautifully made graphic novel, depicting a story about a young girl named Ginny and her experiences and adventures at the age of 12. Throughout the book, Ginny deals with her attentive mother, her mom’s new boyfriend, an older brother who gets in more trouble than Ginny can understand and her younger brother Timmy who she loves to babysit. Far away from Ginny and her family is her fairy godfather, Grandpa Joe. Grandpa Joe is the saving grace to Ginny’s ...more
Teresa Scherping
Ginny Davis is starting seventh grade and chronicles her year with a sort of scrapbook of sketches, report cards, receipts, instant messages, cards from Grampa Joe, doctor's notes, to-do lists, and more. Ginny wonders, "Is middle school worse than meatloaf?" Seventh grade brings a lot of challenges, from bad hair dye jobs and braces to a new stepdad and a brother in trouble with the law. How will Ginny ever survive the seventh grade? Find out by piecing together the ephemera of a year in the lif ...more
Oct 27, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: grades 6-8 (girls)
Recommended to Sarah by: wimpy kid read-alike
Ginny Davis keeps a journal throughout her year in seventh grade, and what she writes and adds to it is all the reader gets. She includes random thoughts, report cards, comics, post-it notes, and more…all of which help tell her story.

Seventh-grade is certainly not what Ginny had hoped it would be! Not only does she have problems in school, but she also has trouble in dance class. Home life isn’t so great, either. Her mom gets remarried, her older brother is a trouble-maker, and her little brothe
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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 Eisner Award-winning Babymouse series and the bestselling Squish series. She is also the author of several other highly pra
More about Jennifer L. Holm...

Other Books in the Series

Ginny Davis (2 books)
  • Eighth Grade Is Making Me Sick: Ginny Davis's Year In Stuff

Share This Book

“Three Meatloaf Haikus

Oh yucky meatloaf
sitting under the hot lights
so gray and gristly.

Nothing tastes worse than
you, not cauliflower or
even lima beans.

And what is that weird
thing sticking out--a whisker?
hair? a rubber band?”
More quotes…