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The Cloud Chamber

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3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  187 ratings  ·  36 reviews
The minute the school bus carrying Nate Chance and his little sister, Junie, pulls up in front of his family’s farmhouse, Nate can tell something’s terribly wrong: Somehow his father has been wounded by a gunshot. Nate sees him stagger across the yard, then watches as the police take him away.
Then, nothing. Nobody in the family will say what happened, or where Nate’s dad h
...more
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Published June 14th 2005 by Listening Library (Audio) (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 554)
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AGastolek
This is the story of Nate Chance, a fourteen year old boy who lives on a farm in Montana. His family goes through very difficult times. The failing crops and the financial debt lead to this family disaster. Nate’s father attempts a suicide and is taken to a mental hospital. Having no options, the mother decides to sell the farm. In the middle of turmoil, Nate is searching for answers about family values and choices in life. He tries to be a normal teenager and a good role model to his little sis ...more
Laurel-Rain
In a small Montana town called Lonetree, the Chance family struggles against all the adversities that often fall upon farmers, especially those, like Carl Chance, who do not really have the talent for it. Unlike most farmers, Carl Chance is a dreamer. He has taught his son Nate, who is fourteen, what it means to explore the outer limits of the world in which they live for the magic that escapes him in his own small corner of the universe.

But one day, something tragic and unexpected happens. Gett
...more
Apzmarshl
Fast read. Good for tweens on up. It was a good solid story, I just didn't fall in love with it.

Times were tough in 1966 on the Chance farm. A freak storm ruins their crops and Nate's free spirited, dreamer father can't take any more. One day Nate returns from school to find the police dragging his bloody father from the fields.
Nate's dad tried to kill hinself. The police think Nate's mother may have been the one to really pull the trigger because the gun is still missing. Nate and his little si
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MadisonT
May 13, 2015 MadisonT rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Brooklynn, Mrs.Elias,Erika,James,etc...
Recommended to MadisonT by: No one
This book was about a ten year old boy named Nate Chance who builds/makes a cloud chamber to save his dad. When Nate arrives home from school, he sees two police cars in his yard and an ambulance. Before his mother can get him and his seven year old little sister Junie inside the house, Junie witness their father, blood pouring down his face, being led by two police officers into the ambulance. Their father was trying to kill himself. As soon as that incident happened, their home quickly starts ...more
Ringzabell
The book, The Cloud Chamber, by Joyce Maynard is named that because the main character, a boy named , makes a cloud chamber for the school science fair.

The kid lives with his mom and his dad is locked up somewhere do to his suicide attempt. The kid’s mom won’t let him talk to his dad, and she doesn’t talk to him about what happened so he is alone. The mom is in her own world because the police thinks she shot her husband . No one can find the gun he used to shoot himself, so they blame her. No
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Fatima Mauricio
The Cloud Chamber is a story that takes place in Montana. The Story is narrated by a young boy named Nate. Nate’s entire life was standard there was never something to worry about. Nate, and his younger sister Junie, would have never imagined, that their dad would try to suicide himself.
Nate and Junie’s life changed after their dad was taken to a recovery center for lunatics. With so much going on Nate forgot to brainstorm ideas for the science fair. Nate was later forced by the teacher to team
...more
Lynda
I did enjoy this and I have enjoyed other Maynard books. I first read her because of her connection with JD Salinger but have come to appreciate her clear, spare style and her empathy for her very ordinary, yet still extraordinary characters. The slightly hard done by, slightly careworn woman and the rural slightly underprivileged settings are very recognisable. This story of a couple's loving yet fraught relationship and it's impact on their children is an almost kidult book but nonetheless enj ...more
Amy Snyder
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jean Leong
The Cloud Chamber is one of those books that slowly and secretly sneaks into your soul and pulls you towards it. I wasn't particularly interested at the start, but somehow, something just clicked within me and suddenly I was just...completely addicted to it. Joyce Maynard really worked her magic with this book, throwing some serious issues in our face with lighthearted ways, yet letting us deeply understand the cruelty of society.

This book is just sad. Beautifully and tragically sad. It's not t
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Jan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wisteriouswoman
The book gives a great accounting of the good and bad sides to having a parent with a bipolar illness. It also portrays the hard luck many farmers have and how they can lose everything because of it. The two odd ball kids in the story are likeable and the main character's persistence despite many obstacles was admirable. Nate has a very caring relationship with his little sister. It is a mystery as well as historic fiction. I found it enjoyable because it brought me right back to the 1960 when i ...more
Tracy
This is a very good juvenile read. Nate is 10 and his sister Junie is 7. It's 1967 is mid-America farm region. Nate and Junie come home one day to see their father with blood on his face and mumbling as the police take him away in an ambulance. Their whole world changes then. The adults won't talk about it with him but the kids at school sure talk enough to figure out what's going on. He and Junie become outcasts and end up becoming connected with other outcasts as people say his father is "psyc ...more
Mr.G
A review on the back described The Cloud Chamber as "the saddest and most joyful book you've ever read."
Someone got a little carried away on that one, but I could see where they were going.
In the novel, a young boy suffers persecution and alienation in a small town while trying to come to terms with his father's attempted suicide. Through flashbacks, we learn about his father, an all-around great dad whose spirit is slowly crushed by bad luck and repeated financial setbacks.
The story struck me
...more
Tammy
It was ok. It kind of reminded me of "Stand By Me"... coming of age story, dealing with a dysfunctional family.
Sheep
A random pick from the library. It's okay, though not particularly interesting. Maybe it's targeting a younger audience...
Nikki
I really should read young adult fiction more often; this one was top-notch.
Grady
It wasn't my favorite book but it was and ok book over all
Molly
I think this book was a very sweet tale about how a family's life can change for the worse and how much they are willing to change it. So when Nate's father tries to kill himself Nate has to try to do something to make his dad proud of him. So Nate builds a project that should make his dad have something worth living over. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes a story of hope a dedication.
Ilsa Bick
I've read this four times now, and the more I do, the better I like it. Principally, what Maynard does beautifully is that she creates a completely believable conclusion that isn't at all happily-ever-after. Yet Nate really grows here, and in that sense, this is a true coming-of-age novel where reality trumps wish-fulfillment but fails to crush hope. Highly recommended.
Jennifer
At first, I thought the story would end happily, with Nate winning the science fair and his father all right. But in the end, there's a little twist which makes the story more interesting. Even though Nate didn't win and his father became blind, the story still ends happily. This story really teaches you about family and friendship.
Diane
There were some strengths to this book. Strong characters. A sympathetic situation. Decent writing. But there were some pretty unrealistic plot points that had me shaking my head. There was a strong theme regarding prejudice and the need to be open-minded but ironically the characters felt very stereotyped.
Kathy
I didn't like this work as well as I have liked her other novels. It is a young adult oriented book, and really felt like it was oriented to a younger crowd. I would not say that was true of The Usual Rules. I liked it fine, a quick read. Just didn't love it and didn't think it was as layered as her other works.
Blake The
This book is a page turner because you are wondering what will happen next. The book is about a kid who lost his father and there is a science fair coming up and if he wins it he can go to the city and see his father. His dad shot himself in the head. I would recommend this book to my friends.
Cory
I found the reactions of most of the adult characters to be frustratingly unrealistic, and the time period that it was set in seemed really random (and really randomly conveyed). However, it had a sassy/sweet kid sister character, which is one of my favorites, and she saved the book for me.
Ilsa
My Goodreads account seems to be misbehaving and has removed ALL my books! But suffice to say that I really liked this book and have actually read it four times. It's a true coming-of-age novel where things end believably, not happily-ever-after.
Katie
Good, quick read. Only took me 2 days. It was a cute story about a boy who tries to win the science fair to "make things better" with their father who is in a mental hospital from because he attempted to commit suicide. I guess I reccomend it :)
Karen
I read this book a few years ago. It's kind of depressing, but it's interesting to read how kid's minds work and the reasons they come up with for why adults do the things they do, which is usually way off base.
Brianna
Sep 12, 2008 Brianna is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
i am reading this for my english 1 thang. but its really good so far :) even though im only on like the 5th chapter lol 70707 (inside joke) haha :)

i love you.
-abbie-
aka. bree aka.brianna lol (im very bored)
Brendon 11-12 Byrd
It was good because it was very intresting.

I liked it because it was emotional, it made me cry.

It was good because it was never dull

I recomend this book.
Lela
Laurel Rain's review hits the nail on the head! It gets in your mind and won't leave -- especially if you have any history with suicide or attempted suicide!
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Joyce Maynard first came to national attention with the publication of her New York Times cover story “An Eighteen-Year-Old Looks Back on Life” in 1973, when she was a freshman at Yale. Since then, she has been a reporter and columnist for The New York Times, a syndicated newspaper columnist whose “Domestic Affairs” column appeared in more than fifty papers nationwide, a regular contributor to NPR ...more
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