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Jean and Johnny (First Love #3)

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  1,216 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews

First Date

Fifteen-year-old Jean is astonished when a handsome Johnny whirls her round the dance floor. She's never given much thought to boys before; now Johnny is all that's on her mind. Finally she finds the courage to invite him to a dance. But the excitement of a new dress and a scheme to take Johnny's photograph cannot stop Jean's growing uneasiness that she likes J

Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 29th 2003 by Harper Teen (first published 1959)
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Kati Lillibridge From what I've read, Jean and Johnny is a very innocent book and it could probably go for any age group.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Apr 05, 2010 Susann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
No change except a further appreciation of the Jarretts' tough economic situation.

4-3-10 review:
I take back anything I ever said about this being my least favorite of the Cleary YA books. It's certainly the one that makes me cringe the most, but that's only because it reminds me of my time wasted chasing after a not-good-enough. But good for Jean for learning her lesson and for wearing a killer dress to spend an evening with pigeons.

Cleary's books are always rich with home details that forever
Celia Juliano
Jul 19, 2014 Celia Juliano rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Beverly Cleary amazes me. She has a deceptively simple style, but her insight into people is profound. I wish I'd read this as a teenager, because it contains so much dating wisdom in a sweet story. One favorite quote: "It was Johnny who had noticed her, singled her out of the crowd, had made her feel she was attractive. In a way, it was Johnny who had made her aware of herself." (283)
Don't miss this book if you are a Cleary fan, or like sweet stories.
Must have read this book 500 times. It taught me boys can be mean, but girls are tough enough to take it. Sue and Jean reminded me of Beezus and Ramona all grown up!
Jul 06, 2012 Aili rated it really liked it
Good for girls thinking about boys and dating. I love when she won't kiss him because it's their first date! Talks about what dating is for: getting to know people better. Also a good discussion of "being noticed" by a boy and how that's not always so fun.
Beanbag Love
Apr 16, 2016 Beanbag Love rated it really liked it
Cleary's recent 100th birthday inspired me to pick up some of her work. I recall reading the Ramona books when I was in elementary school, but I'd never read the YA. I have a soft spot for these types of vintage stories, so it was fun to dive in after reading two books back to back about vampires and death and evil and sex.

Jean Jarrett is a fifteen-year-old girl who doesn't feel like she fits in at her school. She and her best friend swoon over a young TV personality, but school and social matte
Apr 20, 2014 Dona rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Loved this book when I read it when I was in the 8th grade. At the time it was a large hard cover book and I stayed in my room all day reading it and wouldn't come out till the end.I think I was attracted to the book because I wore glasses, like Jean, (how do you hold your head when you are kissing a boy who also wears glasses????). I liked a boy named Johnny and my middle name is Jean.
Bought it a few years ago and found it to be a normal length book, BUT as soon as I started reading it again,
Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

I read the 1991 edition of this book when I was around 12 or 13, but all I could remember before sitting down to read it this time was that I really enjoyed it. Now that I've refreshed my memory and familiarized myself with the events of the story once again, I can see why it would have been a favorite.

Jean Jarrett is fifteen years old, and though her family doesn't have much money, she has a pretty decent life. She has a good friend named El
Apr 18, 2016 Tressa rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen, 2016
I am a yuuuuuge Beverly Cleary fan and return to her books when I want to add a slice of innocence into our depressing world full of terrorism, high prices, high unemployment, and racial discord. If I had ever read this one, I don't remember it, but I knew how each chapter would steer the plot, and guessed how the book was going to end, so maybe I have read it before or maybe it's just such a generic teen bildingsroman that it seems familiar. That said, I still enjoyed it.

Many people may think
Mar 29, 2010 Kristy rated it really liked it
I picked this book up last time I was at the house I grew up in. I'd first read this book years ago,(written in the cover was Teton Elementary 4th grade)but I remembered lots of things about it. I still think twice before returning a dish to the dish water (you'd have to read the first chapter to understand what I mean by that) and I have always wanted a breakfast nook. This time my reading was strictly for research purposes. I've always loved Beverly Cleary and was sure she could teach me somet ...more
Aug 18, 2012 Sherri rated it liked it
You DON'T read a book like this for its action packed story line. You DO read a book like this for a slice-of-life look into the world of a teenage girl smack dab in 1950s America. In other words, it's literary time travel. For that reason alone, I found it worthwhile. And though times have changed quite markedly for a 15 year old girl, some themes from the book strike a chord even today.

Being a glasses-wearer since junior high, I loved that Jean wore them. I could relate to her insecurities ab
Aug 12, 2012 Judy rated it liked it

Jean and Johnny is the third of Cleary's novels for young adults. For me it did not have the magic of Fifteen or The Luckiest Girl. Even so, she captured pretty exactly the feelings of a 14-year-old girl who wonders whether or not a boy likes her. I especially could relate to the phenomenon of becoming completely tongue-tied when in the presence of said boy.

What bothered me was how passive Jean would be in any situation concerning Johnny. She was so blind to how much of a self-centered player he
Jul 12, 2017 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-read
So glad I'm not 15 years old anymore! Written in the late 1950's, a quaint but frustrating book about a girl getting interested in boys. I definitely didn't like this one as much as "The Luckiest Girl".
Nadine Keels
Oct 13, 2010 Nadine Keels rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ah! Young people listening to records and tuning in to their favorite television and radio "programs," drive-in restaurants with carhops serving Cokes, folks with telephone numbers like "Toyon 1-4343," and teenaged boys saying things like, "Gosh, that would be swell!" and meaning it.

Such fun to return to this old-fashioned, cozy, slightly heartbreaking, relatable, sweet story as an adult, since I understand it better and have a greater appreciation for Jean's gradual maturation through the novel
Apr 16, 2015 J. rated it really liked it
Four stars for capturing so precisely the drama that teenage girls can create from the most insignificant word or look. This was me in high school (in the late 90's) though I didn't learn Jean's lessons until I went to college. I found it funny that I knew a Johnny exactly the Johnny character in the book. I wonder if I would have recognized the similarities and learned from the book had I read it in high school.
Stephanie Lucianovic
It's not going to rank with Fifteen or The Luckiest Girl for me, but that's possibly because 1. I read both of those books as a kid and grew up with them, so this can't really compete as a first-read in adulthood and 2. Since reading both of Cleary's memoirs, it's so hard not to have my reading affected by how hard her life was as a kid and teenager. She puts so much of herself and real events from her own life in her books, I can't divorce the two.
Mar 18, 2015 Jill rated it really liked it
A sweet book offering Beverly Cleary's usual sharp insight into human character and motivation. It's been a long time since I "chased" a boy, but I remember it well (with chagrin) and could relate so well to Jean's emotions! The family dynamics and Jean's friendship with Elaine were heart-warming yet genuine, and the ending was quite satisfying.
Wish I had discovered this series years ago!
Jun 13, 2014 Joan rated it it was amazing
Read this book when I was in high school and I enjoy this one. This is an easy read for young adults. About first loves and learning that you don't need to compromise yourself just to be like by someone. I would recommend this to my future children especially to young girls. A nice summer read.
Sep 14, 2007 Wendy rated it really liked it
(reread, of course)

Oh, Beverly Cleary, don't you understand? Everyone FEELS this way, but no one is supposed to TALK about it!
Feb 12, 2008 Tracy rated it it was amazing
I seriously consider this not only one of the best books I have ever read, but one of the most influential as well.
Andrea Williams
Jun 15, 2016 Andrea Williams rated it it was amazing
Shelves: old-faves
"They had come to dance and dance they must."

Feb 23, 2017 Corene rated it really liked it
A pure nostalgia read for me as I revisited this book from my grade school days.

A teen novel written more for the 10 -12 age range, "Jean and Johnny" was first published in the 1950s and seemed very old-fashioned to me even when I first read it in the late 1960s. There's something so sweet about the story, though, and it really captures the main character's journey as she experiences her first crush.

There is so much kindness here, too, between the members of Jean's family and in Jean herself. I
Sarah Hadd
Mar 19, 2017 Sarah Hadd rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
I picked this book up this morning and read it in a day - surprisingly Beverly Cleary has managed to stay timeless. I mean, it wasn't an overall incredible book. And the ending was obnoxious. But apart from the constant sewing these teenage girls did, most of the situations would still be relatable to today's teens. It's a classic "he's just not that into you" story. Kinda boring. But relatable. And with a big preoccupation with sewing.
Jennifer Hughes
Dec 28, 2016 Jennifer Hughes rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
This is a sweet little young adult book that's still relevant, despite being written and set in the 1950s.

This novel has a taste of the romance in Fifteen, but unlike Jane's story, Jean's is pretty firmly grounded in reality. Jean is a really nicely nuanced character. As the book began, she felt insecure but found her inner strength as she learned some things about herself. She fell for Mr. Gorgeous but eventually was wise enough to realize that sometimes things that sparkle are fool's gold. He
Mar 07, 2017 Kaelee rated it liked it
I love me some Beverly Cleary. I don't know why there aren't half stars yet, I give this 3.5. It's very old fashioned, which is fine with me, but made me laugh a few times about it.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It took me a while to start enjoying this book back in freshman years because I think it had something to do with the fact that it's so...1950's! Jean and Johnny isn't a classic "first love" teen novel. Jean didn't end up with Johnny. The story didn't portray Johnny as Jean's love of her life either, which was a nice bit of perspective.

What was most interesting about the book was the glimpse it gave of American life in the late 1950s, and particularly the economic realities of a single-income, w
Javier Baez-flores
Jan 29, 2015 Javier Baez-flores rated it it was amazing
If you love reading Beverly Clearly books, then you should read Jean and Johnny that's about a girl who wants to go out with this cute boy.

The story takes place in Jean's house, a school and a live show. This main character named Jean lives in this house where she works on drying supper dishes while her older sister Sue, washes them. Later, Jean and her best friend Elaine go watch a commercial where this boy singer Kip Laddish sings awful and even dances awful. Jean's dad, Mr. Jarret dislikes
Gabs {My Full Bookshelf Reviews}
It took me a while to start enjoying this book. I think it had something to do with the fact that it's so...1950's. I've read a couple books that took place in the 1950's, but those were more like the Outsiders then Jean and Johnny.

I'll start with what I liked about it: it was a cute story about first loves. I liked the ending a lot. And for the most part, I liked Jean. She was a bit obsessive, but it's understandable; Johnny's her first crush!

Now, for what I didn't like. First, I couldn't real
Aimee (Getting Your Read On)
Fifteen year old Jean is shocked when handsome and popular Johnny picks her out of a crowd at a dance and asks her to dance. Jean hasn’t given much thought to boys but ever since that dance, Johnny is all Jean can think of. As the school year progresses, Johnny pays more and more attention to Jean. Even though Johnny is a senior, Jean believes he really, truly likes her. Jean finally works up the courage to ask Johnny to a school dance and is over the moon when he accepts! But, doubts creep in a ...more
Jul 21, 2010 May rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pre-teen or teen girls, women who want to re-live angst that is being a 15 year old ordinary girl
Shelves: teen-ya
Fifteen was my first 'romance' book as a pre-teen, so it always will hold a special spot in my heart. When I realized that B.Cleary has others in this 'series' about first loves I decided to check them out.

Jean & Johnny is about a short 15year old girl living a very ordinary life with her parents and older sister. She gets asked to dance - at a dance she wasn't even really attending and thus begins her obsession with Johnny.

What I really like about these books is that while they're very ol
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Beverly Cleary (born April 12, 1916) is the author of over 30 books for young adults and children. Her characters are normal children facing challenges that many of us face growing up, and her stories are liberally laced with humour. Some of her best known and loved characters are Ramona Quimby and her sister Beatrice ("Beezus"), Henry Huggins, and Ralph S. Mouse.

Beverly Cleary was born Beverly At
More about Beverly Cleary...

Other Books in the Series

First Love (4 books)
  • Fifteen  (First Love, #1)
  • The Luckiest Girl (First Love, #2)
  • Sister of the Bride (First Love, #4)

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“He seemed grown-up, compared to the boys at school, and although he was not handsome, or even particularly good-looking—there were still some scars on his face from the skin trouble he had when he was younger—his face was agreeable because it was so. . . . What was the word? Kind, perhaps. Or gentle. But strong, too. He was genuinely glad to see all of Sue’s family, and when Sue entered the room and he helped her on with her coat, Jean thought he acted as if her sister was someone precious to him.” 5 likes
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