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Maniac Magee

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  92,485 ratings  ·  2,949 reviews
Jeffrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn't made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run--and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 1st 1990 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published 1990)
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Amber'Nay No Maniac Magee is not a maniac in actuality but he is to the children he is surround by. that is the one thing that this book does so well. The…moreNo Maniac Magee is not a maniac in actuality but he is to the children he is surround by. that is the one thing that this book does so well. The children in this book are so weird and childlike and to them the thinks that Magee does is like a maniac because they are just kids. There is a really big difference between the way children act and the way adults act. The children see the feats that Magee does and cant help but believe that he is a maniac.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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David
He wasn't born with the name Maniac Magee. He came into this world named Jeffrey Lionel Magee, but when his parents died and his life changed, so did his name. Maniac Magee took to the streets.

And Maniac Magee became a legend.

Even today kids talk about how fast he could run; about how he hit an inside-the-park "frog" homer; how no knot, no matter how snarled, would stay that way once he began to untie it. Little girls jumping rope chant:
"Ma-niac, Ma-niac
He's so cool
Ma-niac, Ma-niac
Don't go t
...more
Liz
I really didn't enjoy this book. I feel like the story didn't really go anywhere. Spinelli tried to touch on issues of racial prejudice and poverty, and let the exsistance of those issues carry his story. It didn't work. However because there are touchy issues, it becomes a story that isn't easy to complain about. However I'll be brave enough to say, "I didn't like it!".

As a personal note, I do not find this novel appropriate for children still in gradeschool.
Dawn
A really neat book. Excellent! Definitely deserving of its Newbery Award. I think I have to give it a 5! I find myself asking, "Why didn't I ever read this before?" I've certainly heard of it for years. My fourth grade daughter just read it at school and loved it. I really enjoyed the narrative voice and style. It starts out almost like a tall tale, but what Maniac really accomplished is better than a legend. So it's a meaningful story that teaches an important lesson without being preachy. The ...more
Colleen Venable
Last week I came across a pile of free books on the ground...all copies of MANIAC MAGEE. I took one, knowing it was supposed to be good, but knowing nothing of the plot. It made me cry three times—twice because of the actual story of a homeless boy who brings together the white and black sides of a small town—but I cried the hardest because it felt so poignant given the sad craziness in the country right now. I don't talk politics online, mostly because my own personal believe system is simply " ...more
Nelson B.
Jerry spinelli is one of the best witers ever. Maniac Magee is a realistic fictionbook because maniac is invented but it could happen in real life.The perents of Maniac Magee died in a trolley crash.Maniac Magee was an orphan so his aunt and uncle adoped him.Maniac did"t like their house because they cant share.One day Maniac ran away because the hated in his aunt and uncle house.When he left he went to Two mills.In TWO MILLS it is white V.S black.I have schema with this book because maniac put ...more
Rodolfo A.
I love this book because is telling me the time
when black people and white people were seperted.

This book is realistic fiction because there and
made up characters but,this happend real that black people
and white people were seperted.

Maniac parents died from a trolly crash.Maniac didn't have any
were to live so,he is an orphan.He met a girl name Amanda.Maniac
wentto amanda's house and lived with her.Later he met a boy name
mar bars.Some people from the west side and east side haet him so,
he went to
...more
Sasha
Mar 10, 2008 Sasha rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NO ONE
Recommended to Sasha by: MY TEACHER.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeffrey Mohr
This book is one of my favorite books to use when I work with students. It approaches the concept of “race” and “racism” through the eyes of someone that just wants to make friends and doesn't understand why people would treat others differently just because of their looks. It also treats the main character as a whole person and shows the turmoil he goes through while dealing with the loss of loved ones and the sadness and depression that can result from that. Students need to see books that don ...more
Patti Richards
Wow! Maniac Magee has to be one of the best middle grade novels I have ever read. The storyline is fascinating, but the mixture of reality, conjecture and legend is what kept me turning pages. I loved the hero, and I especially love the family from the “other side of town” that takes him in. They way they pour love into his lost little soul is amazing and very believable. I also really liked the way the author removed him from that home and gave him the ability to love the old man. Had he gone t ...more
Razvan Zamfirescu
Shel
Spinelli, J. (1990). Maniac Magee. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

0316809063

As an orphan, Jeffrey Magee is sent to live with his aunt and uncle who live separately within their house and refuse to share anything. At the age of eleven, Jeffrey, unable to deal with his aunt and uncle’s refusal to interact or communicate, runs away. A year later, he appears in a strictly racially segregated town, doing amazing feats and running like a mad man, earning him the nickname, Maniac. Quick to make
...more
Rachel
It seems a sacrilege to not like this book. It has an excellent message, but the book wasn’t a good vehicle for getting this message across. The character of Maniac Magee is flat and unrealistic. He has no flaws, can do no wrong, and rarely exhibits real emotion. He is loved by all, completes amazing feats of bravery, athleticism, and intelligence, and changes the entire town he lives in. That kind of character isn’t realistic. The book never establishes if this is a fantasy world (where a boy c ...more
Stephen
This WOULD have been a childhood favorite. If it had been written 30 years earlier. As it is, it's a wonderful, light-hearted, good spirited book that deserves to be read by children of all ages (including those in their 50's)

Yes, it's a kid's book, but it's a fast fun read and adults would be well advised to give it a read as well. While it has much the same allegorical feel as Holes, in some ways it avoids a few of the pitfalls of that book.

As with any good fiction, there's some truth hidden
...more
Becky Bishop
My absolute favorite book. Yes it is a children's book, but it is so amazing. You will not want to put it down. I read it to my class every year. I have only known about it for 4 years now. I wanted to read a book to my class and let everyone have a copy. We have literature sets at our school for checkout and Maniac Magee had the most copies, so I chose it. I didn't know anything about the book, but we read it as a class and I absolutely would recommend that everyone read it even if you are out ...more
Elysa
Really good book! I read it more than once!
Evelyn Ink
Wow. I think I was in love with this book before I finished reading the second sentence:
"They say Maniac Magee was born in a dump. They say his stomach was a cereal box and his heart a sofa spring.
They say he kept an eight-inch cockroach on a leash and that rats stood guard over him while he slept."
This book is written in a narrative that is part hear-say, part school-yard legend, and part facts. Magee’s story begins when he runs away from his Aunt and Uncle who hate each other, but will not di
...more
Maddie
This book is quite possibly one of the most poorly written works of fiction I have ever had the misfortune to stumble upon. I personally am not a fan of Jerry Spinelli (with the exception of Stargirl), and thought I would give him one last shot. Not only was the writing itself unbearable and slow, the topic is overused and cliché. The emotions are few and far between. Throw in there a sad, pathetic kid whose life does not improve whatsoever and some other worthless surface characters and you hav ...more
Chris
Been meaning to reread this since the sixth grade.
Jocelyn
Maniac Magee is about a boy named Jeffrey Magee. His parents have already died. Jeffrey lives with his Aunt and Uncle who won't speak to each other but won't get lawfully divorced. He runs away when he is eleven. He meets many people including John McNahb the best Baseball player in Pennsylvania. When John throws his fastballs that no one can see except Jeffrey Magee. That is only one of the ways Jeffrey got the name Maniac. Another was when where most kids walked on one train rail Maniac RAN. M ...more
Bronson
This book is really funny and good. It is about a white boy who lost his parents and has nowhere to live. But people hate him in the east end. Whites stay on the west end and the blacks stay on the east. But Jeferry maggie(maniac Maggie) is on the east end. He always wants an address but can never stay with one. He does find this black family but then he leaves to go to the west end. I reccome d this book because it is hilarious.





Mrs. Rogers
This is my ultime favorite book! I love the determination and survival techniques that Maniac Magee displays and the positive evolution of the character. This novel will warm your heart and you will read that everyone can and should be loved. Your eyes will play magic tricks on you as you read and can visualize the line of racial tension start to fade away.
Crain Taylor
Maniac Magee is a wonderfully written book about the adventures of a young boy named Jeffery Magee, whose parents unfortunately died in a tragic accident when he was very young. The story follows Jeffery through many trials as he strives to find his place in the world. More than anything, Jeffery longs for an address - any place he can call home. Throughout his adventures, Jeffery changes the lives of all the people he encounters. He quickly gets nicknamed "Maniac" for some of the crazy stunts h ...more
Lavinia
This book was well written. But I think they could have did better. It was kinda confusing in the middle and the end of the book. The good part is that it was funny;) I kinda liked the book. And I finished it in like 1 week and a half :)
Abby
Maniac Magee is a beautiful book.
I read it via audiobook. There aren't too many flawless audiobooks, but this is one of them. The narrator is perfect and the writing was good: a golden combination. I felt like the story was being told straight to me, so relaxed, so familiar, with rich voices and emotions. It was excellent.
As a kid, I wouldn't have cared for this book (it has too much baseball and too few animals), but as a young adult I loved it. Maniac is entirely endearing, and I loved to hea
...more
Christopher Spinosa
Maniac Magee, in my perspective, was very interesting, with multiple scene changes and multiple characters that had importance in specific times of his life. This story is about Maniac Magee, a boy who just wanted to live a normal life, until his parents die in a freak accident, and he has to live with his uncle, who hates his wife, and they all live miserably. Maniac hates this, and decides to run away to find a new home. He encounters many people and families and who are willing to let him liv ...more
Emily G.
Jeffery Magee was a legend. When he was three years old, his parents died in a trolley accident, making him an orphan. He was shipped off to his aunt and uncle who hated each other, and he lasted there for about eight years. After that, he decided to run, meeting many people and doing remarkable things. On his journey, he went into the two divided parts of town: the East End and the West End. He met many people and did unbelievable things, and from then on, he was called Maniac Magee.

I really en
...more
Auntie J
Feb 26, 2015 Auntie J marked it as looks-interesting-maybe-read  ·  review of another edition
2/26/15 Kindle Daily Deal $.99.
Libbio
horrible don't read this book
Kristin
In my continuing quest to read all of the books Roosevelt students read in their language arts classes, I picked up Maniac Magee to read over winter break. I’m glad I did. Jerry Spinelli tells the story of Maniac Magee, an orphan who escapes an aunt and uncle who don’t communicate and becomes famous around town for his skills in sports, untying knots, and running. I liked Maniac’s observations on the ridiculousness of a town split by race and his efforts to improve race relations in his own smal ...more
Mikaela
Oct 18, 2014 Mikaela rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: @sykes_dr
As part of UMHB's READ 3307, I read Maniac Magee when I was in elementary school. I always remembered loving this book and the story it had behind it. I feel as though this book can relate to students who are adopted and feel like they don't fit in anymore. It is a book that can make you feel sad at times, like it did for me. Magee was an orphan and was tired of living with his Aunt and Uncle. Everyone gets tired of living with their parents at a time in their life, but I feel like his was deepe ...more
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When Jerry Spinelli was a kid, he wanted to grow up to be either a cowboy or a baseball player. Lucky for us he became a writer instead.

He grew up in rural Pennsylvania and went to college at Gettysburg College and Johns Hopkins University. He has published more than 25 books and has six children and 16 grandchildren.
Jerry Spinelli began writing when he was 16 — not much older than the hero of his
...more
More about Jerry Spinelli...
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19 trivia questions
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“Nobody knows who said it first, but somebody must have: 'Kid's gotta be a maniac.” 21 likes
“Vowels were something else. He didn't like them and they didn't like him. There were only five of them, but they seemed to be everywhere. Why, you could go through twenty words without bumping into some of the shyer consonants, but it seemed as if you couldn't tiptoe past a syllable without waking up a vowel. Consonants, you know pretty much where you stood, but you could never trust a vowel.” 16 likes
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