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

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  2,175 ratings  ·  384 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, 128 pages
Published July 24th 2007 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published July 24th 2006)
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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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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.
Chloe Allen
Mar 24, 2010 Chloe Allen rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 13, 2014 ReGina rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Sucks! Totally confusing and boring. I read 5 pages before I put it down
Jul 01, 2008 Meredith added it
Shelves: ya, middle
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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....more
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 3 of 5 stars
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...more
Upper elementary and middle school girls will love this book about Ginny Davis—a seemingly average 7th-grader just trying to make it through middle school. The author cleverly tells the story without any prose, instead giving us a visual tour of all Ginny’s stuff, from sparkly nail polish to notes passed in class. The images of everyday items like notebooks and report cards are colorful and bright, with enough interest and subtlety that readers will notice something new every time they read this...more
West Region,
Middle School is Worse than Meatloaf by Jennifer Holm

Middle School is Worse than Meatloaf is a book that captures a year of Ginny’s life through little scraps of paper, notes, mementos, and drawings.

Each page lets you know that Ginny is starting Middle School, and that she has definite needs, things we all worry about. Number 4 on list – Do something with hair to make nose look smaller. Color? Perm?

And Ginny’s bank account is always suffering, as are most of ours. We put money in, and withdraw i...more
Not sure if Jennifer Holm was giving a nod to A Song of Ice and Fire, but my favorite line from this book has to be under Ginny's reasons it is good to buy the sweater: "4. Everyone needs a sweater. Winter is coming."

This is how the story is told -- through Ginny's and her family's notes, report cards, receipts, lists, poems, and Ginny's own witty and honest observations. And it is a beautiful story. One of growth and joy and pain and ... life. Will be recommending to all my students.
This book got 3 stars for being clever and original. Kids will love looking though this scrapbook style collection of notes and objects to figure out the story.

However, I think the format of the book causes the book to become dated VERY, VERY quickly. The IM chat screens looked ancient. The pop culture references via magazines and the interests of the girl also made the book feel dated. Example: The girl wants to be the Sugar Plum Fairy in a ballet production. Comes off as very cliche and tradit...more
Nov 08, 2007 Rebecca rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 5th grade and up; fans of Regarding the Fountain, Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Observe Ginny Davis's 7th grade year as deduced from her stuff (photographed in full color): refrigerator notes, detention slips, ticket stubs, IM conversations, notebook poems, and Valentines. Don't forget her to-do list, outlining grand plans such as "Try to be friends with Mary Katherine Kelly" and "Get a dad." Well, that list goes through a lot of revision during Ginny's rocky school year. Mary Katherine gets cast for the ballet part that Ginny wanted; Ginny's mom gets remarried and there ar...more
I'm starting to wonder about myself as I find fourth grade reading level stories more satisfying than "adult contemporary literature".

I honestly picked up this book because I personally loathed junior high and still detest meatloaf. This is a cute and fun read. I liked the creativity Holm used to tell a 7th grade girl's story. Rather than the typical whiny narrative, she used Ginny's "stuff" to let the reader know what was going on. Stuff means store receipts, notes left around the house, school...more
Loved it! Although I'd have to agree that the title is a bit goofy, I was excited about this book after reading a review of it on a blog about books. If I ever were to make a book out of the story of my life, I'd have to copy the format of this one (I knew there was a reason I saved all this stuff!). This is, indeed, a "Year Told Through Stuff" - like a scrapbook with fridge magnets, plus notes, instant messages, candy wrappers, lipgloss and anything else that might be pertinant to a 12 year old...more
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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
More about Jennifer L. Holm...
Turtle in Paradise Queen of the World! (Babymouse, #1) Penny from Heaven Our Only May Amelia (May Amelia, #1) Super Amoeba (Squish, #1)

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…