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Joy School (Katie Nash #2)

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  4,617 ratings  ·  310 reviews
In this exquisite new novel by bestselling writer Elizabeth Berg, a young woman falls in love -- and learns how sorrow can lead to an understanding of joy.

Katie, the narrator, has relocated to Missouri with her distant, occasionally abusive father, and she feels very much alone: her much-loved mother is dead; her new school is unaccepting of her; and her only friends fall
Published August 25th 2010 by Ballantine Books (first published 1997)
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Joy School is a follow-up to Elizabeth Berg’s debut novel, Durable Goods, where we were introduced to main character Katie at twelve years of age. Although I enjoyed the first book, in Joy School there are more conflicts, beautifully layered together. At its heart though, this book, set in the 1950’s, is a story of first love.

Now thirteen, Katie meets and falls for 23-year-old “shiver-handsome” Jimmy, who works in a garage, is married, and has a child. But Katie doesn’t realize this for quite s
Perhaps this was a guilty pleasure but I really liked this wonderful (if not a bit formulaic) dip into the mind of a thirteen-year-old girl as she navigates a cruel new town, unusual new friends, and an older man she falls in love with. There were a lot of funny scenes and I appreciated Berg's quick and succinct way of introducing her characters and how they look and act. A sweet little book with a lot of heart. Pretty close to a 5-star book for me actually. Am I getting soft or what?!
The kind of y/a adults will gobble up as eagerly. Not quite as moving as its prequel, Durable Goods, Joy School is nonetheless wrenching and engaging. Katie, now living in Missouri with her father and their housekeeper/nanny, is about to turn 13. She has trouble making friends at her new school for a while, then makes some dubious ones (all while reminding me strongly of Haven Kimmel's child self-portait in A Girl Called Zippy), while half-maintaining correspondence with the ever delightful Cher ...more
OK, on to Katie Nash #3. She is an addictive character with a unique voice. A sweet follow up to Durable Goods. Berg's a writer I'd love to have lunch with....
Katie's army father has moved her to Missouri, far from her familiar school, her best friend, and her older sister. Katie struggles to fit in in her new home and becomes friends with a rag-tag group of people--the most beautiful girl in school, a classmate's ailing Italian grandmother, and an all too handsome gas station attendant.
This book was laugh-out-loud funny. The protagonist, an introverted 13 year old, whose thoughts are loud and precocious and almost too honest, is wildly loveable. She
Elizabeth Berg is a no-fail writer. She's a reader's treasure--everything is good. This book is no exception to her fine writing. The character's are well defined. You get invested in the lives of the people. Definitely a must read for Berg fans.

Oh, how I love, love, love Elizabeth Berg. This book was such a sweet, nostalgic trip back to awkward adolescence. It didn't pack quite the same punch as "Durable Goods" for me. I think that's because I was so emotionally invested in Katie surviving her abusive father in DG. I was invested in her during this novel too but in more of a lighthearted way, watching her navigate unrequited love with an older man. I worried during the entire novel over how she would embarrass herself with him (I'm so ...more
I love the language of this book. So many moments are sweet and sad and funny all at once. When she tells the priest about her tendency to lie, for example. “He talked about a surface being eroded and how that changes a character of a thing and I looked into his eyes like I was listening, but I also was thinking about how amazingly old he is and didn’t priests have a retirement rule?”

When 13-year-old Katie is talking with the priest after Thanksgiving, the entire scene is so warm and reassuring
I was looking for a quick and enjoyable read so when I spied this book of just over 200 pages with rather short chapters AND by an author I follow, I plucked this one from the shelf. However, I had no idea that it would be SUCH a quick read--I read it in one short afternoon; not just because of its length but because it was so engaging.

This was the story of 12 year old Katie. She is older than her years in some ways and only wants to be older than her years in others. It is her sometimes painful
Jennifer Donovan
*I received a review copy of the audiobook for review purposes*

I’ve read Elizabeth Berg’s fiction for adults and a writing book she wrote. I enjoy her voice and her characters. Brilliance audio released her novel Joy School on audiobook late last year. I didn’t realize it was a Young Adult book until I started listening, but I feel like I enjoyed the sort of coming-of-age story as much or more as the target audience would.

Fourteen-year-old Katie Nash is an interesting character. Her dad is in th
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I don't normally choose this type of book, but I just LOVE Katie Nash. She's one of my favorite imaginary adolescents. She's funny and sensitive, and she feels so real. Technically these aren't young adult books, but I put them on my YA shelf because I wish they'd been around when I was that age.
Beth Gomez
Truly one of the finest books I have ever read. Her writing is a soul filler! Her every sentence seems important. You don't want to miss a word. My sister told me about her years ago! I wish I had listened. Wonderful, Wonderful, wonderful!
This is probably my favorite book! Another amazing coming-of-age story of a girl who is so easy to like and relate to. Katie is a wonderful young woman and reminds me of myself a lot, even though we grew up in two completely different worlds and times. I ADORE this girl. She is very spiritual, yet down-to-earth, she is all feelings and dreams, but at the same time, she cares about what goes on around her. Her daily adventures made me both smile and tear up just a little. Elizabeth Berg is defini ...more
John Henry
Is Elizabeth Berg underrated as a gifted author and too much the best seller producer? She knows how to sculpt one wonderful phrase after another until you're captivated and happy and sad about it at the same time.
Ms Berg has created the character of Katie and placed her right in the timeframe of my own early teens. I am right there with Katie as she manages to sleep an entire night in her hair rollers and tries out those beauty products with ineptness and naivety.
I just wish I had known to read DURABLE GOODS first. Though I'm assured each book stands alone, I'm thinking I'd like to have known the younger Katie first.
JOY SCHOOL is a delight and a charming look back to the days.... as a new a
Shivani Desai
This was a fantastic quick read. The story is told my Katie, a high school 1st year who just moved to a new town with her father. Katie's perspective is so fun to read. There were multiple times I burst out laughing because of the way she describes the situation. Parts of it feel very childish (she is 13 after all), but those parts are also fun. Throughout the book I wondered if I thought this way when I was her age. A great read for anyone who is looking for something quick, fun, but also with ...more
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Sweet, but not cloying. The author got it right, the feeling of being the odd kid in a new town. "I sit mostly by myself, or by someone miscellaneous." She can't seem to talk to her family either. And then she has a crush on The One. The older one who is an impossibility, except in her mind. The One who she can say anything to, who seemed pleased to see her. "Around him, everything bad about me was excused and everything good about me got held up." And then he has to leave town.

Though I prefer n
I've read several Elizabeth Berg books and they are always goodish sort of books. Like 'em, like 'em enough to read another one from time to time, but don't really remember or think about them when I'm done reading them.

Joy School is a little bit of an exception. At first I thought it was just goodish like Berg's other's, but there were a couple of passages that truly resonated with me. One was when a brand new friend wanted to go shopping with the 13 year old protagonist, Katie. Katie is told t
Christine Kloss
Best Books for Young Adults: Romance

This is a sweet story about a young girl's first crush on an older guy. Katie has a father who is slightly abusive, her mother is dead and her sister lives in Mexico. She doesn't have any real friends and doesn't really fit into her new environment. However, when she falls through the ice and Jimmy comes to save her she couldn't have guessed that she was going to feel the things she did. This story is about first love and the point that love doesn't always loo
Notes from BookCrossing: I'm very excited to read this one especially, as I just recently "read" my first audiobook -- an Elizabeth Berg! And I really enjoyed it, so I'm sure this will be equally fun to curl up with (with which to curl. . .oh heck, with which to up curl. . . you know, to read in a comfy chair in the corner!).

I started this book today at the Post Office, and I had to run home to check the name of the audiobook (referenced in my previous journal entry) to make sure it wasn't the s
Book Concierge
Katie is an 12-year-old Army brat, whose mother has died. She is new to town and school, and she has a huge crush on a married garage station manager. It's a touching coming of age story, told poignantly.

UPDATE - second reading 20July2013
Twelve-year-old Katie has moved with her Army colonel father to a suburb of St Louis. An Army brat, Katie is used to being the new kid in school, but things are particularly difficult now that her mother has died and her older sister, Diane, has gotten married
Katie and her father have moved to Missouri from Texas just as Katie is entering the insecurity and wonder of her teen years. Her mother is dead, her sister is pregnant, her father is distant, and she is mostly ignored at school. She thinks maybe the only people who like her are the cafeteria ladies because they always give her seconds. Then she meets Jimmy, the much older manager of a gas station and her luck seems to be changing. She begins spending more time with the married Jimmy and even fi ...more
“Young as I am, I know now that everything is about to come. Jimmy will be the place for me to learn the real happiness. He will be my Joy School. My joy. Mine.”

These words sum up this story, about a 13-year-old girl, Katie, transplanted to Missouri after her mother’s death, and subject to the mercurial moods of a stern, inaccessible father; she finds solace in the housekeeper and in her two friends – Cynthia, who is odd and whose grandmother actually interests Katie, with her loud, Italian ways
I loved revisiting Katie Nash, after reading Durable Goods last year. Who can't empathize and sympathize with her? Her awkward, uncertain, naive character takes me right back to being thirteen again. And while Katie seems awkward and naive, she also is wise and sees things so much differently than her peers. I think there is a certain poetic maturity to Katie's worldview.

The interesting thing about this book is the secondary characters and the roles they play in Katie's coming of age. Taylor, Cy
I enjoy Elizabeth Berg's writing style. This "coming of age" book stars 12-year-old Katie. "Maybe she is already starting to be a mother because she can't help herself, her body is taking over, and so she is thinking about someone else's feelings. That's what mothers do, is always get in back of theline. "No," they say, holding up their hand, "I'm fine." "I feel like my privacy is a white plsce where they've wied their dirty hands." "...and the words were like a package lai on the table that no ...more
Though this is a YA book, it spoke to me. I liked it just as much as Durable Goods, which is the first Katie book. Even though Elizabeth Berg said she probably would not write a third book, I know now that she did. It is True to Form and I have a copy loaned to me by a friend.

This story sent me back to the time I was 13 going on 19. Katie is a soft-hearted young girl, living with her father after her mother's death and in a new town. Her dad is in the Army and a distant father at best. Her olde
just one of the many good reviews“Young as I am, I know now that everything is about to come. Jimmy will be the place for me to learn the real happiness. He will be my Joy School. My joy. Mine.”

These words sum up this story, about a 13-year-old girl, Katie, transplanted to Missouri after her mother’s death, and subject to the mercurial moods of a stern, inaccessible father; she finds solace in the housekeeper and in her two friends – Cynthia, who is odd and whose grandmother actually interests K
I really enjoyed this book. I think I liked it even more than Durable Goods. Katie is now 13 years old and has moved to a new town (again). She struggles to make real friends at her new school and connects with a girl who forces her to question her own morals. She falls in love with a much older man and the tale of her unrequited love is actually very gentle and endearing. Jimmy has a wonderful soft, sensitive personality. I love his character. I like what I'm seeing in terms of the growth of Ka ...more
Melissa Farnsworth
This book can take you back...

The story takes place in the ‘50’s and refers to film stars and other nostalgic images that will resonate with a reader of a particular age. It’s not merely a book for teens.

I was immediately ensnared. Katie's voice was engaging from the first moment—honest and natural. Oh, the trepidation that accompanies the first days of a new school – of high school. The private hope that you’ll make friends, that you’ll fit in, not stick out. The prayer that you’ll have someon
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Elizabeth Berg is the New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including We Are All Welcome Here, The Year of Pleasures, The Art of Mending, Say When, True to Form, Never Change, and Open House, which was an Oprah’s Book Club selection in 2000. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year, and Talk Before Sleep was short-listed for the ABBY Award in 1996. The w ...more
More about Elizabeth Berg...

Other Books in the Series

Katie Nash (3 books)
  • Durable Goods (Katie Nash, #1)
  • True to Form (Katie Nash, #3)
Open House What We Keep The Year of Pleasures Talk Before Sleep Home Safe

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“If I were to draw on a paper what gym does for me, I would make one dot and then I would erase it.” 72 likes
“When it's new and important, you have to rest in between times. And anyway, even when I like a person there is a weariness that comes. I can be with someone and everything is fine and then all of a sudden it can wash over me like a sickness, that I need the quiet of my own self. I need to unload my head and look at what I've got in there so far. See it. Think what it means. I always need to come back to being alone for a while.” 30 likes
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