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The Rites and Wrongs of Janice Wills

3.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  353 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
For anyone who's ever survived a rite of passage or performed a mating dance at Prom . . .

The Japanese hold a Mogi ceremony for young women coming of age. Latina teenagers get quinceaneras. And Janice Wills of Melva, NC ... has to compete in the Miss Livermush pageant.

Janice loves anthropology--the study of human cultures--and her observations help her identify useful rule
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,137)
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Jul 24, 2011 skein rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-star, 2011
More of the ugly-girl-who-takes-off-her-eyeglasses-and-is-suddenly-totes-hot trope, except here, the eyeglasses are intellectualism. Isn't that charming!

Narrator-cum-protagonist = disaffected teen too smart for her own good! encounters sadness! loses cynicism and falls in love with her darling quirky town! finds true love! it was right there all along!

Written in 2011, this has a surprising (and sad) amount of awkwardly placed Modern Themes, such as "bisexual guy" and "token black girl who dances
Jul 05, 2011 Angela rated it it was amazing
This is perhaps not the most objective review (I know the author), but this book is a delight. Funny and smart and sappy-in-a-good-way.
May 05, 2011 Lane rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this clever and endearing portrait of high school life in small town North Carolina, but I wished the character of Rufus had featured more prominently.
Dec 16, 2011 Erica rated it really liked it
The Rites and Wrongs of Janice Wills was an absolutely delightful debut. I read straight through and just loved it. Janice has a great story to tell, and I loved every page of it.

The plot was a lot of fun. There were definitely aspects that were slightly clichéd and predictable, but I loved them all the same. The book had little interruptions to the plot such as "A Note From the Anthropologist" which were a ton of fun to read. It was just another thing that made this book so great. I love conte
Aug 03, 2011 Britta rated it liked it
The premise of this novel immediately interested me. I've always said that anthropology would be an awesome job... not a job for me, but I find people in general very interesting. Especially how different cultures can seem so unique, but at the core, most share the same values and archetypal roles. Because of this, Janice Will's anthropological studies set in an American high school is something everyone can relate to. I was cracking up by how true her observations are. Her observations and more ...more
Apr 12, 2016 Lori rated it really liked it
Shelves: listened-to, ya
First person narrative of a smart girl's social experiences in high school, sweet and fun.
Apr 19, 2014 Michigosling rated it it was ok
This would be just one more cliched book that didn't need to be written about a less-than-popular high school girl with a crush on a boy, except the author, who seems to be a physician, decided to throw in this gimmicky business about anthropology. One of my elementary school friends who went to med school majored in anthropology as an undergrad, which wasn't a bad idea, I thought.

Reading the book, one has to wonder if Pearson ever took an anthropology class. Had she done so, she would understa
Manaswini Iyengar
I liked this book's format, I can tell you that. The little anthropologist's notes and observations was great. But I also felt that Janice was a bit of an intellectual snob while observing everyone. Which I suppose is what you're meant to think since her friends and family comment on her hypercritical nature (Paul writes his own little observation paper of her which was cute and he mentioned it as one of the points. Side note: Paul was the character I related to the most).

It was pretty funny in
Aug 23, 2011 Autumn rated it really liked it
As a misanthropic nerd from Western North Carolina, this book was almost TOO CLOSE TO HOME. I enjoyed Janice, her dying coffeehouse, the terrible mean girls who appear quite ladylike and her description of her fellow townspeople as biscuit-eaters. Also, her mom was fun and the lesson of not being so hateful is a good one for Janice to learn. And me. Wait a second...
Of course this book isn't predictable to all of its who have been on this earth and lived through high school and all the previous books and movies on the subject of gawky adolescence.

That being said, there were still a few surprises in the book and I'd recommend it for those in the gawky adolescent phase or those who just enjoy reading about it.

It's also a well-written book and not boring. Especially if you enjoy anthropology. I even laughed out loud a few times. I found the characters believ
Aug 14, 2015 Kris rated it liked it
This was a cute read. The format was unique which I appreciated, but the actual story line wasn't really anything new. I like the way the main character dealt with her peers through simply observing them instead of trying to become like them or one of them. To a certain extent this story sort of reminded me of a half-hour sitcom or tv-movie on the Disney channel where a character is awfully judgmental of those around her and it's her best friends along with her mom who have her realize that she ...more
Jun 02, 2011 Carley rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads, 2011
A cute coming-of age story. The only problem I had with the book was that the main character sometimes felt like a grown-up trying to be teen instead of an actual teen. I did really like the anthropological spin to the story, it added a little something extra to an otherwise pretty standard plot.
Narrated by Emily Janice Card. Janice aspires to be an anthropologist; Margaret Mead is one of her heroes. Janice closely observes and notes the rites and groupings of the American teenager at Melba High School. One of the town's big events is the Miss Livermush pageant. Janice isn't at all interested in participating until she realizes the experience could serve as an anthropological project for her college admissions. Challenges lie in her wake: lack of a talent, a mother who insists on buying ...more
Jul 12, 2011 Mallory rated it it was amazing
loved this book and was stunned at how much Melva is like the town in which I grew up! my favorite part, I don't know why, is when Paul reads the list he wrote to Janice in the end. so lovely and cute. great read. felt like home for sure.
Feb 18, 2015 Amanda rated it it was ok
I was able to get this book for free from the NC Digital Library and I'm glad I did. While this wasn't a bad book it is definitely one that I'm glad I didn't pay for. I got really tired of Janice and her obsessive anthropology. I liked the idea of using anthropology as a way to remove yourself from the typical high school drama but it just was too much. I always enjoy a book that takes place in North Carolina but I didn't like any of the parts about Livermush as I felt it made the people seem ig ...more
May 29, 2011 Emily♥ rated it really liked it
I loved this book! Janice is so funny and very relatable. This book definitely depicts life in a small town perfectly!

* won from Goodreads
May 21, 2011 Chelsey added it
Shelves: ya-fiction
So funny! Why wasn't Janice Wills my best friend in high school?
Crete Public Library District
Review by Kelly (admin) Cute. No more, no less. Some cute lessons about the hidden struggles that everybody goes through, whether you know it or not. Some more cute stuff about friendship, and some other cute stuff about stuff. Kind of reminds me of High School Musical in that it's like a slightly sanitized version of its school. Even though there is drinking involved, and some sexuality, the book as a whole still feels very much like a kid in the summer between 8th and 9th grade.
eBook review
Sep 15, 2014 Bayla rated it liked it
Buzzwords: Anthropology, coming of age, high school, friendship, crushes, secrets, understanding cliques/social groups, southern pageant

Janice Wills is a teenaged anthropologist, observing the culture and behaviors of high schoolers in her small southern town. But is she really as removed as an anthropologist should be? Or is she using anthropology as an excuse to avoid having to engage?

Cute, short read

Cleanreaders: Underage drinking, some kissing, promiscuous/mean behavior by some mean girls
Diane Ferbrache
Janice is an aspiring anthropologist and delights in observing the strange customs and rituals of the American teenager. She’s hoping to publish her findings in “Current Anthropology”. Each chapter begins with an observation and the tale is filled with her comments and analysis. But this is her Junior year and in her small town, Junior girls who have a sufficient GPA are expected to compete in the Miss Livermush beauty/talent/scholarship contest. Janice, her BFF Margo, and all the BRGs (beautif ...more
Jun 12, 2011 Shannon rated it liked it
Shelves: own, first-reads
The Rites and Wrongs of Janice Wills, by Joanna Pearson, is a contemporary coming of age story set in the small town of Melva, North Carolina. Janice Wills, the typical teenager, feels like she is on the outside looking in, hence her interest in anthropology. Or perhaps it is the other way around. Because of her interest in anthropology, she always places herself on the outside, as a studious observer watching and documenting interactions of the local teenage population.

Until one day, she decide
Aug 14, 2011 Bookworm1858 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2011, ya-read
I'm not entirely sure where I first heard about this but it sounded like a cute, quick, fun YA contemporary so I figured I'd give it a shot. And it was a pretty light, fast read.

The main character is Janice Wills, an aspiring anthropologist who kind of hates her hometown and uses her interest in anthropology to distance herself from experiencing the world. The book partially focuses on her learning that fact about herself and her transformation into a more impartial observer who also enjoys her
Jul 09, 2011 Brooke rated it liked it
This book was good, but not great. For the most part, it was enjoyable, but I could never really seem to get into it. I think part of the problem was that for some reason I kept thinking of the characters as younger than they were. I kept imagining them as middle schoolers, so every time they did something like go to a party with alcohol, it was a little disorienting. I'm not sure what made me feel this way, whether it was how the characters were written that made me see them that way, or just s ...more
Kate McMurry
Nov 09, 2012 Kate McMurry rated it really liked it
A humorous, chick-lit, coming-of-age novel

This is a fun debut by a talented author. It is a fast, well-written book with a cute premise.

Janice Wills is a seventeen-year-old "nerd," an excellent student who goes to high school in the small town of Melva, North Carolina. Janice longs to become a cultural anthropologist, and this book is sprinkled with funny examples of her attempts at objective, scientific observations of the rites of passage that teenagers go through in her town. Janice would hav
Alyssa hoffmaster
Aug 15, 2011 Alyssa hoffmaster rated it liked it
I got 2 copies of this ARC so I gave one to my friend and while I was over at her house we both read it, it’s more fun reading the same book with friends, that way you can discuss it along the way. I did enjoy reading it but the only thing about the ARC copies was there was some empty spots in the book that said it was for artwork, I have to go to the bookstore and find out what the pictures looked like!

The Rites and Wrongs of Janice Wills is about a nerdish girl who loves anthropology, she live
Sep 07, 2011 Kavanand rated it liked it
The Rites and Wrongs of Janice Wills is a fun, light read. Janice is a high school junior in a small town in North Carolina. She's very much an observer and rarely a participant in life. Fascinated by anthropology, she thinks of herself as an anthropologist and she records her observations of the world around her in extensive notes. She's a bit of an outsider, she's smart and funny, but she exists on the fringes of high school, content to watch and break her fellow students down into tribes (for ...more
Jan 09, 2012 Meghan rated it liked it
Shelves: own-arc, need-review
This review is also posted at my blog, Books and a Cup of Tea.

Janice Wills has a knack for anthropology. She likes to observe her class mates anthropologically as they socialize and survive high school.

Her and her best friend Margo are Unremarkable Smart Girls. Faced with the annual Miss Livermush Pageant, they each feel self-conscious and nervous about the expectation of entering the sort of rite of passage for sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds in Melva, North Carolina. That is until Margo give
Vickie Wilson
Mar 07, 2014 Vickie Wilson rated it liked it
The idea of this book really appealed to me, I didn’t know much about Anthropology but I love High School stories like this one and figured it would be a great thing to read. Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy this one. I didn’t love it and I wouldn’t go as far as to say I loved it, it was just ‘meh’. Not really memorable enough. Even as I type I’m forgetting lot of stuff about it.

The idea of the story is pretty basic: Anthropology student wants to create an awesome paper for some Anthro thing
Aug 24, 2011 Nathiel rated it liked it
This book was funny, charming and bittersweet at times, although sometimes I felt it was a typical teenager book, much like gossip girl and such.
The main character is Janice a young girl who is your typical awkward to intelligent for her own good- teenager. Janice wants to be an anthropologist and as so sees everything from a distance, until her mom tries to convince her to participate in Miss Livermush pageant (shudder) and in the end Janice agrees so that she can actually have some in site for
Sep 03, 2011 Darlene rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Eastern Southern Teen Girls
Recommended to Darlene by: Won as a GoodReads First-Reads
Hurray! I won this one on GoodReads, First-Reads. Looking forward to this new adventure!

* * *

The print in this book is so light that I have had a hard time reading this. Therefore, I downloaded the Audible version to help me along.

* * *

This book has taken me months to read. My biggest problem with it was the print. These old eyes just can't read well on white, white paper and it seemed the ink was also light in color. Once I got the Audible version to help me I found a nice book. The writing was
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“And it occurred to me; I was not part of the action. Oh God, I thought, I'm not an anthropologist. I'm the lonely voice-over narrator of adolescence. The bitter, voice-over voice.” 5 likes
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