The Rites and Wrongs of Janice Wills
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The Rites and Wrongs of Janice Wills

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3.26 of 5 stars 3.26  ·  rating details  ·  289 ratings  ·  71 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...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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Divergent by Veronica RothThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Fault in Our Stars by John GreenInsurgent by Veronica RothCatching Fire by Suzanne Collins
books that could rule YA
48th out of 156 books — 113 voters
The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading by Charity TahmasebThe Rites and Wrongs of Janice Wills by Joanna PearsonThe Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae MillerInto the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie HalpernThe Queen Geek Social Club by Laura Preble
YA Nerd/Geek Books
2nd out of 57 books — 3 voters


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Community Reviews

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Angela
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.
skein
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...more
Lane
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.
Erica
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...more
Britta
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
Suzi Case
‘The Rites & Wrongs of Janice Wills’ is a YA book that is full of cliches and insults. There were many times that I was offended by something that was said in this stereotypical tale of High School life.

While it is obvious that the author Joanna Pearson is a talented writer and can weave an engaging tale, the tale itself was nothing out of the ordinary. Reject girl has one best friend, hates the popular crowds, thinks she is smarter than everyone else, thinks she is ugly, has a cute guy fri...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Hard not to like, unless you're just terribly cynical. Ironic that I've just read Harriet the Spy - do a lot of girls take notes on their classmates and community members?

The ARC/uncorrected proof isn't quite sufficient, though, for a full review... I see on Amazon that some of the missing 'artwork' is a diagram of the dance The Pony and a template for observing a Friend Fad. If you read the story, you know that understanding those concepts is key to the fullest understanding of the story.

So, I...more
Michigosling
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...more
Autumn
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...
Carley
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.
Mallory
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.
Emily♥
I loved this book! Janice is so funny and very relatable. This book definitely depicts life in a small town perfectly!


* won from Goodreads
Chelsey
May 21, 2011 Chelsey added it
Shelves: ya-fiction
So funny! Why wasn't Janice Wills my best friend in high school?
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
Shannon
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...more
Bookworm1858
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...more
Brooke
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
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...more
Alyssa hoffmaster
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...more
Kavanand
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
Meghan
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...more
Vickie (Under The Mountain)
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...more
Nathiel
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...more
Darlene
Sep 03, 2011 Darlene rated it 3 of 5 stars
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...more
Barbara
Teens come of age in different ways in different cultures, and this clever novel describes some of those practices in a small Southern town where traditions matter a great deal. Perhaps to protect herself from those popular high schoolers with whom she can never fit, Janice, 16, has taken to observing and taking notes on her classmates. I enjoyed Janice's voice, especially in the first half of the book. She's snarky, incisive, and sometimes, even cruel, but it's clear that all that sarcasm hides...more
Klaudia Janek
VOYA Rating: 5Q4P[return][return]Highly Recommended [return][return]The story starts with a letter written by the main character, Janice Wills, to the Editor of Current Anthropology. Janice wants to be published as an anthropologist. She states that she does not have a PhD yet, but that she is in the National Honor Society and the Beta Club. Her mission is to observe teenagers in her small town high school of Melva, North Carolina. The story is full of her notes about individual students as the...more
Chelsea
Janice Wills is an observer. She enjoys sitting on the sidelines and watching her fellow classmates move through the tricky and often confusing landscape that is high school. This also works well to promote her interest in anthropological studies. But Janice's junior year may prove to be a little different than the previous years. For one, there is the overrated Miss Livermush Pageant, which Janice thinks is over-hyped and underwhelming. Plus, there are two boys vying for Janice's attention, mak...more
Barbara
At first it was laugh out loud funny and light-hearted. then it became darker and ended too patly and happily.

Janice Wills of Melva, NC fancies herself an anthropologist and writes down all of her observations about teen life in a southern town. The novel is framed as an article submission to Current Anthropology with notes about the strange tribes and rituals in her high school sprinkled throughout the book, especially the Melva Miss Livermush Pageant and Festival. Every eleventh grade girl wit...more
Amanda
As a former high school nerd, there probably wasn't much chance of me not liking this book. Fortunately, unlike Janice, I was never required to enter a local (or any other) beauty scholarship pageant. In Janice's case, it's either participate in the Miss Livermush pageant or be shunned forever. She really doesn't care. As a budding anthropologist, she is content to watch from the sidelines as her family and friends (and enemies) go through life. Her mother, however, has decided that life as she...more
Jane Drabkin
Janice is so busy analyzing her high school and her small Southern town from an anthropologist's perspective that she forgets to build relationships and maintain the friendships that she has until she participates in her town's rite of passage for girls who are juniors in high school, the Miss Livermore Pageant. High school girls will enjoy Janice's "impartial" analysis of high school and small town life. It may just give readers a little perspective on their own lives in high school.
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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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