Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Word Gang” as Want to Read:
The Word Gang
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Word Gang

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  28 ratings  ·  19 reviews
This title now has a free Readers' and Teachers' Supplement based on the Common Core. Download it here:

The Word Gang is the story of three kids in school who start using big words to be disruptive.

Kalisha Jackson is a girl with a stomach-churning secret -- she cut school for a year and never got caught! A new year begins. Kalisha de
Paperback, 266 pages
Published December 8th 2010 by Precipitation Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Word Gang, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Word Gang

Community Reviews

Showing 1-47
Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  28 ratings  ·  19 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Word Gang
Neil Schiller
Apr 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In his acknowledgements, Mark McKenna calls this, his first novel, his "imperfect labour of love". I can imagine it was a labour of love, but I think he's being a bit harsh with the first bit. Don't get me wrong, I don't think ANY book is perfect, but this one seemed to stand up just fine to me.

The Word Gang is one of those rare things: a novel that is just as suitable and engaging whether you're a teenager, a grandparent, or a hardened cynic in their mid (oh ok, late) thirties as I am. At this
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Word Gang Is Definitely NOT Otiose!

A young adult novel, The Word Gang by Mark McKenna offers not only an interesting story, but also acts as a teaching tool. Who would think to take a teen’s interest in big words and turn it around into what the vice-principal calls a “mocking and disruptive use of the English language?” McKenna adroitly manages to weave a compelling tale around the characters’ love for words and to touch on important life lessons like the value of friendship, compassion, an
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: young adults
This is a fascinating story about the power of words and the importance of learning. I received this book free from the author in exchange for my review and I really enjoyed the story. It has interesting characters and a plot that is in turn humorous, sad, hopeful, and desperate. I loved that the main characters love to read and learn new words, but the ending felt a bit too pat, almost a tv show ending. Overall, though, it was a good story and offers a unique slice of personalities. My favorite ...more
Feb 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A young adult book that will delight adults as well as teens. Mark McKenna has created a wonderful story based on every author's and reader’s first love: the written word. All of the characters in the novel are well developed; we learn about their backgrounds and can sympathise with their flaws. Even the detestable teacher, Mr. Ralston, seems to have a side to him that we can all relate to.
After taking a year off school, without telling her mother, Kalisha Jackson begins to feel guilty and decid
Jill Elizabeth
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Today we are taking a trip back to school – high school. Shudder, gasp. And believe me, this high school experience is pretty rough. Fortunately, the book is pretty great, so it’s okay.

My review copy of The Word Gang was provided by the author, Mark McKenna.

Kalisha Jackson is a good kid. A good kid who cut the entire last year of school. Yes, it’s possible for both of those statements to be true. Caught up in her parents’ separation and her (former) best friend’s teenage pregnancy and subsequent
I love this book! I love the concept behind the book, I love both the obvious and implied lessons to be learned, I love the characters, I love the story! I will immediately being handing this title to my kids to read.

The Word Gang is the story of three kids in an alternative program called Project Restart. All of the kids in this classroom are here because they don't fit into the mainstream of students due to behavior and academic issues. Kalisha knocks heads with the head administrator of the p
Jan 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Aroura by: Mark McKenna
This is such a fun concept! I loved the characters! I felt McKenna fleshed them out, they were all clearly defined and felt real. Mr. Ralston at first felt a little caricature, but when his personality was balanced by some of the other teachers, I actually felt it fit really well. I enjoyed Kalisha and her family dynamics, Mr. Spinoza was engaging, BD and Sahmbaht were both a kick (both rebellious, one a little more wholesomely so than the other). I loved the parents' reaction on the whole to th ...more
Dec 09, 2011 rated it liked it
What a unique plot! This is definitely something I could see happening in real life, right down to the national media buzz. I can see both sides of the debate, though. A teacher shouldn't punish students for learning, but at the same time Kalisha and her friends were being disruptive on purpose. Once they learned it would frustrate Ralston, they used that against him.

Jack Ralston really was a character to abhor. For some reason, he seemed to be in teaching just for fame. The only reason he wante
Feb 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The Word Gang is, without a doubt, the best YA novel I have ever read. Mark McKenna has an amazing talent of making you feel like you are there, and creating a visual experience. From the beginning, you feel attached and sympathetic to the characters. This is exactly the way I wish all book characters were written. Instantly, you feel an intense emotional connection with them.
I liked how the perspective changes throughout the book. I haven't read too many books like this, and the ones I have rea
A fun and entertaining read. No matter if you are young or old this book is worth the read. The author has done a great job with the narrative. There is something for everyone in this book. The young adults will like the rebellion again a teacher and the older ones of us will like learning some new words or words you have not used in years.

This is a must read if you like words, or love to read.
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. I would definitely recommend it. It was very cleverly written
Review is posted on blog:

Rating: 3.5 Stars

First Impressions: Honestly I was not sure how I would like this book simply because I don't really read a lot of novels that are strictly Young Adult. I most often read YA novels that have a sub-genre present (PRN, Urban Fantasy, Horror, ect) so going into a book like this had me feeling a bit hesitant. I really loved the book synopis and the cover itself did not make any sense to me but after you read The Word
Conan Tigard
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Word Gang is a fun and entertaining story about a small group of high school kids who use big and long-forgotten words to cause disruption in their class. Now, these kids aren't being disruptive because they are bad kids, they are being obstreperous because they have been placed into a special class with a teacher who doesn't seem to care about anything but his own career. The kids see it and act upon what they observe. The teacher isn't there for the students, he is there for himself.

Mark M
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: for-review, i-own
I'm not sure what my general feelings are for this book. It had an interesting plot to it and a lot of diverse characters to it, but for some reason the story did not click with me as well as I first had thought it would when I got it.

I think that my main problem with this book is that all the characters are trying to connect in some way this different types of people in order to draw in readers, but the problem that this book seems to have is that the characters are too unreal.

While I believe i
Savannah (Books With Bite)
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. It was completely devouring and an awesome read. It reminded me of the movie Stand and Deliver. I really loved how the characters came into something they never thought they be. No one believe in these kids but to learn words and use them wisely really made a stand. I loved how the characters each were unique. They all had different back rounds, problems, etc, but one thing remained the same. They wanted a different life.

The plot line of this book left me happy! I loved that M
Yorky Caz
Mar 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book the sheer amount of info in there was staggering considering it never came accross as boring or lecturery, it did make me wish I had a better memory so I can remember all the cool words I learnt! Highly recommend to all but especially for parents of teen children I think this would make for v cool reading for your kids :-)
Apr 08, 2015 rated it liked it
I got this book out of the library thinking my daughter might like it. It was in the young adult section. It was OK but I was definitely not the audience it was intended for!Some clever themes running through it, a couple of interesting characters but cliched at times.
Beware the Bookwyrm
rated it really liked it
Apr 07, 2021
Margaret à Beckett
rated it really liked it
May 19, 2017
Ashley Wright
rated it liked it
Dec 13, 2011
Roslyn N Julien
rated it really liked it
Feb 28, 2017
rated it liked it
Sep 27, 2013
rated it really liked it
Jun 03, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Mar 18, 2011
Jeffrey Pierce
rated it it was amazing
May 12, 2011
rated it really liked it
May 04, 2015
rated it really liked it
Jun 01, 2011
marked it as to-read
Feb 11, 2011
marked it as to-read
Mar 17, 2011
M. Newman
marked it as to-read
Mar 24, 2011
marked it as to-read
Apr 22, 2011
marked it as to-read
Apr 23, 2011
marked it as to-read
May 01, 2011
Coquille Fleur
marked it as to-read
May 01, 2011
marked it as to-read
May 01, 2011
marked it as to-read
May 08, 2011
marked it as to-read
Jun 01, 2011
Robert Dunbar
marked it as to-read
Jun 18, 2011
marked it as to-read
Jul 16, 2011
marked it as to-read
Jul 16, 2011
marked it as to-read
Jul 17, 2011
marked it as to-read
Aug 30, 2011
marked it as to-read
Aug 31, 2011
marked it as to-read
Sep 02, 2011
topics  posts  views  last activity   
I'm blogging (of all things!) 1 1 Jun 08, 2012 04:54AM  
Book Giveaways: YA giveaway - The Word Gang 1 6 Feb 19, 2012 10:21AM  
Free Books, .99, ...: The Word Gang by Mark McKenna 1 5 Feb 19, 2012 10:20AM  
Hi Reader,

My original bio came out kind of bio-y so I asked myself, "Why shouldn't I treat this like my 'personal canvas'?" Then I thought, "Wow, that was really hard to punctuate!" Then I stopped thinking and drank some coffee.

I'm a writer living in Nanuet, New York. My work has appeared online in The Poetry Warrior, Rose & Thorn Journal and three of my stories were published in Ancient Paths Lit

Related Articles

If you're a fan of the mystery and thriller genre and young adult books, recent months have brought a bevy of great reads to your shelves! We...
135 likes · 21 comments