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Planet Middle School

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,034 ratings  ·  206 reviews
For twelve years, Joylin Johnson's life has been just fine, thank you very much. A game of basketball with the boys-especially her friend Jake-was all it took to put a smile on her face. Baggy jeans, T-shirt, and hair in a ponytail were easy choices. Then suddenly the world seemed to turn upside down, and everything changed at once. Her best girl friend is now flirting wit ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,034 ratings  ·  206 reviews

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Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Welcome to Planet Middle School. My latest Mother-Daughter buddy read! Nikki Grimes’ book Planet Middle School is written in verse, which neither my daughter nor I typically read. It was great trying something new, and we both walked away enjoying it. The book is about Joylin—each page spoken from Joylin’s middle school perspective. Joylin loves playing basketball and is comfortable in her Tom Boy skin... until one day she thinks a boy is cute and she starts noticing that she is changing. She’s ...more
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As Nikki Grimes' story is told in verse, it is a very quick read. Still, it captures relationships between friends and the changes wrought by bodies and minds developing in great and enjoyable detail. The way in which parents respond to the changes they observe is also caught sensitively. Suitable for young readers around 11 to 13, I'd say, but even older readers who want to be reminded of their early adolescence will enjoy this book.

Nikki Grimes se gedigte vang die vertelling oor 'n jong meisie
Sep 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
3.5 stars? Not quite sure how to rate this. It’s a cute, very short middle grade story told in verse about a young girl who is a tom boy as a child but is confused about changes to her body, emotions and feelings as she enters puberty. I read it in 30 minutes. It’s sweet! I liked it! But it’s so short that I don’t feel like I read a whole story. But if that’s what you’re looking for, then this is perfect.
Lindsay Surmeier
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
For my alternative book report, I have chosen #1 where I tell the president one thing a main character discovered about life and why it is important. I thought this would be perfect for Planet Middle School because the main character, Joylin, experiences transitioning from a child to a woman. It is uncomfortable and awkward for her, but along the way, she learns some important lessons about herself and the people around her. What Joylin had experienced in the novel is the same experience many gi ...more
Grace Nichols
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book was just okay. It didn't make me jump out of my seat but I didn't want to throw it out the window, I just read the book then moved on.
This book is about a middle school girl named Joy who is great at basketball and has two best friends named Jake and Keelee. Joy is kind of a tomboy, she wears baggy jeans and tee shirts all the time and is always playing basketball with the boys. That starts to change though when she meets a new boy playing basketball one day named Santiago. Joy starts
Lisa Campbell
May 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Lisa Campbell
Planet Middle School is the story of Joylin, an intrepid sports playing, jean wearing tomboy, told in a series of poems. The poems tell of her relationship with her family, friends and dealing with all the changes that happen to a young girl as she journeys from child to young woman. Joylin’s best friends are Jake and KeeLee, who love her for who she is. Joylin begins to have uncomfortable and surprising feelings for a boy at school, Santiago and she tries to transform herself
Nov 06, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a very quick read for me. It's about a girl who is a complete tomboy and then all of sudden is worried about appearance and all that jazz. The book is written in verse which I do like that style of writing because you have to use some brainpower to figure what is going on in the book. Decent book overall, but there are many better out there.
May 27, 2011 rated it liked it
One Sentence Review: Middle school books about African-American girls are hardly common so definitely consider this one, even if it's not quite Grimes' best work.
Khushboo Mathuria
I've literally lost count of how many times I've read this book and I think it deserves a place in my favorites shelf.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I'm actually giving this novel in verse 3 1/2 stars. It's a pleasant story about a middle school tomboy who loves basketball and whose changing body causes her to start noticing boys. Should she dress like the rest of the girls, or should she be herself? Middle school readers will relate to this. Recommended.
Danielle Hammelef
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Authentic middle grade voice in this beautiful book about growing up and all the mental and physical changes that are inevitable. I saw myself in Joylin because I was never into fashion or "girl" things, loved playing basketball and other sports, and was called a Tom boy. I enjoyed the supportive and loving family interactions and the friendships. I highly recommend this lyrical book.
Kaitlin Rosenberg
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was an extremely funny book, because I felt like I was back in middle school. The main character was shocked when her best girlfriend started to flirt with her best guy friend. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a good laugh.
Jack Young
This book was really good for me even tho I don't like to read
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
GoodRead.....Grimes is a really good writer for young readers
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this.... about puberty (girl)
Heidi Burkhart
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent short book for middle schoolers. It dealt with normal MS issues, but it’s greatest strength is that a reluctant reader might pick it up due to the length of the book.
Short verse novel about tom boy Joylin as she discovers new aspects about herself. Nice family dynamics, and a clear message about being yourself.

Three and a half stars
Sep 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Not true poetry.
Aspen Dye
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing

Planet Middle School is the story of Joylin, an intrepid sports playing, jean wearing tomboy, told in a series of poems. The poems tell of her relationship with her family, friends and dealing with all the changes that happen to a young girl as she journeys from child to young woman. Joylin’s best friends are Jake and KeeLee, who love her for who she is. Joylin begins to have uncomfortable and surprising feelings for a boy at school. Planet middle school was a great book. The characters just pop
Alejandra Garcia
This book was really interesting because it ibcluded the idea of growing up and how it affects not only you but the ones near you. I was able to have a good laugh and also reflect on the idea of acceptance and how at times we are like jake and try to please others before ourselves in order to be accepted and meet their expectations. Its often hard to be the one seeing that happen and how they get carried along into doing things that are not what one is.
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Planet Middle School was a beautifully written and relatable text. The entire text is written in prose and focuses on the life on Joylin “Joy” Johnson. Up until this point in her life, Joy’s life had been static. She’s what some refer to as a “tom-boy,” dressing in jeans and t-shirts, who’s main hobby and happiness in life stemming from basketball. But as her body, as Joy seems to believe, “betrays her” by changing, so is her personality. Joy’s crush on a boy pushes her to start changing who she ...more
Hannah Johnson
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Planet Middle School, by Nikki Grimes, is a novel in verse book. This book is about a teenage girl named Joylin, who is growing up. The setting is mainly her house, and a basketball court. Joylin plays basketball with all of the boys, some people even considered her a boy. She has never been interested in makeup or dating, or any girl stuff. Until now. Joylin starts to notice change. She develops a crush, and asks her friend KeeLee for help impressing him. She wants to be back to normal, but her ...more
Emily Veatch
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This verse novel relates the story of a girl in middle school named Joylin. She never used to care about boys or her appearance, but things are changing. Joylin loves to play basketball and wear comfortable baggy clothes. When she starts to notice a certain boy, however, she tries to change her appearance in order to get his attention. Along the way she realizes that by becoming someone she's not, she's losing sight of the things that matter most in her life. She learns to stop trying to impress ...more
Nikki Grimes’s Planet Middle School, originally published in 2011 comes out next year with a brand new cover. This short verse novel tells the tale of Joylin, a tomboy who likes her jeans, basketball and her friends KeeLee and Jake and her life just the way it is:

Up till now,

the math of my life

has been pretty simple:


plus family

plus sports

What more

could I ask for, right?

But now Joy’s body is changing, she needs to wear a bra (yeuch) has a crush on the new boy at school, starts her period:

Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Joylin, a basketball player, is navigating the world of middle school for the first time. She has her friends to help her. There's KeeLee, a preacher's kid, who was "The only familiar thing about this school year." And her friend, Jake, who is always up for a game of one on one. They have been friends so long that "silences between us are filled with friendship." But does Jake have feelings for KeeLee? How will that impact his friendship with Joy? And what happens when Joy notices Santiago for t ...more
Marie C
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Planet Middle School is a good read.

It's about a tomboy named Joylin Johnson, who loves basketball and is noticing her bodily changes. She even starts to develop a crush. She changes her appearance to be more girly to try to grab her crush's attention. Joylin then figures out that she should not be acting like other people and to just be herself.

This poetry-written book is a great read, and I would recommend it to middle school girls. It talks about the struggles a middle school girl goes throug
Diana Gagliardi
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing

She's so good! Ok, I recognize that Kwame Alexander used more shapes and the story is heartbreaking rather than restorative but... how is _Crossover_ talked abt as though this story- a verse novel dealing with family, basketball, and growing up- never existed? Are we just ignoring it cause it's a girl and boys need books more cause... they don't like it? I dunno, the whole thing has always confused me.

Anyway, this is GREAT and she deserves all the spots Kwame has
Tricia Price
I pulled this to weed from my library because it hadn't been checked out at all since being purchased five years ago, but the cover and short length caught my eye. I opened it and realized it was a novel in verse, a format my students tend to enjoy, so I brought it home to read. It's a great little book, and I will definitely recommend it to any girls who seem to be struggling with the challenges of puberty, or girls who are tomboys, since it affirms that choice.
Charlotte Young Bowens
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The complexity that was conveyed in the short poetic vignettes (chapters) made this book amazing to read. I am an aspiring middle grade author and I learned so much about how to connect to kids this age, what's important to them and how to not over complicate things. Excellent writing, lyrical with a rhythm that made it a fast read while pulling at the heart strings. Beautiful Book!
Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked how I could naturally flow on with the scenes.The poems were great and I loved how they described her everyday life.I was scared to start middle school and I read this book and wasn’t scared anymore.Every time I read it again,it’s so relatable.This book is great for young adults and upcoming 6th graders.
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