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Maniac Magee

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  117,493 ratings  ·  4,454 reviews
Jeffrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn't made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run--and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.
Paperback, 184 pages
Published April 28th 2002 by Scholastic (first published April 2nd 1990)
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Sydney☕️ You cant read books on this site DOES ANYONE KNOW THE MEANING OF PREVIEW?
Hugh I would say it's definitely appropriate for fifth graders. I read this book when I was in that age group, and I reread it many times. It deals with to…moreI would say it's definitely appropriate for fifth graders. I read this book when I was in that age group, and I reread it many times. It deals with topics like domestic abuse, death, and racism, but in an age-appropriate way.(less)

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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  117,493 ratings  ·  4,454 reviews

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Mar 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
He wasn't born with the name Maniac Magee. He came into this world named Jeffrey Lionel Magee, but when his parents died and his life changed, so did his name. Maniac Magee took to the streets.

And Maniac Magee became a legend.

Even today kids talk about how fast he could run; about how he hit an inside-the-park "frog" homer; how no knot, no matter how snarled, would stay that way once he began to untie it. Little girls jumping rope chant:
"Ma-niac, Ma-niac
He's so cool
Ma-niac, Ma-niac
Don't go t
Sep 21, 2007 rated it did not like it
I really didn't enjoy this book. I feel like the story didn't really go anywhere. Spinelli tried to touch on issues of racial prejudice and poverty, and let the exsistance of those issues carry his story. It didn't work. However because there are touchy issues, it becomes a story that isn't easy to complain about. However I'll be brave enough to say, "I didn't like it!".

As a personal note, I do not find this novel appropriate for children still in gradeschool.
Oct 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A really neat book. Excellent! Definitely deserving of its Newbery Award. I think I have to give it a 5! I find myself asking, "Why didn't I ever read this before?" I've certainly heard of it for years. My fourth grade daughter just read it at school and loved it. I really enjoyed the narrative voice and style. It starts out almost like a tall tale, but what Maniac really accomplished is better than a legend. So it's a meaningful story that teaches an important lesson without being preachy. The ...more
Mar 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: NO ONE
Recommended to Sasha by: MY TEACHER.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Re-read in prep for teaching it to my younger group of kids this year. The structure of the book lends itself very well to teaching it in chunks and to illustrate its points clearly, which isn't why it's a classic of early middle school, I assume. Extra star for that- looking forward to discussions that arise from it.
Jeffrey Mohr
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mohr-grades-3-5
This book is one of my favorite books to use when I work with students. It approaches the concept of “race” and “racism” through the eyes of someone that just wants to make friends and doesn't understand why people would treat others differently just because of their looks. It also treats the main character as a whole person and shows the turmoil he goes through while dealing with the loss of loved ones and the sadness and depression that can result from that. Students need to see books that don ...more
Colleen Venable
Last week I came across a pile of free books on the ground...all copies of MANIAC MAGEE. I took one, knowing it was supposed to be good, but knowing nothing of the plot. It made me cry three times—twice because of the actual story of a homeless boy who brings together the white and black sides of a small town—but I cried the hardest because it felt so poignant given the sad craziness in the country right now. I don't talk politics online, mostly because my own personal believe system is simply " ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved this book when I was in junior high school. You know that scene in Forrest Gump where Forrest decides to just run across the country repeatedly? This book is very similar, but the extraordinary runner in this story is a boy who gets sick of his stuffy aunt and uncle.
Rodolfo A.
Feb 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love this book because is telling me the time
when black people and white people were seperted.

This book is realistic fiction because there and
made up characters but,this happend real that black people
and white people were seperted.

Maniac parents died from a trolly crash.Maniac didn't have any
were to live so,he is an orphan.He met a girl name Amanda.Maniac
wentto amanda's house and lived with her.Later he met a boy name
mar bars.Some people from the west side and east side haet him so,
he went to
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
"Maniac loved the colors of the East End, the people colors.
For the life of him, he couldn't figure why these East Enders called themselves black. He kept looking and looking, and the colors he found were gingersnap and light fudge and dark fudge and acorn and butter rum and cinnamon and burnt orange. But never licorice, which, to him, was real black."

Oh, you precious little freak.

I don't really follow the thought that if people stopped talking about color of skin, then racism would disappear- a
Nelson B.
Feb 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Jerry spinelli is one of the best witers ever. Maniac Magee is a realistic fictionbook because maniac is invented but it could happen in real life.The perents of Maniac Magee died in a trolley crash.Maniac Magee was an orphan so his aunt and uncle adoped him.Maniac did"t like their house because they cant share.One day Maniac ran away because the hated in his aunt and uncle house.When he left he went to Two mills.In TWO MILLS it is white V.S black.I have schema with this book because maniac put ...more
Karina Escajeda
Nov 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: edu-511-513
Welp, I had heard about this book for so long that I wanted to like it more, but I found myself caught up in 'wait this was written in 1990?' confusion. It just doesn't ring true on issues of race and class in the US, a white guy is trying to write about black issues, for a white audience that become voyeurs. Also, it's super sexist, with traditional 'mom' roles throughout. And Mainiac somehow managed to become a white savior at age 12. It's just awful.
Jan 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Maniac Magee is a book that stuck with me long after I read it in fifth grade for the first time. It stuck with me more than in just a life-long love of Butterscotch Krumpets, but also in the sweetness of the main character and the good that he finds in - well, everyone. Everyone wants to belong in some way, and often all it takes is a listening ear and sincerity to find the way to that person's heart. This book shows that in a way that is accessible to a kid, touching to an adult, and just... ...more
Victor The Reader
A surprisingly witty and emotional story about a boy who becomes someone special in a segregated town. Jeffrey Lionel Magee, before he becomes “Maniac”, loses his parents in a tragic accident and is sent to live with his uncle and aunt who have a far from happy marriage. Unable to put up with it, he abruptly runs away and keeps running for miles and miles and finds himself in the town of Two Mills, which is divided by Eastenders and Westenders. He starts to become part of many people’s lives and ...more
Jul 04, 2011 rated it did not like it
This book is quite possibly one of the most poorly written works of fiction I have ever had the misfortune to stumble upon. I personally am not a fan of Jerry Spinelli (with the exception of Stargirl), and thought I would give him one last shot. Not only was the writing itself unbearable and slow, the topic is overused and cliché. The emotions are few and far between. Throw in there a sad, pathetic kid whose life does not improve whatsoever and some other worthless surface characters and you hav ...more
Aj Sterkel
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
This actually isn’t the first time I’ve listened to Maniac Magee. A teacher read it to our class when I was 9 or 10 years old. All I remembered about it was that the main character could run really fast. Yeah. My nine-year-old self completely missed the point of most literature, but I remember enjoying the story.

Maniac Magee stars a homeless kid (who can run really fast). He finds himself in a racially segregated town and impresses both the black kids and the white kids with his extraordinary at
Patti Richards
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Maniac Magee has to be one of the best middle grade novels I have ever read. The storyline is fascinating, but the mixture of reality, conjecture and legend is what kept me turning pages. I loved the hero, and I especially love the family from the “other side of town” that takes him in. They way they pour love into his lost little soul is amazing and very believable. I also really liked the way the author removed him from that home and gave him the ability to love the old man. Had he gone t ...more
I stayed up all night reading this one. Finished it the next day, as it was a Friday PD day. 6th grade. Teacher came up with a set of topics & each student was assigned a topic. I was given the topic of the knot, some little plot device in the middle of the book. I was pretty annoyed that a girl in the class was assigned the widescale topic of the character, & demonstrated that she didn't get past the first chapter when she stated that they called him maniac magee because he was yelling like a m ...more
Daniel Clausen
Mar 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-books
I still can't find the words to express what this book means to me. When I was in fifth grade reading this book, I felt like Magee. This book is as deep and soulful as any book that has ever been written for adults. I hope it remains on elementary school reading lists for years to come.
Apr 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Really good book! I read it more than once!
Andrew Munroe
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
The ending of the book wasn't as I would think the writer would've ended it. Some parts of the book were confusing and hard to understand.
Feb 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spinelli, J. (1990). Maniac Magee. New York: Little, Brown and Company.


As an orphan, Jeffrey Magee is sent to live with his aunt and uncle who live separately within their house and refuse to share anything. At the age of eleven, Jeffrey, unable to deal with his aunt and uncle’s refusal to interact or communicate, runs away. A year later, he appears in a strictly racially segregated town, doing amazing feats and running like a mad man, earning him the nickname, Maniac. Quick to make
I’m very conflicted about reviewing this book. Ever since childhood, I had always wanted to read it, but I never got around to it. Now that I have, I’m not sure what I would have thought of it then, and I wonder if I would have interpreted it differently than I do as an adult.

Maniac Magee tells the story of how Jeffrey Magee becomes a legend in his small town after his parents die in a freak accident. What follows is a series of episodic feats that border on myth about a boy who changes the live
Janie Lee
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
OMG! I forgot I read this until now, I loved this book!!! The story of Magee is do interesting.
Luke J
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved the book. It is about an orphan named Jeffery Lionel Magee who's parents died in a tragic wreck. He went to live with his uncle and aunt who hated each other, but they were strict Catholics so they refused to divorce. So when he couldn't take it anymore, he ran away. He ran all the way to a town called Two Mills. The town is divided by two sides, the East and the West. The West side is populated by Caucasian people, and the East is populated by African Americans. He wanders into the East ...more
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This cute but disjointed story chronicles the early life of an outcast, Maniac Magee, and his journey to find a home. It is laugh out loud funny at times, touching during others, but it lacks coherence. It reads more like a collection of anecdotes than a story or even a memoir. Magee is clearly endearing, and his nobility in the face of hardship makes him a hero of sorts. (Having near super-human powers doesn't hurt, either.) Middle schoolers will take a shine to this character for sure.
Mrs. Rogers
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is my ultime favorite book! I love the determination and survival techniques that Maniac Magee displays and the positive evolution of the character. This novel will warm your heart and you will read that everyone can and should be loved. Your eyes will play magic tricks on you as you read and can visualize the line of racial tension start to fade away.
Gabriel D
Oct 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Probably the best book club book I've read in a while! This book takes place in a very interesting town named, Bridgeport. This town is separated by race. This book got me surprised that the town is separated by race and it takes place in the 2000s. I recommend this book to anyone who likes different types of stories.
Elsa K
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was a little let down by this. I remembered our 4th grade teacher reading it to my class and loving it. As a re-read, it didn't have that same type of magic. Much of it just seemed weird. Some children's books seem to get better every time you read them and to bring back that sweet nostalgia. I think "Maniac Magee" belongs in my fourth grade memory.
Josh Caporale
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never read Maniac Magee while I was in school, with the exception of a snippet of a chapter that did not lure me into reading the novel in any way. I came across the book and saw other people reading it time after time, but only at this point as it is being recommended as a future Literary Gladiators discussion did I pick it up to read. I must say that I was far more impressed than I thought I would be. I think that Jeffrey "Maniac" Magee is a far more likable character than I thought he would ...more
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When Jerry Spinelli was a kid, he wanted to grow up to be either a cowboy or a baseball player. Lucky for us he became a writer instead.

He grew up in rural Pennsylvania and went to college at Gettysburg College and Johns Hopkins University. He has published more than 25 books and has six children and 16 grandchildren.
Jerry Spinelli began writing when he was 16 — not much older than the hero of his

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“Nobody knows who said it first, but somebody must have: 'Kid's gotta be a maniac.” 27 likes
“Vowels were something else. He didn't like them and they didn't like him. There were only five of them, but they seemed to be everywhere. Why, you could go through twenty words without bumping into some of the shyer consonants, but it seemed as if you couldn't tiptoe past a syllable without waking up a vowel. Consonants, you know pretty much where you stood, but you could never trust a vowel.” 23 likes
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