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This Journal Belongs to Ratchet

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,944 ratings  ·  325 reviews
A debut middle grade novel about a girl named Ratchet and her quest to make a friend, save a park, and find her own definition of normal. Ratchet tells her story through the assignments in her homeschool journal.

If only getting a new life were as easy as getting a new notebook.
But it's not.

It's the first day of school for all the kids in the neighborhood. But not for me. I
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 2013 by Sourcebooks Young Readers (first published January 1st 2013)
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Maicee well yes I agree but she has a motherless life and no friends or anything like you said but she wants to have friends but with the clothes she wears a…morewell yes I agree but she has a motherless life and no friends or anything like you said but she wants to have friends but with the clothes she wears and all the not new stuff won't let her fit in because all of the other girls have style and ratchet doesn't(less)

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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,944 ratings  ·  325 reviews

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Apr 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
So many books about homeschoolers are stereotypical when it comes to the socialization issue; yet, there are some homeschooled kids who are too sheltered and lack friends. This book gets that right. Ratchet is lonely, but she isn't backward, or crazy or asking for sympathy. We don't feel sorry for her, we root for her. She's got a lot going for her and people in her life to help her discover that. She, just like so many young people, just needs to believe in herself and realize that all of us h ...more
Olivia Tiseth
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rachel just wants a normal life (and a normal nickname),but it's hard with a crazy dad and no mom. I love this book and you learn to love all of the characters and can't help but to cheer on Ratchet when she learns about love, appreciation, and friendship, which does sound a little cheesy but it's not it's an inspiring and hilarious book. ...more
Julian Martinez
Dec 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Have you ever wanted to feel how a girl that lost her mother lives with a crazy dad with little money lives. Well I definitely won't be living that life because of the things that happen to Rachel (the main character in the story) like her crazy dad and it being hard for her to make friends, now that's a life I wouldn't want to live like that. The genre of this book is realistic fiction I know this because the events that happen in the story sounds like they'll actually happen to a girl in real ...more
May 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, for-review
Ratchet is ready for a change.

Although she earned her nickname from the countless hours she spends helping her father fix cars, Ratchet has a new goal -- to learn to be more like her mother. Since her mother died when she was a very young girl, Ratchet has had only her eclectic father as her guide, which has resulted in a wardrobe of mismatched clothes from the Salvation Army and a distinct lack of friends since she is home-schooled and can't quite figure out how to relate to other children her
Reading is my Escape
Ratchet - Review
If only getting a new life were as easy as getting a new notebook. But it's not.
--page 1
Everything in my life is old and recycled.
--page 2
Dad's motto: "If the Good Lord wanted us to throw everything away, he would've put a Dumpster right outside the Garden of Eden.
--page 3

Ratchet is 11 and she has always been homeschooled. Her mother died years ago and her father has been raising her alone. Since she was six, she has been helping her father with his job - he fixes cars in th
Bookish Devil
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best book I've read all year. ...more
Fatima Juarez
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
What if searching for a new you changed you completely?
This is a story of a girl who searches for her new identity but realizes that she has changed completly but always was herself along.
This book is realistic fiction becouse it can be completely real. I really liked this book for many reasons one its very real and very well written.

This book is about a girl named Rachael but her dad calls her Ratchet . Ratchet is a girl who's mother passed away when she was little she now lives with her father
Ashley Konjura
i had to read this for my children's lit class and i'm ngl this shit made me cry ...more
Rain Misoa
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Notebook lovers and people who like reading about great morals.
Recommended to Rain by: Library
Shelves: education, must-own
A few weeks back, I went to a brand new library that my town put up so I can see it in its beauty. When I got there, I was not disappointed in the least. It's a lot larger than the other libraries near where I live. There are floors with so many bookshelves and so many books on those shelves that I just could not handle it; I was so excited! During my venture, I walked by a table highlighting a whole bunch of middle-grade novels. One of those books being This Journal Belongs to Ratchet. I have a ...more
Denise Monegato
Jun 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Middle school realistic fiction more often than not these days is like "child abuse light." What I mean by that is, YA has seen a deluge of tell-all memoirs as well as fiction that deal with the apparent sadness and neglect of growing up in the 21st century. As parents and families change, so does the character of childhood. Rachel "ratchet" Vance is a lonely 11 year-old girl being raised and home-schooled by her loving but eccentric father. A devout, nature-loving conservationist, he takes thin ...more
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book. It was funny and relatable at the same time and truly touched me. I cried twice while reading it. The part that was so great about it was that Ratchet experiences something that many children have felt, but the way she describes it is so touching. The book shed a new light on the situation children with divorced/dead parent(s) are in. Ratchet is a very inspirational heroine and I very much recommend this book to everyone.
Benji Martin
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was pretty good. It has one of those perfect endings in which everything works out very nicely in a slightly unbelievable way. I already know at least 3 of my students who are going to love it. They are always asking me for books that will make them cry, but end happy and I think this one will be perfect for them.
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-readers
It was a great book!!! I know it took me sometime to read but the holidays are here!!! I love that it all ended well I was worried about Ratchet mental state and Moss Park. I'm really happy Rachel aka Ratchet learned to appreciate her weird quirky dad and was able to make wonderful friends. ...more
Apr 01, 2013 rated it liked it
It was a refreshing way to get back into middle grade books
Alfredo Valdez
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
O Williams
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loved this book about a tomboy homeschooler (can't remember most of it bc I read it so long ago, but I remember liking Ratchet's character as well as her relationship with her dad. Also homeschoolers ftw.) ...more
Mary Kim
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Best book about life. I seriously think this book is a great book. I think I would really recommend this book to anyone even adults. I love this book so much!!! This book helps me understand the different perspectives of kids who don't have a mom, and how they feel. I think this book is so funny, and enjoyable! I thank Mrs. Nancy J. Cavanaugh for writing this book! ...more
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2013


This book caught my eye in Barnes and Noble. Having never heard of the book, I picked it up and instantly knew I wanted to read it. So I bought it. I was so excited to get home and read this book, I pushed aside the other million books I have been reading and dove in. I was hooked from the first page and devoured the book. It is full of comedy, cuteness, and coming of age goodness. It was right in the middle of light read and realistic issues. I loved the characters, the relationships, an
Rachel Reinwald
Rachel Vance’s mechanic father calls her “Ratchet” because she is so helpful. Ratchet’s father is an avid environmentalist that attends every town meeting and unhelpfully calls people idiots who don’t care about the Earth. Her dad is very smart and could probably make changes to the way the town of Blainesfield does things, but his eccentric and aggressive way of going about things ruin his cause. Ratchet is embarrassed. She wants a normal day, a normal life, and to be more like her mom. But tha ...more
Nov 23, 2015 added it
A homeschooled girl with her dad reusing everything possible like clothes, old cars, and their own house is anything but normal. This Journal Belongs to Rachet by Nancy J. Cavanaugh is an amazing book.
It follows the life of the main character named Rachel, but her dad calls her Rachet because she is good with tools and a great help with her dad. The book takes place at mostly Rachel’s house. The main character, Rachel, writes in her journal about everything like her problems and her worries.
Rachael (Ratchet is her Dad’s nickname for her) is homeschooled, and at 11 years old she has no friends and really wants to fit in and find some kids her age to talk with. Therefore she signs up for a class at the Rec Center and keeps her Homeschool Language Arts Journal up to date to let the reader’s know what is going on in her life. Her father is the best mechanic in town but also known for going to every village hall meeting and making ruckus over saving the Earth. Since Ratchet stays at hom ...more
Kelly Hager
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is absolutely charming. I fell completely in book-love with Ratchet immediately, and she's definitely one of those characters that you won't forget.

I also felt so awful for Ratchet. The fact that her mom died is obviously so painful for her and her dad refuses to talk about it (or the mom at all) and Ratchet basically desperately wants two things: any sort of information about her mom so that she can be more like her and a friend.

And that broke my heart, because those are two very, ve
Mar 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-book-club
Ratchet (a nickname, thankfully!) is homeschooled by her strange, outspoken father and more than anything desires a true friend and to know more about her mother. Her story is told in a series of journal entries highlighting different writing styles that she's required to learn for her English homeschooling class. The format is excellent and added so much to the story. In Ratchet's plight to learn more about herself and her mother what she really ends up discovering is not what she expected. Rat ...more
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it

I really loved this book. I loved how Ratchet is a down to earth girl who shops at Goodwill, can make a go-cart run better than any boy and cares about her father. The journal is written in her handwriting in a wide variety of writing forms (poetry, how to, persuasive essay, etc.). Her entries are clever, entertaining and amusing, thinly masking her obvious feelings of loss and loneliness. Another aspect of this book that I like is the fact that Ratchet is a middle schooler, but the book is very
Apr 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Ratchet is such a cute little girl with such a mature mind. I love how she's full support on her dad(even thought he can be embarrassing to Ratchet "most" of the time) and loves him the way he is.
Ratchet did all she could to make sure Moss Tree Park was saved with her essay she did simply to pass the grade. It was a good idea and it ended up working.
Also I'm very happy she finally had a true friend. Someone she can talk to and someone else who isn't her dad.
What I disliked about this book was
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"If only getting a new life were as easy as getting a new notebook.
But it's not."

This book was delicious. Uniquely told by way of writing prompts. The story of Ratchet is engaging, funny, heartfelt, and emotional. Ratchet is the girl we'd all do well to be friends with.

I savored the book slowly reading more than 3/4 of it over a week, and then spent an emotional Saturday afternoon engrossed in the last section.

I'm certain there are middle readers who need this book to help them consider looking
Kate Shanks
May 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: school
I gave this book 4 stars not because I personally found it entertaining, but because I think apprehensive struggling readers will definitely like it. "This Journal Belongs to Ratchet" is about a girl named Rachel...aka Ratchet, who is homeschooled by her eccentric mechanic father. The two of them are always moving into fixed users and because of this, Ratchet has never had a true friend. Through a variety of different writing assignments ranging from poetry , to essays and even freewrites....... ...more
Vernon Area Public Library KIDS
Recommended for Grades 5-8. This Journal Belongs to Ratchet is about 11-year-old Rachel, a young girl who is homeschooled by her Dad. Rachel documents her life in this often humorous journal, told in alternating poetry, essay, and diary entries. Rachel, otherwise known as Ratchet for her aptitude for fixing cars, navigates the tricky waters of adolescence without a Mom but with a Dad who loves her very much. From saving Moss Tree Park with a poignant essay, to teaching local boys how to build a ...more
Lisa Zinkie
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-books
This. This is what a book about growing up mom-less should look like. The journal style writing makes this book easy to read for anyone. It’s so easy to pick up and put down, start stop, without feeling disjointed.

Ratchet is a girl growing up with just her dad and just can’t find herself. Her dad doesn’t know how to dad well but is super passionate about saving the planet and the local park. Together they muddle through homeschooling and fixing cars in order to make ends meet.

The friendships a
MJ Rogers
Mar 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Ratchet is a young girl who lives with her dad and is home schooled. Her main concern is fitting in and being accepted. She wants to go to school and be like other girls, however her dad keeps her at home and she helps him work on cars (hence the nickname "Ratchet).

Topics covered in the book include environmentalism and homeschooling. This is a coming of age novel with gender stereotypes questioned.

The novel is written as if it is Ratchet's Language Arts journal with different chapters in diffe
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Serendipity 1 13 Nov 24, 2013 11:45AM  

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Nancy J. Cavanaugh lives in the Chicago area with her husband, her daughter, and their adorable, five-pound Cockapoo. One of Nancy's favorite pastimes is eating pizza. She loves reading middle grade novels. Her secret? She hasn't read an adult book in years.

Nancy's newest novel, WHEN I HIT THE ROAD, is the story of Samantha's madcap road trip with a karaoke-loving grandma and a wild summer of mem

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“Shade for a man
And shelter for animals,
Planted in your name,
May you be the same for those around you,
Every year the same.”
“A Friend
You're happy to see,
Who's happy to see you.
You like for who they are
Not just for what they can do for you.”
More quotes…