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The Meaning of Maggie

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,667 ratings  ·  423 reviews
Eleven years old. The beginning of everything!

For Maggie Mayfield, turning eleven means she's one year closer to college. One year closer to voting. And one year closer to getting a tattoo. It's time for her to pull herself up by her bootstraps (the family motto) and think about more than after school snacks and why her older sisters are too hot for their own good. Because
Hardcover, 220 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Chronicle Books (first published March 18th 2014)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,667 ratings  ·  423 reviews

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Michele Knott
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the best voices in middle grade books. This book was impossible to put down.
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
I'm reading this book because it came in as a YA novel but so far reads like a J novel. I get that it's supposed to take place in the late 1980's (someone said 1988 but I'm not certain at this point in my reading) but I am finding that the MC is referencing things that I'm pretty sure were not part of the late 1980's world. I will keep reading...

UPDATE: I still don't know where this book belongs. I think the language--there isn't anything bad, but the level of the language--makes it YA but the c
vic (indefinite hiatus)
eh? i really did breeze through this book, and it did make me feel something, but i feel like i've fallen for an over cliche.

first on a cliche, extremely smart protagonist that no one understands? CHECK

second, oh no someone's hurt! CHECK

so hahaha.

anyways i liked the footnotes personally but maggie just seemed awfully enthusiastic for an eleven year old. i've been eleven. let's say that i was emotionally depressed at that stage. and i don't know, but i'm not a big fan of the overuse of capital l
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Terrific character and voice in this middle grade novel. Eleven-year-old Maggie is a focused achiever who is a bit oblivious to what's going on with her dad (he has MS). Nicely weaves together a school story (and a boy crush), siblings driving each other crazy, and the tenderness of family members getting through some tough times. I'd love this book no matter what, but the connection to Multiple Sclerosis took me over the top with it. Done very well. Maggie's inner dialogue is hilarious.
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
I'm only about 1/3 through this book, so I reserve the right to change my rating in the future, but so far, I'm not that impressed. I'm getting a little tired of the "super-smart, quirky, ridiculously well-spoken-beyond-their-years little kid" character that seems to be in EVERY "literary" middle-grade book nowadays. I also agree with other reviewers that it's a difficult book to place age-wise, a little too mature in terms of language and some themes for juvenile but too young to be interesting ...more
Scott Fillner
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What an emotional book. Megan does an amazing job of giving voice to each of her characters. This is one of those stories that takes you on an emotional Rollercoaster ride and makes you feel as though you are in the same room experiencing the story along with Maggie and her family.

I really appreciated the humor and all the places that you truly felt you could close your eyes and visualize. A nerdy friend of mine is totally right when she said you literally could have a discussion about somethin
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was a fabulous story and a giant slice of nostalgia all rolled into one.

Other than the fact that my dad didn't have MS and I had an older brother instead of older sisters, I felt like this book was written about my childhood. I grew up in the 80's, the child of former hippies who partied hard when they were young and loved us to pieces. I grew up listening to records with my dad (I never got scared of Black Sabbath like Maggie, though) and pretty much thought he hung the moon. Also like Mag
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Great middle grade novel that's a portrait of a family. It's narrated by Maggie, who gets a journal for her 12th birthday and decides to use it to write a memoir of the past year, starting with her 11th birthday. Maggie's super bright and super-focused, the kind of girl who asks for stock for her birthday and is convinced she's going to be POTUS. She's so focused she's a bit oblivious to what's going on around her: her dad's MS has gotten worse, so he's left his job to stay home with Maggie and ...more
Cheriee Weichel
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review is taken from my blog at

Maggie is precocious, self absorbed, and completely loveable. From the first lines, her voice drew me in and held me in thrall till I finished the book.

If only this book had been available when I was eleven or twelve. Aside from Pipi Longstocking, who lived a life free of crazy parents, everyone in my literary world lived in perfect families. Mine was not. Maybe that's why I lived so much of my life in books. If Maggie had b
Erik This Kid Reviews Books
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Maggie, a super-smart, very organized, overachieving 11-year-old, was shocked. Her dad had quit his job after his legs “fell asleep” (as Maggie calls it), and their mom had gotten a job. Her dad stays at home, in a wheel chair, working around the house. It is a new scenario for Maggie. She isn’t used to her dad being around all the time, and her mom working. When her science project approached, she decided to do it on what had made her dad’s legs fall asleep – multiple sclerosis. Maggie is deter ...more
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
I think I may need to step away from juvenile fiction, or at least anything like the last 20 books I have read in the genre. All the female protagonists in this category seem to be the same. They are sarcastic, full of attitude, super smart, and say the brattiest things and the parents shrug it off. They are able to ace all the their schoolwork and use adult words and ways of thinking but can't fathom the most basic things when it comes to family or friendship dynamics. When it comes to that stu ...more
Marilee Haynes
Jul 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved a lot of this book. But when I stop and really think, what I love most is the stuff that I inferred rather than read through Maggie's eyes/voice. I love her parents - her brave dad and her doing everything necessary and more mom.
I love the fact that this is what would be considered a "quiet" book, but it is extremely impactful without benefit of a big plot.
I have to admit that I didn't love Maggie as much as I wanted to. Her self-centeredness, while somewhat expected for an 11-year-old
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
My daughter's media specialist asked her to read and review this as a possible addition to the school library's collection, so we read it together, and I'm so glad that we did. It's a warm, funny family story about a young protagonist with two older sisters who are different from her in every possible way, as well as a mom who has to go back to working outside the home because their dad has multiple sclerosis. Maggie struggles with all of these issues but is positive in her outlook and eventuall ...more
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Maggie and her family are funny, funny, funny. Maggie is Maureen Johnson smart-girl funny, and her parents and sisters are carefully drawn individuals whose strengths reveal themselves gradually over the course of this fast-paced middle grade novel. The author's light touch makes Maggie and her family's journey all the more moving.
A Middle Grader Reviews
Aug 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: reveiwed
While this didn’t exceed my expectations, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

What I admire most about this book is it’s subject matter. If you’ve read any middle grade fiction at all, you should be able to list a few titles of books in which the mother is dead. Very rarely, the mother is ill. (I mean very. The only thing that comes to mind is The Same Stuff as Stars.)
Far rarer is the unwell father in a book set in modern day. Besides Savvy, nothing comes to my mind. You can rack your brai
Erin Cataldi
Jul 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, 2020
Poignant, hilarious, and deeply emotional; Maggie's "memoir" about the year she turned 11 is an absolute joy. Extremely book smart and filled with big plans for the future (she will be president!), Maggie is happy that she's one year closer to voting and to college. There's only one thing in her life that's not great - her dad (well and her two older sisters - honestly they're more obsessed with lip balm than with grades!). Her dad's legs have gone pretty much all numb and he relies on his famil ...more
Sarah Johnson
This was a happy find at my favorite used bookstore. I laughed a lot and only cried a little. 4.75 stars.
Jada Coburn
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was really good. Maggie was a strong girl and never gave up. This book is very good.
Malavika Malanthara
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing! I honestly do not know how to put the thought and my opinion about this story into words.
Smart Bookaholics Inc Bookstore
This was a wonderful heart wrenching story about family, strength, and growing up!
mitchell dwyer
Aug 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
It's easy to fall into a reading rut, which isn't so bad when unread novels by your longtime favorites are stacked next to your bed in teetering piles, small monuments to the nights of your childhood when you were first introduced to the characters by the glow of a flashlight beneath the blankets. At this moment, recently published books by Lynne Rae Perkins, Cynthia Kadohata, and Rebecca Stead lie within armsreach of my pillow, but as eagerly as I anticipate diving into their pages, I felt the ...more
Leigh Anne
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reading children's books as a child is definitely a different experience from reading them as an adult. This is one of those stories that inspires mixed feelings in me as a grown-up, but would be perfect for a middle-school-kid who needed to learn about a difficult topic in a roundabout way.

Maggie's just turned eleven, and she's super-excited about this because that means she's one year closer to her goal of becoming President. Maggie is a bona fide genius who has no idea she's a genius and just
Cadence Darling
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was good because it showed a real-life problem a character went through. The author did well showing how her family's problems affected Maggie's life. The characters were realistic and had their own personalities but they were stereotypical.
Feb 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-fiction
Maggie's father won't quit beeping. He's in the hospital because his legs seem to have fallen asleep permanently, and Maggie is sitting with him while her mother and two older sisters are in the hospital cafeteria. And Dad just keeps beeping. So it feels like a good time for Maggie to start writing her memoirs, and that's what we get to read, everything she's written while her dad beeps.

11-year-old Maggie is entertaining to get to know, that's for sure. She's super-smart--she adores school, love
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Everything changed in Maggie’s life when she turned eleven. She was one year closer to college and one year closer to finding out the things that her father said he’d explain in ten years. Though she knew she’d never be closer to understanding her two gorgeous, leggy older sisters who were mostly interested in boys and ignoring Maggie. But something else happened that year too. Maggie’s father had arms and legs that were falling asleep, and now his arms and legs were starting to stay asleep for ...more
Sep 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Why would I read a book about an 11-12 year old girl named Maggie? Well of course, that's my daughters name and age so I really bought it for her. As I read this book I wrote notes in the margins to my Maggie about how this Maggie was similar and different as well general comments/memories the story evoked. This made me feel clever (and a little naughty- writing in a book? Hey I spent my own grown up 10 dollars for the privilege !) so I believe this made me enjoy the book more. I have to say the ...more
Olivia P
Nov 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern is a book about Maggie Mayfield, her sisters, Layla and Tiffany, her mom, and her dad. The book is mainly about Maggie growing up and all the disasters that happen along the way. One of which includes her father having a disease that she has not yet been told the name of or any details of what is happening or what will happen all she knows is that his legs and arms are “falling asleep” again but this time it's going to be permanent. Maggie thinks there ...more
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern
Scholastic edition, 2014
Realistic Fiction
220 pages
Recommended for grades 5+

A year in the life of Maggie, a girl that is brainy, up front, dedicated to school and FOOD, and totally unaware of the serious health issues her father is dealing with. Maggie, the youngest of three, is protected by her parents and older sisters, allowed to obliviously live her youth without the burden of worrying about her father's declining health. She's real, she's hilarious,
Kim Kanofsky
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another very quick read that I did not want to put down until I had finished the very last word. Maggie is intelligent and self-absorbed. The world always seems unfair to poor Maggie. Her sisters are mean to her, her classmates don't understand her, and she is always told to pull up her "bootstraps" and be strong and brave. But how can Maggie be brave when the world around her as she knew it is crumbling. Her father is wheelchair bound and her mother must go back to work. Her sisters are perfect ...more
Apr 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book! The sister squabbles, the parental secrets, all of it played out in a very realistic way. Maggie is mad that her parent are keeping information about her father’s health (he has MS) from her – but when she figures it all out, she is ready to deal with it.

Told from Maggie’s point of view, the reader is taken on a funny, heartfelt, sometimes sad journey of a family trying to deal with the failing health of the father. Maggie loves to do well and has a lot of inner dialog
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