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Notes from the Dog
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Notes from the Dog

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  2,116 ratings  ·  494 reviews
“Sometimes having company is not all it’s cracked up to be.” Fourteen-year-old Finn is a loner, living with his dad and his amazing dog, Dylan. This summer he’s hoping for a job where he doesn’t have to talk to anyone except his pal Matthew. Then Johanna moves in next door. She’s 10 years older, cool, funny, and she treats Finn as an equal. Dylan loves her, too. Johanna’s ...more
Hardcover, 133 pages
Published July 28th 2009 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,116 ratings  ·  494 reviews

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Apr 01, 2019 rated it liked it
"Books make me feel safe. Books make me feel normal."

I had a wry smile when I finished reading this book.
Strangely, the story has got nothing to do with a dog; hence the cover and the title is almost misleading.
I'm saying 'almost' because guess what? There's a dog and a few notes involved but they do not significantly contribute any meaning to the story. The dog is completely sidelined, which is why I'm disappointed, I've been clickbaited, I guess?!

This, surprisingly, is YA book and I don't
Kat O'B
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
As a middle school librarian, I don't have to "sell" Paulsen, so I just had not taken the time to read this book before now. However, this is not the typical outdoor adventure story so often associated with Paulsen. Rather, the main character, Finn, is a socially-awkward 14 yo boy who, along with his one close friend, gets involved in the life of a girl in her twenties with breat cancer who moves in next door. I loved this book! It has a little humor, a little teen awkwardness, a little serious, ...more
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. My favorite character was probably Johanna. She is a very strong character who can get through very hard things. This book is about a kid named Finn, he planned on doing nothing but reading on his summer. Johanna came in and they had the nest summer he could imagine.
Jun 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Most of Gary Paulsen's best work came in the 1980s and '90s, but he had some excellent novels in the '70s and in the first two decades of the twenty-first century. First published in 2009, close to twenty years after Mr. Paulsen's last Newbery Honor, Notes from the Dog is a return to the author's gritty, plainspoken stories that remind us of the wondrous fragility of our lives, and the serendipitous threads that can grow to connect us to people who care. Fourteen-year-old Finn Duffy has no major ...more
Meg Laff
Oct 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Very odd with some uncalled for language but an easy read overall.
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It's been ages since I've read a book that made me laugh out loud, frequently. It felt good, and I'm looking forward to getting to read another like it. But this isn't just a funny book. There's a lot more going on here.

Finn is a socially awkward loner, but that's not really the focus of the story. The focus is on Finn's new neighbor, Johanna. Johanna is 24, outgoing, lively, and she quickly befriends Finn and takes him under her wing. She also has breast cancer. (Let me just point out that this
Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile
AHHHH the feels. This book was amazing. It was like a non-romantic TFIOS, but shorter and simpler.
Mar 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
14 year old Finn plans to have a quiet summer. But when he meets Johanna, a 20 year old graduate who moves in next door, things change. Johanna is currently undergoing chemotherapy, and Finn always tries to cheer her up. When Johanna decides to hire Finn to plant a garden, Finn immediately takes the offer. Johanna decides to run in the triathlon and she needs to raise money. Finn and his friend Matthew go and stop by construction sites and nursery homes to find money for Johanna. Finn then disc ...more
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, fiction
Most definitely I'm not the target age group for this book. I found it when I was on a shopping spree at a local bookstore and yep, I liked the cover and the first line of the book. I had no idea it was a mid-school-targeted book. If I had started it earlier in the day it would have been a one-sitting read. But it deals with issues like family, shyness, and indeed cancer, with compassion and a bit of bittersweetness - plus it has a lovable dog. I didn't fall into the book as I'm oft to do with b ...more
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing

I picked up my daughter from school last month, and as she got into the car, I noticed her eyes were red. I asked her what happened and if she was alright, and then she exclaimed, " Mom! You HAVE to read ' Notes From The Dog ', it is now on my top five favorite books!" I really didn't want to, as I had a lot of books on my "to read" list; Then I started browsing her copy and got sucked in.... This is a must read for you and your kids. If you have boys, I highly recommend it, as it is written in
Julia Parins
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hailey C.
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Notes From The Dog is a book about Finn, Johanna and Matthew.During the summer someone comes and house sits Finns neighbors. Her name is Johanna and she has cancer. She loves gardening. Matthew is Finns best friend who helps him through a lot. I really liked the main characters. They had good personalities. I agreed with their choices. It had action and i guess i could say it was emotional at times. I honestly didn't like the ending. I have many questions and i am confused. It ended very suddenl ...more
Darius Driver
Theis is a great book. I give it four stars. It is a book about a young man who never really had much friends until one day. This book is a great book also Beacause it is sort of a love story in a way. But one thing I wish if if the book was a little longer at the end and had a little bit more detail.
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andy Winkers
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I liked the book because the realistic friendship l liked that cancer didn't slow Johanna down and I liked that Fin got the chance to step out of his comfort zone and talk to people I think it made him a better person ...more
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amie Burton
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great book to start 2018 off with - a quick heart felt story that still has real life trials as well.
Feb 05, 2020 added it
i thought it was decent
Ralph Carroll
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Short, sweet, and tear filled.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eva Marie
Oct 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: b-fiction, y-a
4.5 - I picked this up on a whim while strolling in the library the other day. I was looking through the "new" YA books and this caught my eye. I had no idea what the title was about because other than a few non-descriptive blurbs (which I hardly ever take at face value anyway) there was nothing to tell me anything about the story. But I took it out anyway. I guess I liked the cover.
I ended up being surprised by the book. It's a very fast read. Very fast. Like, a one sitting type deal.
The main
Apr 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Fourteen-year-old Finn Duffy has plans for this summer: reading books, hanging with his friend Matthew, and talking to as few people as possible. Those plans go out the window when Johanna moves in next door. Johanna, a twenty-something woman, is housesitting for the summer, and also has breast cancer; she hires Finn to plant a garden in his yard and teaches him some lessons about life in the process.

This is what I like to call a “happy cancer book”, that is, it has cancer in it, but it deals wi
Apr 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
It's hard to find a 12 year old who has not read Hatchet. However, I find that those same kids have not heard of the books I especially enjoyed from Gary Paulsen, like Harris and Me and Cookcamp and now I can add this title. The story is about a boy who wants nothing to do with other people, because he is a miserable failure at relationships of almost any kind. He meets a woman who has cancer, and things begin to change. She is one of those characters we all wish were real people. She sees somet ...more
Karen Ball
Feb 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Finn is 14 and feels like a total oddball. He lives with his dad, his dog Dylan, and his best friend Matthew, who's moved in while his parents are busy getting divorced. Finn hates talking to people, because he always feels like he's saying the wrong things, so he's hoping for a summer job where he doesn't have to talk to ANYONE. Johanna, a graduate student who talks to Finn as an equal, arrives next door to house-sit for the neighbors for the summer, and she hires him to create a garden for her ...more
Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I am a big fan of Gary Paulsen and his wonderful books. They all have a similar theme: survival and wilderness. So I was surprised when I found out that Notes from the Dog had nothing to do with any of those. This book was so heartwarming, touching, sad, beautiful, creative, memorable, and happy all at the same time that it's hard to believe it was all packed into one book. Paulsen's wonderful storytelling mixes in with the most popular genre of books now: reality. From an unpopular boy's perspe ...more
Julie H.
Jul 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
Gary Paulsen's Notes from the Dog is a beautiful, funny, life-affirming story that I would place on a par with Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, which I dearly loved. Specifically, it's the story of a socially-awkward introvert named Finn who plans to spend his summer vacation reading as many books as possible and interacting (speaking) with no more than 12 people--and four of those people are already accounted for (i.e., his dad, Grandpa, friend Matt, and dog Dyl ...more
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, eng-420

Notes for the Dog tells the story of fifteen-year old Finn who is determined to speak to no more than a dozen people during the summer. However, when charismatic, energetic, twenty-five year old Johanna moves in next-door everything changes. Johanna is a breast cancer survivor who appears determined to let little impede her dreams and progress. She invokes Finn's help with building a garden, and similarly helps him to reach out to more people. Eventually, Finn talks to more people th
Oct 03, 2009 rated it liked it
A timely story for Breast Cancer Awareness Month - a very quick read you can finish in one or two sittings. It's about an awkward, nerdy teen who is befriended by a 20 something college student battling breast cancer. She enlists the boy to help her with various projects (i.e. planting a garden, fund raising for her cancer benefit run, etc.) The service he renders plus her friendship and the bits of wisdom she shares via notes she has the boy's dog deliver end up having a big impact on the boy. ...more
Drake Barreyro
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Notes From the Dog is a very quick read from Gary Paulson. From the first beginning chapters I found that the book was very predictable and later confirmed my suspicions. Another large problem is the thin plot which never intrigued me or made me question but was just the slow journey of Finn and Matt's journey with Johanna. To follow up many ideas are simply tossed in and forgotten about in a mere chapter which is why the plot is very thin. Although there are some minor relatable characters I ha ...more
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Although he was never a dedicated student, Paulsen developed a passion for reading at an early age. After a librarian gave him a book to read--along with his own library card--he was hooked. He began spending hours alone in the basement of his apartment building, reading one book after another.

Running away from home at the age of 14 and traveling with a carnival, Paulsen acquired a taste for adve

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