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Joy School (Katie Nash #2)

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  5,305 Ratings  ·  353 Reviews
In this exquisite new novel by bestselling writer Elizabeth Berg, a young woman falls in love -- and learns how sorrow can lead to an understanding of joy.

Katie, the narrator, has relocated to Missouri with her distant, occasionally abusive father, and she feels very much alone: her much-loved mother is dead; her new school is unaccepting of her; and her only friends fall
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Published August 25th 2010 by Ballantine Books (first published 1997)
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Bonnie
Joy School is a follow-up to Elizabeth Berg’s debut novel, Durable Goods, where we were introduced to main character Katie at twelve years of age. Although I enjoyed the first book, in Joy School there are more conflicts, beautifully layered together. At its heart though, this book, set in the 1950’s, is a story of first love.

Now thirteen, Katie meets and falls for 23-year-old “shiver-handsome” Jimmy, who works in a garage, is married, and has a child. But Katie doesn’t realize this for quite s
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Kevin
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny-stuff
Perhaps this was a guilty pleasure but I really liked this wonderful (if not a bit formulaic) dip into the mind of a thirteen-year-old girl as she navigates a cruel new town, unusual new friends, and an older man she falls in love with. There were a lot of funny scenes and I appreciated Berg's quick and succinct way of introducing her characters and how they look and act. A sweet little book with a lot of heart. Pretty close to a 5-star book for me actually. Am I getting soft or what?!
Book Concierge
Katie is an 12-year-old Army brat, whose mother has died. She is new to town and school, and she has a huge crush on a married garage station manager. It's a touching coming of age story, told poignantly.

UPDATE - second reading 20July2013
Twelve-year-old Katie has moved with her Army colonel father to a suburb of St Louis. An Army brat, Katie is used to being the new kid in school, but things are particularly difficult now that her mother has died and her older sister, Diane, has gotten married
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Kate
Sep 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The kind of y/a adults will gobble up as eagerly. Not quite as moving as its prequel, Durable Goods, Joy School is nonetheless wrenching and engaging. Katie, now living in Missouri with her father and their housekeeper/nanny, is about to turn 13. She has trouble making friends at her new school for a while, then makes some dubious ones (all while reminding me strongly of Haven Kimmel's child self-portait in A Girl Called Zippy), while half-maintaining correspondence with the ever delightful Cher ...more
Nancy
Dec 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5
Tara
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK, on to Katie Nash #3. She is an addictive character with a unique voice. A sweet follow up to Durable Goods. Berg's a writer I'd love to have lunch with....
Katie
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Katie's army father has moved her to Missouri, far from her familiar school, her best friend, and her older sister. Katie struggles to fit in in her new home and becomes friends with a rag-tag group of people--the most beautiful girl in school, a classmate's ailing Italian grandmother, and an all too handsome gas station attendant.
This book was laugh-out-loud funny. The protagonist, an introverted 13 year old, whose thoughts are loud and precocious and almost too honest, is wildly loveable. She
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I don't normally choose this type of book, but I just LOVE Katie Nash. She's one of my favorite imaginary adolescents. She's funny and sensitive, and she feels so real. Technically these aren't young adult books, but I put them on my YA shelf because I wish they'd been around when I was that age.
Louise
Dec 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Berg is a no-fail writer. She's a reader's treasure--everything is good. This book is no exception to her fine writing. The character's are well defined. You get invested in the lives of the people. Definitely a must read for Berg fans.

John Henry
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is Elizabeth Berg underrated as a gifted author and too much the best seller producer? She knows how to sculpt one wonderful phrase after another until you're captivated and happy and sad about it at the same time.
Beth McSunas
Nov 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly one of the finest books I have ever read. Her writing is a soul filler! Her every sentence seems important. You don't want to miss a word. My sister told me about her years ago! I wish I had listened. Wonderful, Wonderful, wonderful!
Julie
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked the continuation of Katie's story a little better than the first book. I felt like maybe her story should have been one longer book with multiple parts to see the development of her character better as she grows into herself.
Sariana
I just love Elizabeth Berg's writing style. She does a great job capturing what it's like to be a young teenage girl. The prose flows beautifully, like an internal monologue, without being too melodramatic or comical.
Kelly Crosgrove Sullivan Bredon
This is a tender story of a 13 year old girl learning the different characteristics of love . . . as a friend, a sister, a daughter and her first tenuous romance.
Erin Riley
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love these sweet easy-reading books. Perfect coming-of-age narrative.
Antof9
Notes from BookCrossing: I'm very excited to read this one especially, as I just recently "read" my first audiobook -- an Elizabeth Berg! And I really enjoyed it, so I'm sure this will be equally fun to curl up with (with which to curl. . .oh heck, with which to up curl. . . you know, to read in a comfy chair in the corner!).

I started this book today at the Post Office, and I had to run home to check the name of the audiobook (referenced in my previous journal entry) to make sure it wasn't the s
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Margaret
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was looking for a quick and enjoyable read so when I spied this book of just over 200 pages with rather short chapters AND by an author I follow, I plucked this one from the shelf. However, I had no idea that it would be SUCH a quick read--I read it in one short afternoon; not just because of its length but because it was so engaging.

This was the story of 12 year old Katie. She is older than her years in some ways and only wants to be older than her years in others. It is her sometimes painful
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Jennifer Elrod
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This author is a master of language! I can't wait to read all her books!
Jennifer Donovan
*I received a review copy of the audiobook for review purposes*

I’ve read Elizabeth Berg’s fiction for adults and a writing book she wrote. I enjoy her voice and her characters. Brilliance audio released her novel Joy School on audiobook late last year. I didn’t realize it was a Young Adult book until I started listening, but I feel like I enjoyed the sort of coming-of-age story as much or more as the target audience would.

Fourteen-year-old Katie Nash is an interesting character. Her dad is in th
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Adrienne
Apr 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read several Elizabeth Berg books and they are always goodish sort of books. Like 'em, like 'em enough to read another one from time to time, but don't really remember or think about them when I'm done reading them.

Joy School is a little bit of an exception. At first I thought it was just goodish like Berg's other's, but there were a couple of passages that truly resonated with me. One was when a brand new friend wanted to go shopping with the 13 year old protagonist, Katie. Katie is told t
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Ellen
13-year-old Katie has just moved to Missouri with her widowed Army father leaving behind her home and friends in Texas. Being an 'army brat' she is once again the new girl in school and she finds herself on the outside of friendships that have been formed since kindergarten. Katie dislikes the school, her teachers and the neighbor's children who leave her nasty notes in the hedges at night. But one thing Katie loves to do is ice skate and as soon as the pond freezes over she heads out for an aft ...more
Anne
Feb 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris
just one of the many good reviews“Young as I am, I know now that everything is about to come. Jimmy will be the place for me to learn the real happiness. He will be my Joy School. My joy. Mine.”

These words sum up this story, about a 13-year-old girl, Katie, transplanted to Missouri after her mother’s death, and subject to the mercurial moods of a stern, inaccessible father; she finds solace in the housekeeper and in her two friends – Cynthia, who is odd and whose grandmother actually interests K
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Laurel-Rain
Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Young as I am, I know now that everything is about to come. Jimmy will be the place for me to learn the real happiness. He will be my Joy School. My joy. Mine.”

These words sum up this story, about a 13-year-old girl, Katie, transplanted to Missouri after her mother’s death, and subject to the mercurial moods of a stern, inaccessible father; she finds solace in the housekeeper and in her two friends – Cynthia, who is odd and whose grandmother actually interests Katie, with her loud, Italian ways
...more
Stacy
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Katie and her father have moved to Missouri from Texas just as Katie is entering the insecurity and wonder of her teen years. Her mother is dead, her sister is pregnant, her father is distant, and she is mostly ignored at school. She thinks maybe the only people who like her are the cafeteria ladies because they always give her seconds. Then she meets Jimmy, the much older manager of a gas station and her luck seems to be changing. She begins spending more time with the married Jimmy and even fi ...more
Marilyn
Jul 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Sweet, but not cloying. The author got it right, the feeling of being the odd kid in a new town. "I sit mostly by myself, or by someone miscellaneous." She can't seem to talk to her family either. And then she has a crush on The One. The older one who is an impossibility, except in her mind. The One who she can say anything to, who seemed pleased to see her. "Around him, everything bad about me was excused and everything good about me got held up." And then he has to leave town.

Though I prefer n
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Frances Scott
Oct 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would give this 4.5 stars if possible, and I am extremely stingy with 5 stars, so that's a big compliment.

I continue to be in awe of Elizabeth Berg's ability to capture the "voice" of adolescent narrators. How does she do it? Makes me wonder if she kept a detailed journal when she was at that stage of life. Don't miss her novel, What We Keep, for another masterpiece of capturing the young person's perspective.

I've now read the entire Katie Nash trilogy - the other volumes being Durable Goods a
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Int'l librarian
I love the language of this book. So many moments are sweet and sad and funny all at once. When she tells the priest about her tendency to lie, for example. “He talked about a surface being eroded and how that changes a character of a thing and I looked into his eyes like I was listening, but I also was thinking about how amazingly old he is and didn’t priests have a retirement rule?”

When 13-year-old Katie is talking with the priest after Thanksgiving, the entire scene is so warm and reassuring
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Robin
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, how I love, love, love Elizabeth Berg. This book was such a sweet, nostalgic trip back to awkward adolescence. It didn't pack quite the same punch as "Durable Goods" for me. I think that's because I was so emotionally invested in Katie surviving her abusive father in DG. I was invested in her during this novel too but in more of a lighthearted way, watching her navigate unrequited love with an older man. I worried during the entire novel over how she would embarrass herself with him (I'm so ...more
Christine Kloss
Best Books for Young Adults: Romance

This is a sweet story about a young girl's first crush on an older guy. Katie has a father who is slightly abusive, her mother is dead and her sister lives in Mexico. She doesn't have any real friends and doesn't really fit into her new environment. However, when she falls through the ice and Jimmy comes to save her she couldn't have guessed that she was going to feel the things she did. This story is about first love and the point that love doesn't always loo
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Elizabeth Berg is the New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including We Are All Welcome Here, The Year of Pleasures, The Art of Mending, Say When, True to Form, Never Change, and Open House, which was an Oprah’s Book Club selection in 2000. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year, and Talk Before Sleep was short-listed for the ABBY Award in 1996. The w ...more
More about Elizabeth Berg...

Other Books in the Series

Katie Nash (3 books)
  • Durable Goods (Katie Nash, #1)
  • True to Form (Katie Nash, #3)

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“If I were to draw on a paper what gym does for me, I would make one dot and then I would erase it.” 88 likes
“When it's new and important, you have to rest in between times. And anyway, even when I like a person there is a weariness that comes. I can be with someone and everything is fine and then all of a sudden it can wash over me like a sickness, that I need the quiet of my own self. I need to unload my head and look at what I've got in there so far. See it. Think what it means. I always need to come back to being alone for a while.” 32 likes
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