Jacky Ha-Ha

James Patterson, 1947-

Book - 2016

"Twelve-year-old Jacky "Ha-Ha" Hart is a class clown with a penchant for pranking--and when she's required to act in the school play to appease her frustrated teachers, she must conquer her stutter"--

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Subjects
Published
New York : Little, Brown and Company 2016.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Item Description
"Jimmy Patterson books."
Physical Description
363 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
ISBN
9780316262491
0316262498
Main Author
James Patterson, 1947- (author)
Other Authors
Chris Grabenstein (author), Kerascoët (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

In 1990, the seven Hart sisters are living under the not-particularly-watchful eye of their hardworking father while their mother, a Marine, is serving in Iraq. Just as school starts, 12-year-old Jacky vows that this year she will rise above her reputation as a class clown and prankster. Nevertheless, she racks up five detentions on the first day and 20 by the week's end. Her only way out of trouble terrifies Jacky, who stutters: try out for the school play and enter a public speaking competition. Jacky reluctantly joins the play's cast and the oratorical team. Smart, funny, and immensely likable, Jacky is a colorful narrator and an increasingly interesting character, and her struggles will strike a chord with many readers. The many black-and-white cartoon-style drawings increase the book's appeal. While the introduction, a letter written years later by Jacky to her daughters, lets readers know in advance that things will turn out OK, it won't diminish the fun of following this good-hearted but smart-mouthed tomboy through the ups and downs of her seventh-grade year.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Patterson puts out a lot of product, but his middle-grade collaborations with Grabenstein are among his best—and best promoted. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

In 1991, 12-year-old Jacky and her older sisters must find summer jobs to help support the family. Soon she's running the Balloon Race game on the Jersey Shore boardwalk. Though she never stutters while amusing customers with her wisecracking carny patter, her tryout for A Midsummer Night's Dream is a near disaster. Still, she lands a small part. Later, after the Balloon Race booth is robbed and she loses her job, she puts her acting skills to practical use, setting a "mousetrap" to catch the thief. Lines from Shakespearean dialogue, along with facts about his plays and Elizabethan stagecraft, are woven into the story. As in Jacky Ha-Ha (2016), the framework introduces Jacky as an adult, a successful actress reminiscing for her two daughters. Black-and-white drawings with speech balloons illustrate the narrative and underscore its humor. Often impulsive but later reflective, the young Jacky makes mistakes and learns from them. Whether she's helping a sister, solving a crime, or dealing with a boy's first stumbling steps toward romance, this chapter book is engaging from start to finish. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Patterson and Grabenstein's latest big-time series will fly off the shelves, and that's no joke. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Seventh grader Jacky Hart has been the class clown ever since classmates laughed at her stutter back in elementary school. "What's so wrong with wanting to be liked?" she wonders. Now "Jacky Ha-Ha" can't break out of her routine, even though her rudeness and pranks earn her numerous detentions. With her mother serving in Operation Desert Shield (the story is set on the Jersey Shore in 1990) and her father mysteriously absent most nights, Jacky is left without much guidance. Could a dynamic new English teacher help redirect Jacky's need to perform? The story is stuffed with page-turning pranks and social and family drama (Jacky is one of six sisters), and the swoopy b&w cartoons from Kerascoët, a pseudonym for French artists Marie Pommepuy and Sébastian Cosset, only add to Jacky's untamed energy. Framed as a successful comedy writer looking back on her wild 12th year, the novel is sure to amuse and encourage readers who don't have it all figured out just yet. Ages 8–12. Author's agent: (for Patterson) Robert Barnett, Williams & Connolly; (for Grabenstein) Eric Myers, Spieler Agency. Illustrator's agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Mar.) [Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 4–6—The jokes fall flat in this mediocre tale of family, middle school mishaps, and personal acceptance. Jacky recounts her life during the 1990s, when George H.W. Bush was president and Nintendo was popular. Jacky Hart, the fourth of six sisters, uses her quick wit to disguise her speech impediment. Although she makes herself a promise to behave differently in middle school, she unfortunately ends up, once again, being the class clown. This stems from her home life. There, she needs to be a personal cheerleader to her sisters, as their father is mysteriously missing during family dinners and their mother is off serving in Operation Desert Shield. When Jacky finds herself in big trouble for being a jokester, Mrs. O'Mara, a new English teacher, helps her realize that she has talent far beyond collecting detentions. Readers will find Jacky entertaining, but her character is ultimately unoriginal. Cartoon illustrations are interspersed throughout the novel, similar to those in Patterson's I Funny (Little, Brown, 2013) and Rachel Renee Russell's "Dork Diaries" series (S. & S.). While the art is playful and fun to look at, it never feels essential to the text. Readers may find Jacky's grown-up narration confusing, as she recounts her life as a middle schooler. The ending is unrealistic. VERDICT Despite its many shortcomings, this title is sure to have high circulation among fans of Patterson's previous works.—Jessica Bratt, Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Rapids, MI [Page 136]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Jacky Hart tries to turn over a new leaf and end her reign as class clown, even though being funny helps distract her from her mother's deployment and her father's increased absence from home.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Becoming a class clown and turning everything into a joke in order to avoid feeling the pain of her mother's military service and her father's perpetual absence, 12-year-old Jacky makes a promise to give up something she loves if it will keep her family together. Simultaneous eBook. 350,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"Twelve-year-old Jacky "Ha-Ha" Hart is a class clown with a penchant for pranking--and when she's required to act in the school play to appease her frustrated teachers, she must conquer her stutter"--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

In his new middle grade novel that debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, James Patterson introduces his hilarious new heroine, Jacky Ha-Ha, a class clown who makes people laugh with her so they can't laugh at her.With her irresistible urge to tell a joke in every situation--even when she really, really shouldn't--twelve-year-old Jacky Ha-Ha loves to make people laugh. And cracking wise helps distract her from thinking about not-so-funny things in her life, like her mom serving in a dangerous, faraway war, and a dad who's hardly ever home. But no matter how much fun Jacky has, she can't seem to escape her worries. So one starlit night, she makes a promise to keep her family together...even if she has to give up the one thing that makes her happy. But can she stop being Jacky Ha-Ha, if that's who she really is?

Review by Publisher Summary 5

In his new middle grade novel that debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, James Patterson introduces his hilarious new heroine, Jacky Ha-Ha, a class clown who makes people laugh with her so they can't laugh at her.

With her irresistible urge to tell a joke in every situation--even when she really, really shouldn't--twelve-year-old Jacky Ha-Ha loves to make people laugh. And cracking wise helps distract her from thinking about not-so-funny things in her life, like her mom serving in a dangerous, faraway war, and a dad who's hardly ever home.

But no matter how much fun Jacky has, she can't seem to escape her worries. So one starlit night, she makes a promise to keep her family together...even if she has to give up the one thing that makes her happy. But can she stop being Jacky Ha-Ha, if that's who she really is?