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Joy School

Best Seller
Joy School by Elizabeth Berg
Paperback $17.00
Mar 24, 1998 | ISBN 9780345423092

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  • Mar 24, 1998 | ISBN 9780345423092

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  • Aug 25, 2010 | ISBN 9780307763419

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Product Details


“Hilarious and heartbreaking . . . A book worth buying.”
San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle

Richmond Times Dispatch

“A STORY THAT TUGS AT THE HEARTSTRINGS. . . Thirteen-year-old Katie is new to her Missouri town, living alone with a stern, inaccessible father following her mother’s death. Unable to fit in at school, she forges alliances where she can: with her housekeeper, with a pimply fellow misfit named Cynthia, and with the gorgeous Taylor, who gets her kicks out of shoplifting. Most frustrating of all is Katie’s imperfect friendship with the proprietor of a local gas station, a handsome twenty-three-year-old who shares her love of checkers but doesn’t return her crush. With humor and an eye for telling detail, Berg conveys the way each unpromising element of Katie’s life ultimately offers her more than she had anticipated.”

“[A] PAINFULLY ACCURATE TALE OF FIRST LOVE . . . Berg can conjure character with a minimum of words and a rainbow of nuance. The reader misses Katie the instant the book ends.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Its heart and wit will remind Berg’s fans
why her writing is so eminently likable.”
Chicago Tribune

“If you remember the heart-slamming intensity of your own first love, Joy School will recall the pain and exhilaration that intersect when that love is unrequited. Berg’s peripheral characters are a treat: Vivid and quirky, they do more than fill in the background. These are people who encourage the reader to imagine what their own stories would be.”
St. Louis Post–Dispatch

“Growing up is hurtful, humorous, petty, and very, very serious. Berg has beautifully wrought this stage of life in her witty, warm way. Like every other Berg novel, Joy School is a joy to read.”
The Orlando Sentinel

“Berg’s style works beautifully—deceptively simple, conversational, and hip.”
USA Today

“Dreamy and fragile, Berg’s heroine is so convincingly brought to life that we feel her joys and sorrows as though they were our own.”
The Baltimore Sun

“Berg is a wily writer who has no trouble whipping up something sweet and satisfying. . . . [Joy School] will touch the most sophisticated reader’s heart.”
Houston Chronicle

“One of the best things about this wonderful book is how funny it is. Don’t read it anywhere you’re not willing to risk being caught laughing aloud.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“A coming-of-age story that is neither grim nor saccharine, an exploration of how, for one spirited girl, life brings both daily grief and daily joy . . . Joy School possesses many of the strengths of [Durable Goods], most notably the narrator’s voice. Katie is funny, imaginative, irreverent, idiosyncratic, and deeply, unusually charming.”
The Boston Sunday Globe

“A sweet-sad initiation story told in Berg’s compelling voice.”
Newark Star-Ledger

“The reader feels tenderness toward the child’s hope and toughness, and recognizes wisdom in her guileless voice. . . . Berg captures particularly well the feeling of loneliness and the sadness of growth and change.”
The Dallas Morning News

“Wonderful . . . Another must for Elizabeth Berg fans . . . Once you develop a taste for what she does with language and deeply rooted emotions, you devour [her books]. They are as a woman thinketh and feeleth and liveth in this whirling world where you only rarely stop to smell the rain-wet lilacs.”
News & Record (Greensboro, NC)

Author Essay

I have been an Elizabeth Berg fan for years, ever since I read "Talk Before Sleep."  So needless to say, I was really excited when Ballantine acquired the paperback rights to "Joy School."  What’s even better is that Elizabeth is as wonderful of a person as you would expect her to be from reading her books!  What makes "Joy School" a favorite of mine is how well Elizabeth has captured the voice, emotion and mentality of a 13-year-old girl.  It will really throw you back.  Especially check out the early part of the book where Katie describes a day in her life.  After my best friend (another rabid Elizabeth Berg fan) read this book, she said she laughed and she cried and started right back at the beginning when she was finished.  It’s definitely that kind of experience.
Shauna Summers, Senior Editor

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