Monday, October 21, 2013

MG Review: This Journal Belongs to Ratchet by Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Title: This Journal Belongs to Ratchet
Author: Nancy J. Cavanaugh
# of Pages: 320
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Publication Date: April 2nd 2013
Source: Borrowed
Level: Middle Grade
Rating: 5 Hearts


If only getting a new life were as easy as getting a new notebook.
But it's not.

It's the first day of school for all the kids in the neighborhood. But not for me. I'm homeschooled. That means nothing new. No new book bag, no new clothes, and no friends – old or new. The best I've got is this notebook. I'm supposed to use it for my writing assignments, but my dad never checks. Here's what I'm really going to use it for:

Ratchet's Top Secret Plan
Project Goal: turn my old, recycled, freakish, friendless, motherless life into something shiny and new.

This year, I'm going make something change.

My Verdict

I was immediately put off by this book within the first few pages when it talked about homeschoolers having no friends and getting an A+ on a paper when she just wrote the same sentence over and over. As someone who was homeschooled k – 12th grade, I always get angry when people assume we sit around doing nothing all day and are some kind of friendless hermits. I had plenty of friends growing up and worked super hard on my schoolwork. Now that I’ve gotten that little rant out of the way...

I loved the unique structure in which this story was written. Not only is it through Ratchets journal but it’s her social studies journal, which is formatted into different writing assignments like poetry, letter, fairytale, review, etc… I found this to be a very unique and interesting structure. At first I thought the fact that the whole book is in a funky, handwritten font would drive me up a wall, but your eyes adjust after awhile. 

Once I was able to get past the stereotypical view of homeschoolers and the awful handwritten font, I really did fall in love with the story. Ratchet is a very likable main character who is learning how to deal with her embarrassing father, finding out about her absent mother and what it really means to be a friend. This is one of those middle grade stories that will be enjoyed by all ages. I highly recommend it!

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