THE KEY THAT SWALLOWED JOEY PIGZA by Jack Gantos
Kirkus Star

THE KEY THAT SWALLOWED JOEY PIGZA

From the "Joey Pigza" series, volume 5
Age Range: 10 - 13

KIRKUS REVIEW

Joey takes on his toughest set of challenges yet in this heart-rending, triumphant series finale.

Challenge one: His manic depressive mom has hidden his meds. Challenge two: She’s abruptly checked herself into the hospital, leaving him in charge of a cluttered, roach-infested house and his baby brother, Carter Junior. Challenge three: His no-account dad (still with a Frankenstein face from the previous episode’s botched plastic surgery) is lurking about the neighborhood looking for a chance to snatch Carter Junior and run. Moreover, Joey’s brave efforts to stay “pawzzz-i-tive,” to be “the mature Joey, the think-before-you-speak Joey, the better-than-Dad Joey, the hold-the-fort-for-Mom Joey, the keep-the-baby-safe Joey” are both aided and complicated by the return of Olivia—as he puts it, “the meanest cute blind girl I have ever loved.” Tucking enough real and metaphorical keys into Joey’s adrenalized narrative to create a motif, Gantos also trots out other significant figures from his protagonist’s past on the way to a fragile, hard-won but nonetheless real reunion. The conclusion invites readers to stop by: “There is always an extra slice waiting for you at the House-of-Pigza”—with delectable toppings aplenty.

Dark, funny and pawzzz-i-tively brilliant. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 2nd, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-374-30083-8
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2014




2014 KIRKUS PRIZE FINALISTS:

FictionTHE BLAZING WORLD by Siri Hustvedt
by Siri Hustvedt
FictionFLORENCE GORDON by Brian Morton
by Brian Morton
FictionTHE PAYING GUESTS by Sarah Waters
by Sarah Waters

MORE BY JACK GANTOS

ChildrenROTTEN RALPH'S ROTTEN FAMILY by Jack Gantos
by Jack Gantos
ChildrenFROM NORVELT TO NOWHERE by Jack Gantos
by Jack Gantos
ChildrenDEAD END IN NORVELT by Jack Gantos
by Jack Gantos

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenRAINY by Sis Deans
by Sis Deans
ChildrenI REPRESENT SEAN ROSEN by Jeff Baron
by Jeff Baron
ChildrenMYSTERY ON MUSEUM MILE by Marcia Wells
by Marcia Wells