Monday, August 06, 2012

Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Extra Credit

Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Extra CreditGreenwald, Tommy. Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Extra Credit.
7 August 2012 (ARC from author)

Charlie Joe’s report card is really bad, and his parents and guidance counselor have come up with a solution-- over the summer, he will attend Camp Rituhbukee, where he will not be able to play video games and hang out all summer, but will have to READ BOOKS. In order to escape this terrible fate, Charlie Joe makes a deal. He has to get all A’s in his classes, with one B in his worst subject, science. This is an impossible task, because Charlie Joe is That Student; the one who is forever bedeviling the teacher in some way. His friends tell him that he will need to approach his teachers about extra credit. His gym teacher asks him to become involved in student government, his art teacher wants him to pose for a picture she is painting, and his drama teacher has him try out for the school play. Charlie also studies really hard and tries to behave in class. He is still fond of Hannah Spivero, who happens to being dating his best friend, so he is not  hurting when she is cast opposite him in the play... and they have a kiss scripted! This is a bit of a problem, though, when he realizes that he likes a returning student, Zoe. Both girls act jealous at some points. In the end, Charlie barely squeaks by with grades, but his parents agree his efforts should be rewarded, but a reformed Charlie wants to do the best thing for his own future success in school.
Strengths: I adore Charlie Joe, and so do the readers at my school. Excellent mix of romance, funny, and a main character who is like the vast majority of the kids in my school-- well-meaning but often misguided. I ordered at least two copies for my school library-- I have FIVE of the first, and they are never on the shelf!
Weaknesses: Charlie often finds himself in situations that are not terribly realistic, but definitely funny. This bothers me a bit, but doesn't seem to bother middle school students!

Head over to Ramblings of a Wanna Be Scribe for Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday, and to Teach Mentor Texts for What Are You Reading to see all of the cool books that various bloggers have reviewed!


  1. Figured I'd leave the comment here (left it in reply to yours over at Project Mayhem).

    It sounded like you liked it quite a bit based on your review. I read it earlier. Love your blog. I'm a regular stalker, I mean, visitor. Glad to see you so actively searching for books for boys. Maybe sometime soon I'll have a few of my own to send your way. You are easily my favorite online librarian!

  2. I'm not such a huge CJJ fan, can't quite put my finger on why because so many others seem to think these books are great. The fact that the books fly off the shelves of your library means I should probably give Charlie another chance.

    (Love your description of middle school kids being "well-meaning but often misguided.")

  3. I still need to read the first one. The book trailer was funny, though!

  4. I'm kind of like the other commenters...Charlie Joe Jackson just isn't for me. It really bothers me that he didn't really change much in the first one. I haven't read this second one (and I really don't plan to) because the first one was just worthless to me. I'm sorry but I like a little bit of character development in the books I read. It's the same reason I couldn't continue with the Wimpy Kid series.

    Sorry to get ranty, I'm just not a fan. That said, we aren't always going to agree on books, right? Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jen- it's definitely not a book that a lot of adults get behind, but I did like it more than Wimpy Kid. At least I liked Charlie Joe! I do think the romance is handled nicely, and it's funny, but apparently (given the very heated Cybils debate we had about it) Not Great Literature!

  6. This audiobook is on its way to me. I enjoyed the first one on audio, so wanted the second one the same way.

    I totally get the lack of enthusiasm over a troublemaker type, but as you know, I just didn't see Charlie Joe as that ilk.

    It takes all kinds :) And I'm looking forward to this one.