Have you ever sat down to read a book and identified with the author so quickly that you thought that they were talking to you? That you were good friends? That maybe you went to the same school? Perhaps they were reading your diary in middle school and recreated portions of your life but changed some of the situations …. Hmmm, I better call mom and see where that diary went. But wait, we are friends, well, okay, so I don’t know the author at all and they may be writing in first person but they totally get me!
These are just a few of the many things that went through my head as I sat down and started to read Jacky Ha-Ha from the ever talented, bestselling author James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein.
Jacky Ha-Ha tells the tale of a young girl, Jacky Hart, who grew up in the 1990s. Surrounded by six siblings, family struggles, the everyday drama that IS middle school, and the search for personal acceptance she turns to humor to get her through the day.
Though directed towards children ages 9 to 12, I picked up this novel to share with my daughter as she is starting to enter into more adolescent experiences. I am always on the lookout for books and authors that my family is able to identify with in the hopes that they will not only support our love of literature but also provide a connection, a life lesson, or an outlet that allows us to open a new door of communication about what is going on in her young life, at school, in her head, and give her ways to express her thoughts and feelings.
What I love about Jacky Ha-Ha is how relatable the book is; even I, at thirty-something, identified with her tale and her feelings. Jacky chooses to tell jokes and uses humor in situations where she is uncomfortable. She allows herself to be the class clown in the hopes that people won’t pick up on her “flaws” and pick at her. This is what I did when I was in middle school as well. I didn’t struggle with the personal or family issues that Jacky did but I certainly identify and understand. See, I was overweight and often the source of ridicule. To protect myself from being poked fun at, I would often tell jokes about my weight or jokes about something else in an attempt to draw attention away from me and focus it somewhere else. I was often referred to as the class clown! In eighth grade, my father passed away and I became the target of a new source of questions, looks, and ridicule. Again, I looked to jokes to push the attention in a new direction. The problem is, jokes and laughter don’t fix everything and this is something that Jacky learns along the way.
I am always on the lookout for ways to share my love of reading with my daughter and Jacky Ha-Ha has proven to be a great addition to our library. Every day, we have taken a timeout of out from our busy lives to curl up on the couch together, snuggle under a blanket, and learn a little bit more about Jacky. It’s been amazing. I love that James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein are using this book at a means to start the FIRST book club for kids AND their moms and I am grateful to be a part of the movement. I also love that this book is allowing me to touch on more difficult topics in a lighthearted way. There are situations in this book that my little one has not experienced yet but that doesn’t mean that she won’t in the future. I want her to be as prepared as possible for obstacles in life that she may face. A good read is a great way to start a new conversation.
While we haven’t finished reading the story of Jacky Ha-Ha we are enjoying learning more about her every day. Now, we invite you to become a part of the conversation!
Head out to your local bookstore, or any store where novels are sold, such as Target or Walmart, or simply pick up a copy of Jacky Ha-Ha from Amazon and join in the conversation by using hashtag #HaHaBookClub! Get in on the FIRST book club for kids AND their moms and let the conversation begin!
To pick up a copy of James Patterson & Chris Grabenstein’s Jacky Ha-Ha from Amazon, simply click HERE!
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?
Disclaimer: This post is written in collaboration with Mom Select. Regardless, all opinions expressed are still 100% my own.