Review: Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes

planet middle school

For twelve years, Joylin Johnson’s life has been just fine, thank you very much. A game of basketball with the boys-especially her friend Jake-was all it took to put a smile on her face. Baggy jeans, T-shirt, and hair in a ponytail were easy choices. Then suddenly the world seemed to turn upside down, and everything changed at once. Her best girl friend is now flirting with her best guy friend. Her clothes seem all wrong. Jake is acting weird, and basketball isn’t the same. And worst of all, there is this guy, Santiago, who appears from . . . where? What lengths will Joy go to-and whom will she become-to attract his attention?

In short poems that perfectly capture the crazy feelings of adolescence and first crushes, award-winning author Nikki Grimes has crafted a delightful, often hilarious, hearttugging story.

Description taken from Goodreads.


First of all, I have no idea how this ended up on my Goodreads TBR list, because I have no memory of putting it there, and at first glance it’s not a book I would pick up. I am happy that I picked it up, because it was an entertaining, quick read, but it was also lacking a lot of things.

There isn’t a whole lot of detail to this book, and that’s not attributed to the fact that it’s written in verse. There are lots of good books that are poignant, hard-hitting and detailed without being in a traditional format. I guess I just wanted something more from the writing.

I did like the themes to this story, and the way that Joylin’s life and her perspective on things changes so much over the course of this little 154 page book. I wished that she had played more basketball and acted the way she did “before” so that I, as the reader, could measure how much she’d changed and how she grew/shrunk, but that was a minor issue.

Overall, I would recommend this book–especially to girls 11 to 12. I like the main concept, which is to grow up and see yourself and your character as a person changing over time as you learn and develop. I think that the target audience will be able to relate it to it greatly, and even though there are many books like this the verse particularly stood out to me and the way this message is packed into this short of a story resounded with me. 3 stars.

**If you’re not into verse though, you should not read this book.**

pg count for the hardback: 154

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