Margaret "Cuckoo" Clarke recently had a brief stay in a mental institution following an emotional breakdown, but she's turning over a new leaf with her "Operation Happiness." She's determined to beat down the bad vibes of the Haters, the Terror Teachers, and all of the trials and tribulations of high school by writing and drawing in her diary. Read more...
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Margaret "Cuckoo" Clarke recently had a brief stay in a mental institution following an emotional breakdown, but she's turning over a new leaf with her "Operation Happiness." She's determined to beat down the bad vibes of the Haters, the Terror Teachers, and all of the trials and tribulations of high school by writing and drawing in her diary. And when life gets really tough, she works through her own moments of uncertainty through imaginary conversations with her favorite literary characters.
Cuckoo's also got a nearly impossible mission: she, along with her misfit band of self-deprecating friends (who call themselves "the Freakshow") decide to bridge the gap between warring cliques and "bring the Nations together." Not everyone is so willing to join hands and get along, but Cuckoo never stops smiling... until one of her closest friends, pushed to desperation by a Hater prank, decides that enough is enough.
- ISBN-13: 9780316207621
- ISBN-10: 0316207624
- Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
- Publish Date: July 2014
- Page Count: 272
- Reading Level: Ages 12-15
- Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-05-12
- Reviewer: Staff
Patterson brings the misfit theme of Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life and its sequels into edgier territory in this illustrated novel about a group of high-school outcasts who call themselves “the Freakshow.” The story unfolds through the diary of self-nicknamed Cuckoo, who was recently hospitalized after a breakdown, and teeters between emotional instability and self-assuredness. Cuckoo’s mother disappeared months earlier, her supportive foster mother dies suddenly, and her best friend attempts suicide. Buoyed by the Freakshow, her child-prodigy biology teacher, and her foster sister, Cuckoo uses intelligence, creativity, and humor to rebound, while also attempting to bring together the school’s feuding cliques. Filled with drily funny dialogue balloons and captions, Keino’s cartoons have a Bratz-doll-meets-notebook-doodle aesthetic (Cuckoo herself is sort of Goth-lite, with a shaggy haircut, dark wardrobe, and heavily made-up eyes), with imagined cameos from the likes of Holden Caulfield, Nicki Minaj, and Katniss and Peeta. An ardent advocate of happy endings, Cuckoo signs off with a strong hint she’ll return. Ages 12–up. Author’s agent: Robert Barnett, Williams & Connolly. Illustrator’s agent: Advocate Art. (July)