Book Review: What Would Joey Do? by Jack Gantos

What Would Joey Do? (Joey Pigza, #3) by Jack Gantos

Title: What Would Joey Do?

Author: Jack Gantos

Series: Joey Pigza (#3)

Genre: Realistic Middle-Grade Fiction

Number of Pages: 229

Rating: B-

Recommended?: Yes


After two excellent first books in the series, this one was a little disappointing. In What Would Joey Do?, the series’ hyperactive protagonist copes with his incredibly toxic parents, the mortality of his grandmother, and homeschool sessions with a mean-spirited blind girl from a fundamentalist Christian family. Joey’s grandmother wants him to make a friend so he tries to be friends with the blind girl, but she continues to treat him horribly.

I thought this was an iffy message- that you can win over somebody who treats you like absolute crap if you work at it hard enough. Joey’s mom was growing on me in the second book but in this book she’s just horrible. His parents’ behavior felt over-the-top to me, and weirdly enough his psychologically abusive grandmother came off as the reasonable one. I still really liked Joey’s character and I still enjoyed following his story but it didn’t hold a candle to the other two books.

As a side note, I wish there was more representation of homeschoolers where they aren’t wildly irresponsible hippies or uptight religious fanatics. There are actually a lot of very Liberal homeschooling parents who aren’t all ‘counter-culture.’ I wanted to give both Olivia (the blind girl) and her fundie mother a good kick in the pants.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: What Would Joey Do? by Jack Gantos

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