Joey is back at home with his mother after spending six weeks with his irresponsible father. Things at home have changed a little and he is doing his best to be helpful. Grandma Pigza is living with them. Joey’s mother has a new photographer boyfriend. And Joey is now being homeschooled by a conservative woman from church along with her blind daughter.
Enter Joey’s father, Carter, in a desperate attempt to win back his mother. Joey’s dad is stalking them: buzzing by on his motorcycle, peeking into windows, following them. And, unfortunately, he brings out the worst behavior in Joey’s mom! Poor Joey! How is he supposed to stay on the straight and narrow when the adults in his life are acting like children?
There is no escape at school, either. His homeschool partner, Olivia, has been making his life miserable. Plus, someone is stealing Chihuahuas around town and Pablo is missing! Grandma Pigza wants Joey to make a friend, but how is that possible given the circus he lives in?
But, despite it all, Joey tries his best to be good and help everyone: He takes care of Grandma, and tries to get along with Mom’s new boyfriend... even when they run off and leave him for a bit while Joey’s dad is around. Joey even tries to help at school, being Mrs. Lapp’s secret helper with Olivia. But nothing seems to be enough.
Everything culminates in a Thanksgiving free-for-all that leaves our “Mr. Helpful” rethinking some of the choices he and his family have made. From the crazy relatives, to the impossible odds, readers will appreciate Joey’s sweet voice and optimism as he deals with the latest drama in his life. His always positive point of view is an interesting contrast to the chaos around him. 240 pages
Recommended by Jamequa Summerall, Librarian, Maryland USA
********** Sequel to Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor Book
Are they flirting or fighting? This is Joey Pigza's question when the fireworks suddenly start to explode between his long-separated mom and dad, whom he's never really had a chance to see together. The more out of control his parents get, the less in control Joey feels and the more he wants to help make things better.
But Joey's ailing tell-it-like-it-is grandmother wants her grandson to see it like it is with his unpredictable parents. Knowing that she is fading fast, she needs Joey to hurry up and show that he can break the Pigza family mold by making a friend in the outside world. The only potential candidate, however, is Olivia Lapp -- Joey's blind homeschooling partner, who brags that she is "blind as a brat" and acts meaner to Joey the more desperate he gets for her friendship -- even if Joey senses there's more to her than meets the eye.
In this dazzling episode, Jack Gantos's acclaimed hyperactive hero discovers that settling down isn't good for anything if he can't find a way to stop the people he cares about from winding him up all over again.--from the publisher
256 pages 978-1250061690 Ages 9-13
Keywords: ADHD, dysfunctional family, family, identity, blindness, grandmother, friendship, friends, getting along, understanding others, being different, feelings, emotions, part of a series, differently wired, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old