Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on July 21, 2014
Genres: contemporary, Depression & Mental Illness, Friendship, Humorous Stories, Social Issues, Young Adult
Source: Paperback ARC from Publisher
Reading Challenges: COYER, Summer Surge Read A Thon
In James Patterson's first highly illustrated "diary fiction" story for teens, the mega-bestselling author's most endearing and original teen heroine ever proves that everyone can use a helping hand once in a while.
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 "Happiness Project". 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.
The Homeroom Diaries is a hilarious story told in the form of a teens diary, complete with tons of awesome illustrations. It is hard for me to decide which I enjoyed more- the story through Margaret, or “Cuckoo” as she has everyone call her, entries or her pictures to go along with the entries. It was a close call, both were equally awesome and both totally hilarious. The Homeroom Diaries is told from Cuckoo’s point of view, but because it is her diaries it is told in a kind of easily accessible stream of consciousness. I loved every page of this book, even the sad ones.
Cuckoo does not have it easy. She has had more than her fair share of crappy things happen to her, but still through it all she is holding it together remarkably. I know the counselors at her school don’t think so, but I do. I admired the heck out of her. And I loved seeing her with her friends. Check out how they describe themselves in one of these pictures from the book.*
The illustrations added a fantastic level of humor to the story. I lost count of how many times I flat out laughed out loud while reading Homeroom Diaries. And these were not dainty little giggles or chuckles, they were full out laughs, where I had to re-read paragraphs just so I could laugh again.
Homeroom Diaries is not just funny pictures though, there is a kick ass story in there too.Cuckoo and her friends are trying to implement this “project happiness” idea of theirs throughout the story, and you get a behind the scenes look at their everyday life. And trust me, tons goes on with them. I loved getting to know each of her friends, and I especially loved the alternate endings that she made for them. Cuckoo hates endings, and she is constantly writing alternate endings for books and movies and people. I hope that means there is another book coming out, because I am not ready to say goodbye to Cuckoo and her BFFs! *Pictures were taken with permission from the book’s official Instagram. Check it out for some awesome sneak peeks at the artwork!
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THE HAPPINESS PROJECT prize pack Let great reads make you smile! Enter for your chance to win a James Patterson collection including copies of Homeroom Diaries, Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, Confessions of a Murder Suspect, and First Love. Prizing & samples courtesy of Little, Brown Giveaway open to US addresses only
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges: