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Paperback Jean and Johnny Book

ISBN: 0380728052

ISBN13: 9780380728053

Jean and Johnny

(Part of the First Love Series)

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Newbery Medal winner Beverly Cleary brings her classic warm humor to this funny and touching story about a girl who lacks self-confidence, and a boy who has too much.Fifteen-year-old Jean is astonished when handsome Johnny whirls her around the dance floor. She's never given much thought to boys before; now Johnny is all that's on her mind.Finally she finds the courage to invite him to a dance. But the excitement of a new dress and...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A throwback to a simpler time that bridges the gap between generations

It's the first night of Christmas vacation when fifteen-year-old Jean Jarrett feels something wonderful brewing in the air. Sadly, she can't place her finger on it, all she can say is that she can feel that something nice will happen. And it does. Jean is simply accompanying her best friend, Elaine Mundy, and her mother to the local country club to drop off holiday decorations, when Jean is picked out of the crowd by a tall, handsome boy and asked to dance. And so kicks off a whirlwind adventure. While Jean does not get the boy's name, Elaine is determined to find him again, and seeks him out at school where he begins speaking to Jean on a regular basis, and making her feel special. Jean absolutely adores the attention that she's receiving, but she can't help but question it at times. After all, Johnny is a seventeen-year-old senior who is tall and handsome, and could easily have his pick of any girl at Northgate High, yet he seems genuinely interested in Jean. Short, ungraceful, glasses-wearing Jean, who can't sew a skirt together evenly, and spends her Friday and Saturday nights fantasizing about the slightly musically inept TV star, Kip Laddish, and writing to her pen pals across the world. However, as the school year progresses, Johnny seems to pay even more attention to Jean. He goes out of his way to meat her in the school hallways, calls on her to go to the drive-in for a Coke, invites her to hang out with him and his friends during lunch, and even attempts to come around to her house on the weekends to hang out with her and her folks. Jean can't help but believe that Johnny really does like her, but Jean's older sister, Sue, seems slightly skeptical. Jean is sure that Sue is simply jealous because no boys ever come calling for her. But, as Jean continues to learn more about Johnny, she begins to wonder if Sue isn't correct. Maybe Johnny doesn't feel as strongly towards her as she thought. But as long as he's spending time pursuing her, Jean feels inclined to savor each and every moment with Johnny. With the amount of racy books on the market nowadays, it's a wonderful feeling to have the opportunity to go back to basics, and relive the nostalgia and innocence of a simpler time, when girls spent their afternoons sewing and baking, and going out to eat at a restaurant was a big deal that happened on very rare occasions. And that is what readers are treated to with Beverly Cleary's JEAN AND JOHNNY. Jean is such an adorable character, whose awkwardness is charming, and really brings her tale to life. The tight-knit relationship she experiences with her parents, and her older sister, Sue, is adorable, and is such a pleasure to read about in a sea of novels filled with teenagers who do nothing but bicker with their parents, and share rivalries with their siblings. The hard-time's that seem to plague Jean's family, while bittersweet, are also quite enjoyable to read about, as they illustrate the meaning of a penny, and the hardships that people

We've all lived through it...

The closest that 15-year-old Jean and her best friend Elaine have gotten to boys is dreaming about Kip Laddish, a handsome singer with a weekly TV program. Then, one day when she least expects it, Jean meets Johnny, a handsome popular 17-year-old, and her world is turned upside down. No longer content with imagining "what if," Jean begins to live her whole life for Johnny. Making sure she looks pretty in case she meets Johnny, replaying every conversation in her mind and walking past his house in the hopes of meeting him "accidentally on purpose" consume all of Jean's much so, that she barely notices when she begins ostacizing her family and Elaine. And it takes "the hard way" for Jean to realize that just because a boy is handsome and popular doesn't mean he is kind...

Excellent portrayal of a first love

It's safe to say that every woman alive can identify with this very "on target" tale, which Beverly Cleary depicts with warmth, humour, occasional pathos, and perfect realism. Perhaps we are not much like Jean (I know that I never was ... seems strange she has no interests, no involvement in activities, and only one friend), but which of us has not, in some fashion, had the idea that love was mutual as long as we kept talking about a particular dream boat?I used this book, which I'd originally read over 30 years ago, with a class when I was teaching pre-teen girls. I noticed that even an adult reader would be wondering whether the gorgeous Johnny really "liked" Jean, or was merely one with a big ego. (I'll not spoil the story by saying which was the case.) I smiled in nostalgic, if bittersweet, recognition when, for example, Jean searched the dictionary for the definition of "cute."Fortunately, the book was written in the last days of when a conceited type could be taken at face value. We are spared the boring diversions into the psychology of the "hunk" which undoubtedly would divert us today.As usual, Beverly Cleary presents vivid and highly enjoyable characters and situations, with which readers of any age can identify. Top fare.

Excellent first-love story; dated but with a definite edge.

I'm 35, & have read this book many times since childhood. I loved Jean's likable awkwardness, her loving and supportive family, her tight relationship with an even more awkward best friend. The charm of this story was in the painfully familiar adolescent details: mortification on being dressed completely wrong; tailing a crush all over and calling on weak pretexts; slighting a "dorky" best friend to earn a place with the popular crowd, etc. All the characters just jumped out at me. There's a definite edginess to the writing that I haven't seen elsewhere: Johnny is portrayed as a vain, shallow jerk...but in the end not only does he go unpunished & unguilty for his selfishness, but Jean still carries a torch! An absolutely delightful, memorable tale of unrequited love and all its humiliations.

As realistic a depiction of first love as I've ever seen

Both when I read it as a youngster and, years later, with my own fifth grade class, I found Jean and Johnny to be a highly accurate picture of a first love. Even an adult is kept guessing, at first, whether Johnny is "interested but shy" or merely totally conceited (though the latter is the case). Every woman either has been in Jean's place or knew someone who was - and, if the young can read this delightful novel without looking for 90s self-help interpretations that do not apply, I don't doubt they'll see how very familiar the characters are!
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