The Amazing Adventures of John Smith, Jr. Aka Houdini

The Amazing Adventures of John Smith, Jr. Aka Houdini

3.58 (212 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

For fans of Jerry Spinelli's Maniac Magee, Gary D. Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars, and Jack Gantos's Joey Pigza Books comes a hilarious and poignant slice-of-life novel from critically acclaimed author and poet Peter Johnson.

When an author comes to speak to his class in a rundown area of Providence, Houdini decides to make money by writing his own novel. Houdini chronicles his life as he and his friends start a leaf-raking business, befriend Old Man Jackson (a Vietnam War veteran with a seriously intimidating dog), and get even with the neighborhood bully, Angel. But it's hard to find a way to write about his dad losing his job or his brother, Franklin, who is first reported missing in action in Iraq and then still seems to be missing when he comes home.

No matter what, Houdini and his friends rely on one another to figure out how to do the right thing. And Houdini discovers that writing and thinking about his friends and family lets him get to know them in completely new ways.
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Product details

  • 9-12
  • Paperback | 168 pages
  • 129.54 x 185.42 x 12.7mm | 132g
  • HarperCollins
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 006198891X
  • 9780061988912
  • 1,733,947

Review quote

"A middle-schooler writes a kids' novel; an author writes an engaging, amiable read-and, presto, a tale about a boy nicknamed Houdini turns out magical. . . . By turns poignant and downright hilarious, Houdini's story/novel is delivered in a voice that's wonderfully authentic."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
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Back cover copy

When an author comes to speak to his class in a rundown area of Providence, Houdini decides to make money by writing his own novel.

Rule #8 for Writing a Kid's Novel: Try to include a few lists in your novel. Kids like lists.

After all, Houdini's life is way more interesting than the kid the author wrote about.

Houdini chronicles his life as he and his friends start a leaf-raking business; befriend Old Man Jackson, a Vietnam War veteran with a seriously scary dog; and get even with the neighborhood bully, Angel. But it's hard to find a way to write about his dad losing his job or his brother, Franklin, who is reported missing in action in Iraq.

No matter what, Houdini and his friends will have to stick together to figure out how to do the right thing.
show more

Rating details

212 ratings
3.58 out of 5 stars
5 19% (40)
4 34% (72)
3 36% (76)
2 9% (20)
1 2% (4)
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