cover image Jacky Ha-Ha

Jacky Ha-Ha

James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, illus. by Kerascoet. Little, Brown/Jimmy Patterson, $13.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-26249-1

Seventh grader Jacky Hart has been the class clown ever since classmates laughed at her stutter back in elementary school. "What's so wrong with wanting to be liked?" she wonders. Now "Jacky Ha-Ha" can't break out of her routine, even though her rudeness and pranks earn her numerous detentions. With her mother serving in Operation Desert Shield (the story is set on the Jersey Shore in 1990) and her father mysteriously absent most nights, Jacky is left without much guidance. Could a dynamic new English teacher help redirect Jacky's need to perform? The story is stuffed with page-turning pranks and social and family drama (Jacky is one of six sisters), and the swoopy b&w cartoons from Kerasco%C3%ABt, a pseudonym for French artists Marie Pommepuy and S%C3%A9bastian Cosset, only add to Jacky's untamed energy. Framed as a successful comedy writer looking back on her wild 12th year, the novel is sure to amuse and encourage readers who don't have it all figured out just yet. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. Author's agent: (for Patterson) Robert Barnett, Williams & Connolly; (for Grabenstein) Eric Myers, Spieler Agency. Illustrator's agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Mar.)