What Would Joey Do?

Joey Pigza (Volume 3)

Jack Gantos

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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.
What Would Joey Do? is a 2003 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.


Read an Excerpt

What Would Joey Do?
1SPARKSAbout three weeks ago Dad suddenly showed up in town and started buzzing us on his motorcycle at all hours of the day and night. At first I was afraid because I thought he had come to get me, but I was wrong. He was much more interested in Mom. I lost track of how many times he roared down our street and ran the corner traffic light past Quips Pub, where Mom lounged in the leather window seat sipping a mixed drink with her new boyfriend while making plans for her future. Dad must have spotted her there during one of his rounds. He didn't say anything, but he'd look


Praise for What Would Joey Do?

What they're saying about Joey:

"Joey . . . is an impossible, contradictory, glorious creation."
-- Liz Rosenberg, The Boston Sunday Globe

"Joey isn't leading the easiest of lives, but he's a tough and triumphant kid with an absorbing story."
-- Starred, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"In Joey Pigza, Mr. Gantos has meticulously crafted the voice of a troubled kid with a solid center of goodness. Joey tells his own story, and it reads like a ride in a car without brakes."
-- Sue Corbett, Knight Ridder News Service

"Joey emerges as a sympathetic hero, and his heart of gold never loses its shine."
-- Starred, Publishers Weekly

"Readers will cheer for Joey, and for the champion in each of us."
-- Starred, School Library Journal

"Stepping into Joey Pigza's skin isn't easy . . . But it's worth the discomforting fit."
-- Deirdre Donahue, USA Today

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Jack Gantos

  • Jack Gantos has written books for people of all ages, from picture books and middle-grade fiction to novels for young adults and adults. His works include Hole in My Life, a memoir that won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert Honors, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist, Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor book, and Dead End in Norvelt, winner of the Newbery Medal and the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction.


    Jack was raised in Norvelt, Pennsylvania, and when he was seven, his family moved to Barbados. He attended British schools, where there was much emphasis on reading and writing, and teachers made learning a lot of fun. When the family moved to south Florida, he found his new classmates uninterested in their studies, and his teachers spent most of their time disciplining students. Jack retreated to an abandoned bookmobile (three flat tires and empty of books) parked out behind the sandy ball field, and read for most of the day. The seeds for Jack’s writing career were planted in sixth grade, when he read his sister’s diary and decided he could write better than she could. He begged his mother for a diary and began to collect anecdotes he overheard at school, mostly from standing outside the teachers’ lounge and listening to their lunchtime conversations. Later, he incorporated many of these anecdotes into stories.


    While in college, he and an illustrator friend, Nicole Rubel, began working on picture books. After a series of well-deserved rejections, they published their first book, Rotten Ralph, in 1976. It was a success and the beginning of Jack’s career as a professional writer. Jack continued to write children’s books and began to teach courses in children’s book writing and children’s literature. He developed the master’s degree program in children’s book writing at Emerson College and the Vermont College M.F.A. program for children’s book writers. He now devotes his time to writing books and educational speaking. He lives with his family in Boston, Massachusetts.

  • Jack Gantos
    Jack Gantos


Available Formats and Book Details

What Would Joey Do?

Joey Pigza

Jack Gantos

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbon Awar, School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, NYPLC Children's Books 100, Parents' Choice Honor Books, Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers


Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)