Joey lived with his grandmother from the time he was in Kindergarten to the summer before fourth grade. Joey's father ran off and his mother ran after him, so Joey was left with his mentally ill grandmother. When Joey's mother comes back, his grandmother goes to live with his father. Unfortunately his mother often drinks to escape her problems. Joey has ADHD and is constantly in trouble at school and finally because of his antics he is put in the special education classroom. Joey is on medication for ADHD, but his medicine does not often work. When Joey swallows his house key twice at school and also injures a fellow classmate, he is sent to a school for children who need extra care and attention. If Joey wants to get his life back on track, he will have to learn to control his hyperactivity and deal with his past.
Wow there are so many problems that Joey faces and it at times seems a bit overwhelming to read about them all. However many children deal with issues similar to Joey's and this is a great read for special education teachers and those who teach children who have behavioral difficulties. This could also work as a classroom read.
Gantos has a very entertaining style to his writing and you can't help but chuckle at some of Joey's antics and responses. Joey is a likeable character and you want him to succeed. 3.5 cups of cocoa.