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The Key that Swallowed Joey Pigza

On Sale 9/2/14

by Jack Gantos

The fifth and final book in the groundbreaking Joey Pigza series brings the beloved chronicle of this wired, wacky, and wonderful boy to a crescendo of chaos and craziness, as everything goes topsy-turvy for Joey just as he starts to get his feet on the ground. With his dad MIA in the wake of appearance-altering plastic surgery, Joey must give up school to look after his new baby brother and fill in for his mom, who hospitalizes herself to deal with a bad case of postpartum blues. As his challenges mount, Joey discovers a key that could unlock the secrets to his father’s whereabouts, a mystery that must be solved before Joey can even hope that his broken family might somehow come back together—if only it doesn’t pull him apart first.


  • * Joey takes on his toughest set of challenges yet in this heart-rending, triumphant series finale . . . Dark, funny and pawzzz-i-tively brilliant.
    — Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
  • * Readers . . . will appreciate the irony and emotional punch of his final triumph . . . Groundbreaking, heartbreaking.
    — School LIbrary Journal, STARRED REVIEW
  • * Collectively, the Pigza series is a poignant examination of modern dysfunction, a window into how kids in tough family situations come to believe they are damaged and incapable of redemption.
    — Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
  • * Readers of all ages are going to cheer Joey on as he heroically deals with one over-the-top situation after another. By the time this final book of the series—as elegantly and propulsively written as the others—draws to a close, you know that no matter what the future holds, Joey’s inner strength and smart, sweet nature will prevail.
    — The Horn Book, STARRED REVIEW
  • * Features all of the drama, havoc, and heart readers have come to expect, dread, and love . . . Fans of all ages will want to grab their copies as soon as possible.
    — Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

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