Cover Image: The Decomposition of Jack

The Decomposition of Jack

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The Decomposition of Jack is a great story. I think the author did a wonderful job at showing how Jack learned to deal with his parent's divorce and the tough job of middle school, and it's bullies. I loved that the author includes her Author's Note: I'm a Cougar Truther at the end of the book.

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This was a cute middle grade book. It’s defiantly not for the weak stomach. I did enjoy the character arch of a child moving through a divorce. The metaphors comparing what is going on in Jack’s brain to the decomposition of animals is very original. I know there are many kids who can relate and might feel a good connection with Jack and his situation.

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This is a voicegalley so I cannot comment on the final audiobook or the narrator's abilities.

At four hours long, this was a quick, short audiobook. I really enjoyed the story. We follow Jack, who helps his mother with her decomposition research from scraping up road kill to following it's decay in their body farm. At first, I wasn't sure how the title was going to relate to the book as Jack is alive but the author did a good job tying the two together by having Jack relate everything he experiences to the five stages of decomposition.

I would recommend this book, Jack does a great job of working through his issues and sharing his feelings by the end of the book.

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Jack is a likable kid but having a mom who studies decomposition for a living can make it hard to be popular.

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I just finished THE DECOMPOSITION OF JACK by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb and loved it. I don't know how she did it, but Kristen wove together the grossness of decomposing roadkill with the sweet love that both Jack and his mom have for animals and created a story that made me laugh, worry, and hold my breath. There were some very intense scenes until I knew what was going to happen. Jack is an awesome narrator, and the other kids in the book are just delightful characters. Friendship is a really nice thread running through the story. It's worth reading just for Jack's science presentation. It honestly blew me away.

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My son rated this 3 stars becasue it made him sad that Jack got bullied. also the synthetic voice was hard to listen too.

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Jack is known at the Roadkill Kid. His mother is a scientist who studies roadkill. Yes, there really are scientists who study this. It’s an important science that can guide decisions, such as the placement of wildlife crossings, which increase safety for both humans and animals.

Jack and his mother collect road-killed animals and bring them to their huge yard, where they document the stages of decomposition of the carcasses. Jack assists his mother with data collection because his parents recently got divorced and his mother needs to keep her research grant. For a school project, Jack must pick an animal and give a presentation on it. He recently became interested in cougars after finding a 4-inch footprint near his fence and seeing what he thought was a large cat.

School life can be difficult for a kid known as the Roadkill Kid, so some of the story deals with how he interacts with a bully at school, as well as with his best friend, who draws zombie cartoons. There is also a girl he really likes, Zoe. As he learns more about cougars, he finds more clues to the presence of one near his home, a tuft of fur, a deer carcass dragged to the fence, a buried scat, claw marks on a tree. He wants a trail camera so he can try to photograph the mystery cat.

The theme of decomposition is used throughout the book. Jack compares his interactions with others to the stages of decomposition. He is having some difficulty adjusting to the separation of his parents, and thoughts of failing science class at school.

I loved how they named the carcasses and used the names on the data sheets. I also thought the elements of the cougar sighting and documentation were well-done. Cougars are not native in the state, but some have moved through there and have been documented, so the information presented is accurate. The tracks and sign that Jack finds are also accurate, which I can attest to as a professional tracker. The only thing is that a female cougar would have a track smaller than 4 inches. It would be 3 inches or a bit more. But, that’s no big deal. The other signs were described accurately, and I liked how the author presented them one at a time, as would happen if one was looking for evidence of the animal in real life.

I also enjoyed Jack’s presentation, and the style he chose for it was just great. The story was well-done and explores multiple themes. It should appeal to young adult readers. I think it’s great to depict a young adult interested in science and wildlife. We need more students to enter those career fields. This book is fantastic, and I recommend it. Five stars!

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I really enjoyed this book. Jack is a typically middle school boy dealing with a mother who has an unusual job. He needs to help her as much as possible so she can rebuild her experiments since his dad left. On top of this, Jack believes he spotted a Cougar in his backyard. He decides to use this as his topic for his research project. The pressure of being the Roadkill kid, his mom's co-scientist, and completing his project on time my just be too much for him.

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Jack knows a lot about science. His parents are scientists, and they have involved him in their research. It happens that their research involved collecting roadkill and noting the stages of decomposition in their backyard. But since his dad moved out. he’s having to pick up some of the slack on the data collection. When he is out with his mother and they come across an animal in the road, his mother stops, and Jack has the choice of diverting the traffic or scooping their latest treasure.

He loves his mother, and he wants to help her since his dad left so suddenly, and they used to work together on the research. But he also has to do his schoolwork, and his best friend Andre wants his opinions on the zombie comics he draws. He has a crush on Zoe in his Algebra and Earth Science classes. And he thinks he saw a cougar out back.

Cougars used to live in Tennessee, but they’re been labeled extinct in the state. So Jack isn’t sure at first. But he chooses to do his Earth Science project on cougars, so he does some more research. It turns out that he is not the only one to claim to see a cougar in Tennessee, so he keeps his eyes open and his phone ready.

In the meantime, he deals with the pressure of school, where some of his classmates call him names like The Roadkill Kid or Jack the Ripper. He struggling in Earth Science, which he feels really bad about, since both of his parents are scientists. But they haven’t been paying that much attention to him lately. He hardly talks to his dad anymore, just gets a random text at unfortunate times (like, the middle of science class). And his mother is caught up in her research, knowing that the grant that she depends on is based on this research.

But as the pressure on Jack intensifies, and his parents don’t seem to be paying attention, Jack is getting angry. He doesn’t want to listen to the adults anymore. He doesn’t want to have to act like an adult anymore. He wants to be a kid. Instead, he feels like he’s decomposing. It will take all his courage to tell his parents how he’s feeling and to stand up for the cougar he knows is out there, but if can do that, maybe he can even find a way to pass his science class and get the girl.

The Decomposition of Jack is the latest middle grade fiction book from award-winning author Kristin O’Donnell Tubb. It’s the perfect book for kids interested in science, particularly biology and chemistry. There is a lot of talk of the science of decomposition, with Jack making it really clear what happens to the animals as they break down. It’s a good lesson for science kids, but it can be a little difficult to hear about, so sensitive readers may want to be careful. There is some extra information at the end of the story about those who collect roadkill and use it for research, for art, for composting, and for food, as well as ways to find out more about the cougars living in Tennessee.

I am not a biology lover, so some of the descriptions were a just a little over the top for me. I chose this book to see how Jack dealt with the way his parents were acting. And I really did enjoy that part of the book. Jack is a good character, smart and funny and self-aware. This is a good story, with a good heart, and I think kids will really enjoy it, even with all the grossness (or maybe, for some, because of it). Get this one for your science-loving kids, and they will thank you for it.

Voice Galleys for The Decomposition of Jack were provided by Harper Audio through NetGalley, with many thanks.

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Jack's mom researches roadkill for a living, hence his nickname at school: Roadkill Kid. The whole business is pretty gross and embarrassing, but Jack has developed a hard stomach. Who else is going to help Mom now that Dad has left? But Jack's latest school assignment has him really stumped: he has to write a report about an animal native to Tennessee. He knows a lot about dead animals, but can he find enough information about the supposedly extinct cougar he's seen in the backyard to make people see?

The theme of roadkill is really strong in this book; in fact, if you don't like graphic descriptions of dead animals, I can't say I recommend this book. However, if you, like Jack, have a strong stomach, this book has a unique take on what it means to be seen, particularly as the kid in the middle of his parents' divorce. I like the characters and the subplots (well done!). This book showcases the perception and wit that I've come to expect from Kristin O'Donnel Tubb. I'm a little worried the entrails will be a turnoff to a lot of readers.

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for this ARC. All opinions are my own.

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This was such a great middle grade read! If you're a fan of Carl Hiaasen's middle grade novels, like Hoot or Scat, you would like this one. Jack was such a great character and I loved seeing the world through his eyes.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I LOVED this novel! I loved it so much that I convinced my biology teacher at my new school to teach this one second semester next year because I think it has so many valuable lessons for life and death and science.

Jack is sort of a social pariah at school. He is known as the road kill kid. His mom and dad are both research scientists who are obsessed with the cycle of life and death. Even though they have divorced, his mom still carries on with the research she needs to do to complete her grant. This means they frequently stop while driving so that Jack can either put down cones and direct traffic or scrap road kill off the pavement. Jack has mixed feelings about everything. Middle school is hard enough, but it gets harder when your family has gained a reputation for collecting dead things. To make matters worse, Jack is failing science and his mom shows up as a guest speaker one day - to his science class.

What I loved most:
The depiction of the life cycle
The factual information included in the novel during the novel and at the end for further research
The school project - I like how Jack presented his information on cougars
The science
The realism: Jack is struggling with a divorce
I have never read a novel with road kill in it that I liked before this one

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The Decomposition of Jack is a great story. I think the author did a wonderful job at showing how Jack learned to deal with his parent's divorce and the tough job of middle school, and it's bullies.

I loved that the author includes her Author's Note: I'm a Cougar Truther at the end of the book. It contains a lot of facts that I found very interesting.

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for the ebook and audiobook. I enjoyed reading and listening to each version.

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As a child of divorce, Jack has—and shares—understandable feelings about his parents, himself, and their family relationships. Jack and his friends are believably portrayed as smart, curious, kind, and fun. Jack is torn between his desire to be a kid, playing with friends, and his feelings of responsibility to be a helper to his mom, with whom he lives. This seems a good length and pace for a middle grade book (spoken by someone whose children, even, are well past the target audience).

Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Audio for making this voicegalley (not human-narrated audiobook) ARC of the book available in exchange for an honest review. Publication is expected October 11.

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I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with an ARC.

I enjoyed this book and thought it had some great commentary on divorce, grief, and communicating what you need. Jack is struggling with his parents' divorce, being known as the roadkill kid, and struggling in science. There is some gross humor that a younger audience would love. Jack is wonderfully developed as a character, and I loved seeing him grow and develop. His mother is also very well developed. The end note also provides some great information on the study of roadkill. I would highly recommend this book.

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The author beautifully layers grief and the importance of letting go and being heard and seen in a novel about a boy who has a mother who studies the decomposing animals who have been killed by cars. This doesn’t make it easy for him at school where there are the students who call him names and label him a weirdo, and his father is has left. I fell in love with this book as I laughed, cried and occasionally grimaced during the data gathering sessions from the decomposing animals. I will be purchasing for my library and also recommending it to our science teacher.

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Now here's a book centered on a topic most people veer away from--roadkill. I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of content, but Kristin O'Donnel Tubb balances this squeamish subject with an authentic middle grade story. The main character, Jack, is struggling with numerous social issues as well as a change in his family dynamic. Jack is his mom's assistant in clearing roadkill and then studying/documenting the roadkill once it's back at their home. Therefore he has to contend with his peers calling him names in regard to this work. Even though Jack is embarrassed by his mom's passion for roadkill research, he realizes over the course of the book that he, too, is awed by nature in all its stages including decomposition. Jack finds allies at both school and home who help him stand tall as he defends his and his family's beliefs. I also have to note that there were many witty remarks in this book that made me laugh out loud as I listened to the audiobook.

I appreciated the author's note at the end of the story. There are an estimated one million daily roadkill incidents across our country. Tubb enlightens the reader about the devastating effects for both the animal and human population with this high number of casualties. I believe this factual addition will help middle grade readers move from solely finishing an entertaining book to having empathy for roadkill and being a steward for the animal population and our earth.

4.5 stars for a fabulous tale on a new subject with a boy protagonist. Special thanks to HarperCollins and NetGalley for the audio ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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VoiceGalley Review - This is an interesting an quirky middle grade read. Middle School is tough for everyone, but it is even tougher when your classmates dub you the Roadkill Kid. This book will leave readers looking at roadkill in a very different way. This title likely wont be a favorite with everyone, but is likely to find its audience among middle grade readers.

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