Book reviews of YA lit and more

As a middle school librarian and hopeful reader of Missouri's high school award books (Gateway nominees), I am reading and reviewing as many young adult and middle grade novels as I can while working on my own writing for this age group.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dead End in Norvelt- Jack Gantos

This book won the 2012 Newbery medal, and as usual I hadn't read it yet, but had to put it on hold at the library as soon as I heard it won.  I'm so glad I did!  This book is the mostly true, but probably some fictional, story of Jack Gantos during a summer of his life where he gets grounded and as punishment has to help an elderly neighbor write obituaries of the dying original members of the town.  Being a person that find obituaries themselves fascinating, I was intrigued by this "punishment".  Through these obituary writings Jack is lead on one adventure after another in this small, somewhat dying town.  Everything from the Hell's Angels to a possible murder colors his odd, but interesting, summer.  The young teenage boy voice is dead on in this book (I guess I can say that although I have never been a young teenage boy).  I read an excerpt where he goes deer hunting with his dad to my own son and we both laughed so hard we had tears.  I would highly recommend this book to any upper elementary/middle school kid.  The boys will love the main character, but I also think girls would get a kick out of it.  Great choice for the Newbery this year!

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