Monday, November 16, 2015
Dead End in Norvelt
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011
Audience: Children, Younger Teens
Dead End in Norvelt is the winner of the 2012 Newbery Medal for the year's best contribution to children's literature and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction!
Melding the entirely true and the wildly fictional, Dead End in Norvelt is a novel about an incredible two months for a kid named Jack Gantos, whose plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is "grounded for life" by his feuding parents, and whose nose spews bad blood at every little shock he gets.
But plenty of excitement (and shocks) are coming Jack's way once his mom loans him out to help a feisty old neighbor with a most unusual chore—typewriting obituaries filled with stories about the people who founded his Utopian town. As one obituary leads to another, Jack is launched on a strange adventure involving molten wax, Eleanor Roosevelt, twisted promises, a homemade airplane, Girl Scout cookies, a man on a trike, a dancing plague, voices from the past, Hells Angels . . . and possibly murder.
Endlessly surprising, this sly, sharp-edged narrative is the author at his very best, making readers laugh out loud at the most unexpected things in a dead-funny depiction of growing up in a slightly off-kilter place where the past is present, the present is confusing, and the future is completely up in the air.
Well, this was boring. I think I would have absolutely loved Dead End in Norvelt if I was a 60-year-old man. But I’m not, so I didn’t. Everything seemed random and nothing tied together at the end, really. Then *SURPRISE* a murder mystery that you didn’t even know you were reading was SOLVED at the end. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why it won the Newbery. It was well-written (just boring.) In other words, it just wasn’t a good book for me.