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Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
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Dead End in Norvelt (2011)

by Jack Gantos

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Read a review of the audiobook version of this 2012 Newbery Medalist here: http://rdg301library.blogspot.com/2012/10/2012-newbery-medalist.html.
  rdg301library | May 24, 2015 |
This book wasn't bad, per se, but I'm not sure I feel comfortable calling it good, either. I generally enjoy stories that revolve around slight off-center small towns that seem to have their own rules for reality, but this story of a summer in Norvelt just fell flat for me. Between the mysterious deaths of old ladies, the selling of houses to be shipped off to another town, Jack's perpetual groundings for things that weren't really his fault, and the weird Hell's Angels subplots, there was just too much going on and too many loose threads still dangling by the end of the book. In its semi-autobiographical wackiness, I felt that the events were too out there to be considered as reality, but not over-the-top enough to be charmingly kooky. ( )
  photonegative | Apr 14, 2015 |
This book wasn't bad, per se, but I'm not sure I feel comfortable calling it good, either. I generally enjoy stories that revolve around slight off-center small towns that seem to have their own rules for reality, but this story of a summer in Norvelt just fell flat for me. Between the mysterious deaths of old ladies, the selling of houses to be shipped off to another town, Jack's perpetual groundings for things that weren't really his fault, and the weird Hell's Angels subplots, there was just too much going on and too many loose threads still dangling by the end of the book. In its semi-autobiographical wackiness, I felt that the events were too out there to be considered as reality, but not over-the-top enough to be charmingly kooky. ( )
  photonegative | Apr 14, 2015 |
Jack Gantos was only eleven when he’s grounded for an entire summer, but with it comes the most exciting thing he’ll ever experience, and you’ll never expect it. Dead End in Norvelt is a realistic fiction book written by Jack Gantos, who happened to have named the main character after himself.Jack was playing with his father’s rifle when he accidentally fires it, but what’s really interesting yet riddling, is that there was a bullet in the gun, yet he never loaded it. He is then grounded and forced to work for Mrs. Volker, his elderly neighbor. Through the summer he must try to keep out of trouble, keep up his work for Mrs. Volker, help his father build an airplane and launch pad, and solve the mystery of why the old ladies in his town continue to drop like flies, and the only evidence is his mother’s donated casseroles. It gets a little deeper than that though once he finds out exactly why who did it, did it.

The target audience is around eight years old to thirteen years old, anyone younger wouldn’t understand the slightly larger words and anyone older wouldn’t bother. It was quite interesting, it reeled me in as soon as I realized that these old ladies all dying at the same time was no coincidence and that someone was purposely murdering these ladies. The reason at the end was almost perfect, really, and wrapped up a feud between two characters, while also leading way for a sequel which had already come out by the time I had started to read it. Overall, the book held quite a few plot points I ( )
  IrWe14 | Jan 20, 2015 |
(6.0)
  mshampson | Oct 15, 2014 |
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For Anne and Mabel
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School was finally out and I was standing on a picnic table in our backyard getting ready for a great summer vacation when my mother walked up to me and ruined it.
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But church had a different kind of math.  You could never be sure what anything added up to, which meant that what was in your imagination while sitting in a pew was just as important as what the preacher was saying--maybe even more important. It's like when you read a book and you know that the words are important, but the images blossoming in your imagination are even more important because it's your mind that allows the words to come to life.
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In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses.… (more)

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