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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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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 |
Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos is a story about a boy named Jack Gantos who is looking forward to summer vacation because he has been making plans all year long. However, he gets grounded by his parents for different offenses and cannot complete his planned adventures. He finally gets let loose but has to work for his neighbor writing obituaries where he learns about the people of the town.

I like this book because it kept me laughing all through the book. I was able to be the character because of the words the author uses to portray what is happening.

I would have this book in my classroom for older elementary students for when it is fun time. I think the children would enjoy it as much as I did.
  Cecelia.McKay | Jul 11, 2014 |
I laughed a lot during this book. Jack Gantos plays himself in a novel where he can't get ungrounded and all the old people are dying. The only fun he has all summer is when he gets phone calls from Mrs. Volker telling him there is another dead Norvelter. Mrs. Volker is super old and can't write, so Jack heads down and helps her write the obituary.
  Talwold | Jun 1, 2014 |
Jack's plans for summer vacation fun are shot down when he is grounded for life by his parents. But he still ends up with plenty of excitement when his mom loans him out to an old neighbor to help her type obituaries for the founders of his small hometown of Norvelt.

I really enjoyed the blend of humor, history and drama in this book. The town of Norvelt is full of colorful, quirky characters, and as Miss Volker dictates the obituaries for those who die in the course of the story, she sprinkles in accounts of historic events that somehow connect to them, adding some life lessons into the mix as well. It definitely deserved the awards it got! ( )
  DeweyEver | Apr 21, 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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