EdwardHakim, December 20, 2012 (view all comments by EdwardHakim)
Dead End in Norvelt was a superb choice to take the crown of the 2012 Newberry Award. From the very beginning, Jack Gantos has the audience hooked with gory details and peculiar characters that boys and girls can fall in love with. Based on the events of Gantos’s childhood of growing up in Norvelt, Pennsylvania, this historical fiction for young adults is sure to please readers of all ages
k581, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by k581)
A fun, page turner, but reflective and political at the same time. You hear about young Jack's experiences during the summer of 1962 in the real life utopian town of Norvelt, Pennslyvania established by Eleanor Roosevelt. The town's name comes from the last 3 letters of her first name & the last 4 letters of her last name. Jack is grounded that summer(that's where the "Dead End" in the title comes from) yet still has many experiences involving deaths, poisoning, a mystery, his parent's arguments, terrible nosebleeds, helping the needy in his community and taking a plane ride. I will remember this YA book; a Newbury Award winner!
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"A bit of autobiography works its way into all of Gantos's work, but he one-ups himself in this wildly entertaining meld of truth and fiction by naming the main character... Jackie Gantos. Like the author, Jackie lives for a time in Norvelt, a real Pennsylvania town created during the Great Depression and based on the socialist idea of community farming. Presumably (hopefully?) the truth mostly ends there, because Jackie's summer of 1962 begins badly: plagued by frequent and explosive nosebleeds, Jackie is assigned to take dictation for the arthritic obituary writer, Miss Volker, and kept alarmingly busy by elderly residents dying in rapid succession. Then the Hells Angels roll in. Gore is a Gantos hallmark but the squeamish are forewarned that Jackie spends much of the book with blood pouring down his face and has a run-in with home cauterization. Gradually, Jackie learns to face death and his fears straight on while absorbing Miss Volker's theories about the importance of knowing history. 'The reason you remind yourself of the stupid stuff you've done in the past is so you don't do it again.' Memorable in every way. Ages 10 — 14. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Debut novelist Lisa Lewis Tyre vibrantly brings a small town and its outspoken characters to life, as she explores race and other community issues from both the Civil War and the present day.
Lou might be only twelve, but shes never been one to take things sitting down. So when her Civil War-era house is about to be condemned, shes determined to save it—either by getting it deemed a historic landmark or by finding the stash of gold rumored to be hidden nearby during the war. As Lou digs into the past, her eyes are opened when she finds that her ancestors ran the gamut of slave owners, renegades, thieves and abolitionists. Meanwhile, some incidents in her town show her that many Civil War era prejudices still survive and that the past can keep repeating itself if we let it. Digging into her past shows Lou that its never too late to fight injustice, and she starts to see the real value of understanding and exploring her roots.
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 fiesty 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 launced 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.
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