For lively summer reading try Dead End in Norvelt
Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos is a rare gem of a book that's full of opposites. It's based on Jack's real life, he uses his real name and sets the story in the town he really grew up in—but it's pure fun fiction. It's hugely ambitious, full of information about historical facts about the history of the world—but it the tone is easy to tear through at a rapid pace. It takes place in 1962—but it's as spirited as any book today. It's about a boy who's grounded all summer—but it involves Hell's Angels, dead old ladies dying like flies (and mice dying too, as well as a dead deer and a few other dead things), murder accusations, Japanese samurai swords, houses being shipped off on trucks, open-air airplanes, and a bunch of other wild and wacky people and things. Don't they say opposite attract? This set of opposites will attract 10-12-year-old kids to their e-readers.
The book begins with a stirring scene in which Jack shoots off a WWII rifle into the house of his elderly neighbor. Next scene, we see Jack in this elderly woman's house, boiling her own arms in a pot of hot water. Sounds zany? It is. But it all makes sense. And it makes for great reading.
Ideal for middle school readers, this story will be appreciated by both girls and boys. A must for the summer reading list.