Andrea's Reviews > Squashed

Squashed by Joan Bauer
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Nov 01, 11

bookshelves: contemporary-realistic-fiction
Read in October, 2011

** spoiler alert ** This book involved a likable adolescent girl, Ellie, who faced a pumpkin growing contest, love, family issues, and difficult with her weight. Ellie's family comes from farmers, with the exception of her un-supportive father who would rather her spend time being active or with her peers instead of nurturing a 600 pound pumpkin. Initially this didn't look like the type of book I would enjoy; however, I soon realized that Ellie was more then just a pumpkin-grower. She was dealing with a great deal of very relate-able issues, which middle school girls would love!

This book contained characters that were extremely realistic. Although I don't share her love for pumpkins, she demonstrated a typically teenage girl struggling with (as my students would say) "a million things at once". Ellie took over the motherly role in her family when her real mother died, and continued to take care of her father, the motivational speaker who was frequently working. In addition, the setting was very realistic. I believed the details Bauer used to describe this small town. The series of events is plausible, and much of the happenings seem typical of everyday life (again, with the exception of the pumpkin growing, which gives the reader an insight into an interesting passion many may not have experienced before). The plot line and obstacles the characters have to face are interesting, and the book resolves in a realistic solution.

Bauer's book does not necessarily fit into one category of realistic fiction, but many including self-discovery, family, interpersonal relationships, school, sports, nature, romance, and moral dilemmas. These categories also represent various themes prevalent in the book.
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