Ms. B's Reviews > Dead End in Norvelt

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
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's review
Feb 04, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: 2012, newbery, humor, historical, ya, o-dell
Read in February, 2012

What would it be like to grow up in the early 1960s in a small town whose population is declining?
The town is Norvelt, Pennsylvania, a real town whose population in 2000 was 1,682 when counted with the nearby town of Calumet for census purposes. The main character is a twelve-year-old boy, Jack Gantos, who has been grounded for the summer. That's not Jack's only problem. He gets bloody noses almost daily. He has a couple loony toons for parents. He's helping an older woman with arthritis write obituaries for the local paper (it's the only way his mother lets him escape his prison at home).
I liked Richard Peck's A Year Down Yonder which takes place in the 1930s and has similar characters much better. If the Newbery committee wanted to give the medal to a humorous story set in the 1960s with a boy protagonist, I would have preferred Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt. What I am really wondering is what young readers think of this one.

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02/03 marked as: read

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