Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How to Avoid Extinction” as Want to Read:
How to Avoid Extinction
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How to Avoid Extinction

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  384 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Since the death of his grandfather, Leo's number one chore has been to chase after his grandmother who seems to wander away from home every few days. Now, Gram's decided to roam farther than ever. And despite his misgivings, Leo's going along for the ride. With his seventeen-year-old cousin, Abbey, and an old, gassy dog named Kermit, Leo joins Gram in a big, old Buick to l ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 27th 2016 by Scholastic Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How to Avoid Extinction, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How to Avoid Extinction

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  384 ratings  ·  75 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of How to Avoid Extinction
This would make a fantastic read aloud for middle school! Funny and poignant.
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Maybe it will be a better inter-generational road trip than Cooney's Hit the Road.
It looks like the author has other books, too, that I should investigate....
Done. Fun, and lighter, not so full of itself as some 'getting to know grandma' type stories. For a younger audience, too, than, for example, Rules of the Road (which is probably the main source of the Bauer comparison). Acampora's story reads, too, like he actually took the trip, more authentic feeling. Lots of interesting bits, like t
Ms. Yingling
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Since his grandfather passed away, Leo's job is to keep track of his grandmother. She's fiesty, loves doughnuts, and has decided that for the anniversary of her husband's death, she wants to visit a dinosaur site that they were going to travel to together. She knows enough that she shouldn't go alone, so inveigles not only Leo but his cousin Abbey into going with her, since "I'm old. I'm able, and I've got an extremely high credit limit." Soon, the group ta
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.7 Stars for this read!

Who doesn't love a road trip story, especially with a wild Grandma, a crazy cousin and an old dog, being chased by a mad mom? WELL, of course, everyone loves this! HOW TO AVOID EXTINCTION is about family, love, exploration, and understanding. This middle school read is fit for adults and kids alike, it is a short and fun read.

Happy Reading!
Melanie Dulaney
When I finished this book, I announced to my husband that it was a 5. He questioned why and I told him that I cried once and laughed out loud three times. “So that’s the scorecard?” he asked. My response was that it was the sigh of satisfaction when I closed it that earned the 5 stars. After I read Paul Acampora’s acknowledgements, I got a hint about why the book evoked such a heart response—Jordan Sonnenblick is one of his encouragers and he’s another author who causes strong emotional reaction ...more
Liz Friend
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
The story: Leo's job is keeping an eye on his grandmother, who tends to wander off. So when she jumps in her old Buick and heads off to see the dinosaurs in Utah, Leo HAS to go with her. Right!?!? Here's a funny story about growing up, getting old, and getting there.

June Cleaver's ratings: Language G; Violence G; Sexual content G; Nudity G; Substance abuse G; Magic & the occult G; GLBT content G; adult themes (death of a family member, dementia) PG; overall rating PG.

Liz's comments: I really lik
Jaina Rose
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blogged
This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.

Honestly, my gut reaction when closing the book was "man, this needed to be longer!"At barely 200 pages, there didn't seem to be much room for the story to stretch as long as it needed to go. I did really like the characters and the path that they took, but I was also yearning for more.

If I'm being completely honest, actuall, I did have a little trouble with some of the characters: namely, Leo's mother and grandmother. Mainly his mother. S
Ms. Arca
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Full disclaimer- I love road trip stories. This one is a sweet Walk Two Moons -esque road trip story by the same author as I Kill the Mockingbird. It’s about a boy and his family as they get to know one another better in those ways that we often forget to in our otherwise daily lives (or try to hide/ pains we push away). I’m especially excited to rec this less stereotypically ‘actiony’ book to some of my boys. I appreciated the grappling with loss, morbidity, and the many layers in which charact ...more
Jeff Raymond
I appreciate middle grade books that take some chances. This book, however, maybe took a few too many wrong turns along the way.

The story is mostly a road trip tale, where Leo, a caretaker for his afflicted grandmother, has to go with her on her latest fling many states away. He gets on board with his cousin and they effectively drive cross country with a dog and figure out exactly what Gram needs and keep her safe along the way.

It's a strange read in some regards, but I had some personal issues
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Acampora, Paul How To Avoid Extinction, 208 pages. Scholastic, OCTOBER 2016. $17. Content: G.

Leo’s Gram has always been a handful, but even more so since his grandfather passed away. Gram gets wind that Leo’s mom is considering putting her in a home because of her shenanigans. Before that can happen, Gram coerces Leo into a cross-country trip to a remote Utah location to check out allosaurus bones, along with his cousin Abbey and Kermit, an old dog. Gram abandons the rest of the group part way t
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Josh Newhouse
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 16aug
Another fantastic read... A coming of age, cross generational road trip... I would have liked a little more resolution with the grandmother... She was at times a little flat bit o enjoyed book.

Gordon Korman would make an angry observation about one element...
Brenda Kahn
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Laugh-out-loud funny, poignant and wise. I loved the voice. There were a few holes and one or two convenient plot devices that kept me from giving it five stars. My students are not going to notice and are going to love the ride.
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Perfect read aloud book with quirky, lovable, and very funny characters. What a wild and interesting ride.
Aimée Wofford
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cute story.
Valerie McEnroe
It's Leo's responsibility to keep track of his gram. It's been almost a year since his granddad died and everyone, especially his gram, is a little bit lost without him. That's why Leo isn't too excited when his gram announces that she wants to see the allosaur bones in Utah. The problem is that they are a couple thousand miles away. But Leo knows his gram. When she gets it in her head to do something, nothing and no one is going to stop her. He grabs a few clothes then hops into his gram's yell ...more
Hannah Benke
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fiction
One of those books that wished was twice as long! It’s so good!
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
There are SO many things I loved about this book. I love the concept--that a young boy, his grieving but feisty grandma, his cool older cousin, and an elderly golden retriever are going on a roadtrip to visit dinosaurs in their late grandfather's memory. Sold! I can't wait to buy this book for my library because I think my students will enjoy it, especially those who enjoy books on the shorter side.

That being said, from my own perspective I wanted this book to have a little more substance. I fe
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-68
Leo Henderson loved his grandfather. Since Pop died a year ago the family has been at a loss. His grandmother keeps wandering off so Leo must find her. His mother is finding it difficult as she tries, perhaps a bit too hard, to keep the family on an even keel. All this causes strain and some resentment. Then Gram decides that she must get away and take the trip that she and Pop had planned. Not quite willingly Leo and his cousin Abbey literally hop in the car with her. Leo discovers more than di ...more
After Leo's grandfather dies, Leo spends much of his time trying to find and take care of his grandmother. The whole family has been hard hit by the loss and are still grieving, but grandma is having an especially difficult time as the one year anniversary approaches. Gram is determined to go to Utah to a dinosaur quarry and despite his best intentions, Leo, his cousin Abbey, her dog, and Gram all head out in the old Buick on a cross country trek.

A sweet yet funny (at times) look at loss, grievi
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Entertaining, fast-paced, and true to heart - Paul Acampora does it again. How to Avoid Extinction explores heavy issues as light as a feather - you can go there, or not. The characters, particularly Leo and Honey (my personal favs) are well developed, not a line is wasted. The chapter headings take you all over, from: A Person Wants to Know That There's a Person, to Big Bird's Evil Zombie Cousins and Other Desert Wildlife - what? Some laugh out loud moments will keep the kids reading past bedti ...more
Ruth Turner
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am a volunteer leader of a book club for adult English language learners. We have advanced to middle school books but it can be difficult to find topics of interest that are not too childish. I think this is great for the middle school group. As it dealt with family issues and had highlights of different geographical a areas of the United States, it was a good choice for this group. The book Wonder has been one of their favorites as well as Rules of the Road, Number the Stars and the 13th Gold ...more
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An amazing multi-layered book! When I first completed it, I was considering four stars, but the more it sunk in, the more amazing it became. On the surface it is a fun story of a crazy road trip with quirky characters and delightful one-liners. On another level, the reader gets to ponder extinction (dinosaur and personal) and what things should and should not be buried. Good stuff for young and old.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really loved the Mockingbird book & was really looking forward to this one. Humorous & heartwarming story of family & new friends, dinosaurs and a dog hero.
Already some funny yet poignant parts, pg 6: “missing your grandfather, being depressed, it takes a lot of time if you want to do it right.”
Pg 109 “ by then, it will be nothing but robots and cockroaches just sitting around talking about the good all days.” Talking about what might happen a million years from now.
Richard Crawford
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A good story that reminds readers that sometimes what we think might be the main thing, is actually not the main thing. Stories about travel are always some of my favorite as I have been privileged to travel a bunch in my life and look fondly on the memories I retain, but although there is a big trip in this book, it ends up being more about family and less about the trip.
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don't usually read juvenile fiction, but how to resist a book with an awesome title and a yellow 1973 Buick Electra on the cover? Adventure, interesting characters, wisdom sprinkled throughout, and excellent chapter titles. Buy it for Christmas for your middle-schooler. ...more
Gailanne Smith
Though the characters are a little exaggerated and some of their adventures are somewhat far-fetched, the message in this book about family is appealing and heartwarming. Leo is an inspiration to all kids struggling to find their voice in a world full of adults trying to speak for them.
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great! Humorous adventure story with a lot of love and some bumps in the road for Leo, his cousin, his mom, and his grandmother. A road trip helps Leo discover life’s little speed bumps while trying to find dinosaur fossils and himself.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fun to read comedy for middle grade children. Leo goes on an unexpected road trip with his grandmother and his cousin Abbey and her dog, Kermit in search of dinosaurs and the meaning of life. Together they have adventures and learn about life and each other on the way.
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this middle grade novel. I laughed out loud, shed a few tears and fondly remembered my own family’s road trips while reading about Leo, Abby and his Grandmother. Quick and easy read.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Bicycle Spy
  • Slider
  • Stef Soto, Taco Queen
  • Spirit Hunters
  • Me and Marvin Gardens
  • Garvey's Choice
  • The Harlem Charade
  • Wedgie & Gizmo
  • The Unlucky Lottery Winners of Classroom 13
  • Captain Superlative
  • Hello, Universe
  • Amina's Voice
  • Grandpa's Ha-La-Loo-YA Hambone
  • Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring
  • Sergeant Reckless: The True Story of the Little Horse Who Became a Hero
  • Grand Canyon
  • Saving Winslow
  • Watchdog
See similar books…
I was born in Bristol, Connecticut and grew up surrounded by an extended mob of parents, sister, grandparents, cousins, neighborhood kids, rabbits, dogs, nurses, engineers and others that, at various times, included musicians, Italians, Canadians, cancer survivors, gardeners, chicken killers, hair dressers, poker players, checker cheaters, pony riders, shopkeepers, factory workers, elementary sch ...more

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
4 likes · 0 comments
“Believable has nothing to do with true” 1 likes
“That's the key to happiness," Abbey declares. "Join the right circus.” 1 likes
More quotes…