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3.90  ·  Rating details ·  2,231 ratings  ·  333 reviews
Dewey Marriss is stuck in the middle of a crunch.

He never guessed that the gas pumps would run dry the same week he promised to manage the family's bicycle-repair business. Suddenly everyone needs a bike. And nobody wants to wait.

Meanwhile, the crunch has stranded Dewey's parents far up north with an empty fuel tank and no way home. It's up to Dewey and his older sister, L
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by Katherine Tegen Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Miriam The story itself isn't real, but the gas crunch of the 70's is. …moreThe story itself isn't real, but the gas crunch of the 70's is. (less)

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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,231 ratings  ·  333 reviews

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Feb 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Leslie Connor forgive me; I sometimes forget how awesome you are. It's nice to rely on an author. To know that you can trust them to write book after book that isn't crap. That's true on the adult side of things, but I feel it's particularly important to remind folks of this on the children's literary side as well. When a parent or a teacher or a librarian discovers a writer that fills a gap in their collection and fills it well, they're allowed to go a little nuts. I went a little nuts when I r ...more
Corinne Edwards
What if gasoline ran out? I mean RAN OUT? As in, you are stuck where ever your last tank took you? This is what happened to Dew's parents, and suddenly he and his siblings are on their own for the foreseeable future in a world where cars can no longer take you where you need to go.

Luckily, they are a resourceful bunch - and Dew and his brother happen to have a knack for fixing bikes. In a world where cars are useless, bikes very quickly become a hot commodity. Between keeping the house running w
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
I truly enjoyed this book. Connor has created a very love-able character in Dewey. Dewey's not perfect but he's hard working and learns from his mistakes. The characters in Crunch are quirky and humorous providing for a fun read about a serious situation. I doubt that people in real life would adapt to gas pumps running dry as well as the characters in this book. However, one can hope.

I have to admit that I did find Dewey's older sister Lil, to be rather bossy and somewhat annoying. Poor Dewey w
Richie Partington
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, box3
25 January 2010 CRUNCH by Leslie Connor, HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, Earth Day, 2010, 336p., ISBN: 978-0-06-169229-1

"Change it had to come
We knew it all along"
-- The Who, "Won't Get Fooled Again"

"The cost of making provision for rapid transit would, in 1955, be minimal in terms of the expressway's over-all cost: acquiring 240 feet of land instead of 200 feet and building heavier foundations would cost, for the whole eighty-five-mile length of the expressway, perhaps an extra $20,000,0
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a good book, with an interesting premise: the gas shortage has turned into a complete unavailability of gasoline. So bicycles are now the chief mode of transportation and the bike repair business is booming. But the parents are stuck away from home, so the kids have to manage on their own - with the help of the community.

I am always struck by the ways especially American authors seem to find ways to get rid of the parents so that the kids have agency on their own. I would have bet that
Ms. Yingling
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Of all the things I read over break, this was my favorite. Dewey's father is a trucker, and his mother goes once a year with him to celebrate their anniversary, leaving Dewey and his two older and two younger brothers and sisters on their own. The family also runs a bike repair business. When there is suddenly no fuel available anywhere, the mother and father get stuck in Canada, and the bike repair business really takes off. With the help of caring neighbors and friends, as well as a young man ...more
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed so many things about this book - the whole idea of gas running out and everyone having to walk or bike really intrigued me. What would we do in "the crunch"? I thoroughly enjoyed the characters as well. Dewey Marriss is a young teen trying to run a bike shop while his mom and dad are stuck and can not get home because there is no gasoline. Dewey is clever and innovative - he is a true problem solver! I loved his spirit and his attitude - I think our young readers will enjoy this book. ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Why isn't this tagged more often as SF? It's totally What If we actually ran out of gasoline & diesel, to the point at which adults are separated from their minor children? My Sense of Wonder is piqued. I wish it were bedtime so I could curl up and finish this, instead of still doing evening chores....

Finished. Good book. Not perfect, because a little too optimistic even for a kids' book, but good enough that I'll consider more by the author.

Main takeaways: learn more skills, and learn to get a
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm not much of a middle grade reader, but I saw the author at a conference and wanted to try one of her books. This was extremely engaging. I loved the solution - it wasn't too convenient or obvious. ...more
Sep 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juv
While the fuel shortage premise might make this sound like a story that grapples with political and environmental issues, all of that takes a back seat to the story of how one family of kids manages on their own for a summer. With their parents stuck out of town without a way to get home, the kids have to decide how much responsibility to shoulder and how much they should "be the parents" (as Dewey and Lil say to each other). Throw in a little bit of a mystery, a cranky next-door neighbor, and a ...more
May 23, 2010 rated it liked it
I probably would have given this a 3.5 if that were an option. The basic plot of this book is that the five kids in the Marriss family (ranging in age from 5 to 18) are left home while their parents are away for an anniversary/work trip (their dad is a truck driver and their mom goes with him for a week-long trip). While their parents are gone, the gasoline supply becomes non-existent keeping the parents away from home even longer. Bikes become the main source of transportation for the family as ...more
Oct 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Blog Review:

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Audience: Middle Grade/Tween
Genres: Realistic Fiction, Mystery, Humor

Summary: With his parents stranded on the highway by a gas shortage, it is up to 14-year-old Dewey to keep the family bike repair business under control. But with cars out of commission and an influx of damaged bicycles, things get a little out of hand. Especially when items begin to mysteriously disappear from the shop. Plus, Dewey has to help his older si
Rebecca  Yao
May 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Dewey Marriss is stuck. No one would have guessed that the oil wells
would run dry the week his parents went on their annual anniversary
trip. Now Dewey is stuck in the middle of the crunch, managing his
families small bike shop. And with no fuel everyone is on their bike
and is having problems. To add to that, he and his older sister Lil
have to watch after their younger siblings. Week after week the Bike
Barn becomes more and more crowded, and Dewey becomes aware that bike
parts are being stolen. Wit
May 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: booktalkers
Very timely. The pumps run dry at the beginning of the summer stranding Dewey's parents up in Maine with an empty fuel tank and no easy way to get home. Fortunately, the family fixes bikes on the side and suddenly people are beating a path to their door as bikes become a popular form of transportation; imagine bikes and pedestrians using the interstate. Dewey does his best to keep up with the demand for repairs but it starts to overwhelm him. Meanwhile, parts are disappearing from the workshop, ...more
Jul 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Fourteen-year-old Dewey and his four siblings make do at home while their traveling parents are stuck far away due to a sudden, total fuel crisis. Eighteen-year-old artist Lil bears responsibility fairly well, even while managing to create an ambitious mural on the barn. Dewey and brother Vince handle the goat milking, egg collecting, and the family's modest bike repair shop located in the barn, while they all manage the five-year-old twins.

I love the hobby farm setting in this timely story. An
Feb 07, 2012 rated it liked it
I thought that the premise of this book was so clever - all of the gas pumps in the Northeastern U.S. are dry and those wishing for transportation must resort to walking or riding a bike. The visual imagery of highways abandoned by cars and trucks are now filled with orderly rows of pedestrians and cyclists; hence, the "Crunch". I enjoyed the ingenuity of Dewey Mariss and his siblings, living off their land, so to speak, having plenty of garden vegetables, fresh eggs and goat's milk to make due ...more
Dec 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: middle graders
Five kids on their own after global oil shortage strands their parents two states away. Their little family bike repair shop is suddenly swamped with bikes to work on in this post oil world. Bikes take over the highway! (which is why I couldn't really file this one under dystopia). Yay! lots of talk of bike repair.

Ok, by 'kids' I should clarify the oldest sister is 18 and the Marriss kids are a pretty capable lot. They aren't homeschooled but the way they pitch together and tackle things confide
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
When the Marriss family is separated by a modern day gas crunch, the oldest of five children must "be the parents" while mom and dad are stranded on the other side of the country. Lil, at eighteen, does a fair job of being mommy to the five-year-old twins while fourteen-year-old Dew and his mechanical genius brother Vince run the family bike repair shop. It isn't long, however, before Dew and Vince begin to feel overwhelmed. After all, when there is no gasoline at the pumps, what are people goin ...more
Jan 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
Just when Dewy a 14 year old boy tells his parents he will be in charge of the Bike shop that his father runs his parents are stuck in a "crunch". There is no diesel fuel and everything is being rationed. His parents are stuck up north far from home. Dewy and his older sister Lil are in charge of taking care of their 5 year old twin siblings plus keeping everything afloat on the homefront. The bike shop becomes busier than ever and Dewy does not want to disappoint anyone and tries to do it all w ...more
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was about the kids are in a bike shop and they have to repaire bikes and sell bike and repaint them they try hard they suck seed on what they do. they where alone with there grandparent and there mom and are at a diffrent place and they or might not make it to where there kids are because all the gas stations have no more gas because of the health enspecter because they did not keep things clean and sanatized.The main charecter in lil and he is in charge of the bike shop. On of the guy ...more
Debbie McNeil
Nov 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Interesting premise, too wordy for ele., too slow for middle. Do authors give ANY thought to intended audience?????
May 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Aside from being a great family story and an interesting sort of gentle dystopia, this really made me want to pull my bike out of the spare room and get back to riding.
Angela Kidd Shinozaki
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great on audio. The image of an autoless highway teamed with bikes and walkers sticks in my head.
Mason Smith
It was a great book, i loved it!!
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tween
Recommended by Sherry.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
While I can't say this is a book I'll ever read again, I will say it was an interesting read.

The plot and setting threw me off at the beginning. Since there hasn't been a "crunch" since the '70s, it took me a while to determine whether this was a historical fiction or modern day story. Since the family ran a business from their barn, grew and canned their own food, and had chickens and goats for food, I could easily see this having been set several decades back. (I'm not saying that just because
Melanie Dulaney
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is really a 4 1/2 star book for me. Leslie Connor's Marriss family feels so real that I was right in the middle of their crunch-time, willing them to get through all the obstacles that life was throwing at them. Lil, Dewey, Vince, Eva and Angus are supposed to have two parents taking charge of all life's decisions, but mom and dad went on a short anniversary trip that has turned long due to the sudden and complete unavailability of fuel. So now Lil, as the eldest, has the command position, ...more
Nancy Kotkin
Dystopian middle grade novel about an oil/fuel shortage. This book manages to foreshadow a likely future while simultaneously remembering an actual past. With his parents stranded and everyone turning to bicycles for their main mode of transportation, 14-yr-old Dewey is determined to keep his family's formerly-side business going.

The middle of the novel is fueled by a mystery, which fits in seamlessly. Several red-herring suspects will have readers debating the outcome and flying through the pag
Philip Guzman
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've taken to reading some great YA books with our son. For my tastes, Leslie Conner is one of the best YA writers out there. The stories (and character development!) are deep and interesting. Much for a youth and adult to take and talk about after reading. In this edition, a group of kids must adjust to having their parents away from home as a result of a gas shortage that has taken the country by surprise. . . The central character, Dewey Marriss, has the responsibility of operating his dad's ...more
Cameron Daley
May 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
My family made me stop reading it to them. It's sort of a "day in the life" kind of book based on a very boring life. We made it almost halfway through, waiting for some sort of cool or interesting plot twist... but there wasn't one. Just day to day living. Plus, there are so many characters. I did my best to have 15 distinct voices, but it was pretty tough. Anyway, my family threatened to boycott our nighttime ritual of me reading aloud if I didn't pick another book. ...more
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From the author's website:

My life began suddenly (you can even ask my mother) in an antique farmhouse outside of Cleveland, Ohio. I was born right on the family room floor ~ no time to get to the hospital! I swear, I’ve been in a hurry ever since.

When I was in fourth grade we moved to a neighborhood full of kids outside of Schenectady, New York. My Dad worked for a company that sold some of the fi

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