Cecilia's Reviews > Ten Miles Past Normal

Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell
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's review
Mar 05, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: blue-covers, green-covers
Read in March, 2011

Ten Miles Past Normal is one of those books where I got really sad when the last page came and had to leave all these interesting characters behind! This is definitely a book for anyone who went through high school feeling out of place but - hopefully, eventually, unexpectedly, happily - found a niche to call their own.

Janie was such an excellent character! She was funny, easy to relate with, creative, level-headed, endearing, and when she finally found her groove in high school, Janie definitely became a rockstar - or she definitely had the makings of one (I say that because the ending really leaves it up in the air). Her family were interesting, her new friends were interesting, her best friend was interesting - seriously, Frances O'Roark Dowell has brought to life such fascinating characters that I wish they had gone to MY high school.

What's unusual is that there really isn't any major romance arc. I say "unusual" because I like to have a little romance to further whet my curiosity. While I kept my eye out for one and thought there could have been one, Ten Miles Past Normal didn't need one. Janie didn't really need a guy. I didn't really need the romance to drive a story. The characters, like I said, really took off with the story and I gladly followed their lead! It was refreshing, truth be told, to see how Janie carved her own place in the world, without the support of a love interest and the distracting desire to have one.

A really great contemporary, Ten Miles Past Normal delighted me with its larger-than-life characters and brought back fond memories of me not being normal during high school.

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