Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was just so weird I had to love it. It's quirky and clever, but not quite too much. It drives me nuts when authors try so hard to be quirky that it seems condescending, and I'm apt to give books terrible reviews when they fall into the trying-too-hard, quirky-for-the-sake-of-quirky category. But this one falls just short, which is a good thing.
Jack, our protagonist (and maybe author), is a nose-bleeding nut. But he's a lovable nut that you can't help but root for as he does his best to write obituaries, befriends an elderly lady and sets out to solve the mystery of who is killing off the town's elderly, who are dropping like flies. Or maybe it's not a mystery at all, but a case of natural selection. Or accidental rat poisoning. Or Hell's Angels...
This was a short book, easy to read and well worth it. I love the semi-autobiographical, comical aspect, and the rich sense of place. Atmosphere always does it for me, and this one had it.
Recommended for: Everyone (ages 8 and up) who needs a light read.
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