Rave Reviews Log: Historical Fiction

December 31, 2011

Dead End in Norvelt

By Jack Gantos
Era: 1962 America
Rating: 4 1/4 stars

Jack lives in the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, founded by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1962.  After he mows down his mom's cornfield (don't ask!), Jack is grounded for the summer.  His only escape is to go to help Miss Volker, his elderly neighbor, write obituaries for the town paper since her hands have become too arthritic.  But as the last remaining original inhabitants die off, it begins to seem rather suspicious--can murder be involved?  There are lots of laugh out loud moments in the story, including grown men on tricycles, an endless bloody nose, a motorcycle gang and many more.  Jack learns more about both the history of the world and the history of Norvelt as he follows the townspeople to death's door.  You wouldn't think it would be so funny, but it is.  Any reader with a slightly twisted sense of humor and fans of Richard Peck books will love this one.


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