Dead End in Norvelt*

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

Dead End in Norvelt won the Newberry Medal for young adult literature. I admit it was well-written and interesting. The fact that the protagonist shares the name of the author makes me wonder how much of this unbelievable tale is actually true.

Although Jackie ‘the Gantos boy’ was grounded all summer, his days were surprisingly full—writing obituaries, antagonizing arsonists, and digging a bomb shelter, to name a few. The book felt like a combination of Nothing Ever Happens on My Block and Arsenic and Old Lace.

Dead End in Norvelt was intriguing but the undertone of murder left me feeling reluctant to recommend it for young readers. However, it does give parents an opportunity to discuss a range of historical, ethical, philosophical, and even political issues.

Not my favority award-winning title.

Gantos, Jack. Dead End in Norvelt. Square Fish, 2013. 

Raskin, Ellen. Nothing Ever Happens on My Block. Collier Macmillan, 1989. 

Capra, Frank. Arsenic and Old Lace. Warner Bros, 1944. 

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