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Crunch Hardcover – March 30, 2010

30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—Mom and Dad take an annual anniversary drive up the New England coast for a week, and this year, they let 18-year-old Lil and 14-year-old Dewey hold down the fort while they're gone. In an all-too-plausible scenario, though, the national fuel shortage hits crunch level, and there is no gasoline to be had. For the first several days that their parents are stranded near the Canadian border, nobody panics: the older kids get the five-year-old twins to summer camp each day, and Dewey and his younger brother, Vince, keep their dad's bicycle-repair shop running smoothly. But when cars can't run, the townspeople rely on bikes, and as days turn into weeks, Dewey is overwhelmed with the number of repairs coming in and with the parental responsibilities that he and Lil are sharing. And when parts start disappearing and it becomes evident that a petty thief is on the loose, things get even more complicated. Not wanting to worry their parents or admit that they are in over their heads, Dewey and Lil initially resist efforts by neighbors to help. It is only when things reach the breaking point that they both come to realize that there is no shame in trusting in others. While Connor has created a cast of quirky characters and a timely dilemma, she never fully engages readers the way she did in Waiting for Normal (HarperCollins, 2008). Even with Dewey's first-person narration, relationships come across as a little too good to be true, and the story never quite loses a subtle hint of didacticism.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

About the Author

Leslie Connor is the author of several award-winning books for children, including Waiting for Normal, winner of the ALA Schneider Family Book Award, Crunch, Miss Bridie Chose a Shovel, and Dead on Town Line, a young adult novel in verse. She lives with her family in Connecticut.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books; 1 edition (March 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061692298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061692291
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.1 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,475,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J.Prather TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Crunch tells the story of five siblings who find themselves home alone when their parents become stranded across the country because of a fuel shortage. All of a sudden, if you want to get anywhere you have to go by bike. This means that the Marriss family business, a bike repair shop, is busier than ever and 14 year old Dewey must figure out how to handle things on his own.

This is a really well written tale and the author has created a bunch of realistic characters in the Marriss family. It's not often that you see Dystopian themes addressed in literature for fourth graders, and the author has done a good job here of taking a difficult situation and sort of toning it down for the 10 year old palate, all the while still keeping an air of authenticity. This is a compelling read, and young kids will be cheering for Dewey to succeed in his efforts while at the same time thinking about what they would do in his situations. You feel heartbroken because you know how much they miss their parents and wonder at their ability to keep going in the face of so much uncertainty. Their desire throughout to "quit being the parents" lends realism to these teenagers sometimes superhuman efforts at being adults.

A big recommend to any kid 4-8 grade. This is a great story that is sure to become a classic. I will not be surprised to see this one on many awards lists!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The Children's Book Reporter on April 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
When his parents get stuck miles away from home due to a worldwide gas shortage, it's up to Dewey Marriss to run the family's bike shop. But with the sudden demand for bicycle repairs, this proves to be no easy task... Between the heavy workload, the fear of a thief, sibling conflicts, Dewey has a lot working against him--but luckily he has the love of family, the support of friends, and even the unexpected help of a stranger working for him.
Crunch is amazing. It's that simple. Rarely do you find a story with such great family interaction--and the ones that come to mind are already greats: the stories of Elizabeth Enright, Eleanor Estes, Jeanne Birdsall... Despite some mentions of technology, Crunch is sure to join them on the classic shelf, because it feels timeless. Dewey's voice is marvelous and believable, and his predicament is well developed through a character-driven plot.
I'm expecting to see this story come up on a lot of Newbery discussions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Maher on February 24, 2013
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
Crunch is a story told from 14-year-old boy Dewey's point of view. His parents take an anniversary trip north, but get stuck. There is a gasoline shortage! Not only do Dewey and his two brothers and two sisters have to take care of themselves longer than expected, Dewey has to manage the family's "Mom and Pop" bicycle repair shop. Business is booming due to the gasoline shortage, the summer heat is oppressive, and someone is stealing bicycle and bicycle parts from around town. How will they all cope?
It's a somewhat longer read for tweens, but it is well written and worth the time.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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 realized the sheer awesomeness of Leslie Connor for the first time. I had loved her picture book "Miss Bridie Chose a Shovel". Sure. Of course I did. I'm human. I'd missed her YA novel "Dead on Town Line" (which, I'm now thinking I'd kind of like to read). But it was her middle grade book "Waiting for Normal" that convinced me of her brilliance. "Waiting for Normal". A book that by all rights, due to its premise and its title, I should have hated on sight, and yet I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Now Connor has settled a little more thoroughly into the middle grade range and once more she tries her hand at something new. Every fiber in my being makes me want to sell this to you as a post-apocalyptic hellscape world without oil with a family tale right out of "The Penderwicks". That's not entirely accurate but if it gets you reading this book, fantastic. Whatever works, man.Read more ›
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By Library Lady on October 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recall the energy crisis in the 1970's and all the ramifications that came with the issue. Gas was very tight and costly. We forget those days as we simply pay more out at the pump and don't think twice, just say "oh well, that's the way it is". Dewey and family made an impact on their community and home life. It was first getting along as a family of 5 yet keeping the rules and loyalty to their parents. They had so much to deal with - stolen money, stolen parts, food missing. The story could have gone a few ways with who was the culprit that were stealing parts and the money in the peppermint tin. Great message for young people to stick to their convictions. Not to give up, but if found in an impossible situation, work out a solution for all. GREAT, GREAT story and I purchased this book for the young 8-10 year olds in my church.
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