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Dead End in Norvelt (Norvelt Series) Hardcover – September 13, 2011
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“This is a brilliant book, full of history, mystery, and laughs. It reminded me of my small-town childhood, although my small town was never as delightfully weird as Norvelt.” ―Dave Barry
“A bit of autobiography works its way into all of Gantos's work, but he one-ups himself in this wildly entertaining meld of truth and fiction by naming the main character . . . Jackie Gantos.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A fast-paced and witty read.” ―School Library Journal
“A more quietly (but still absurdly) funny and insightful account of a kid's growth, kin to Gantos's Jack stories, that will stealthily hook even resistant readers into the lure of history.” ―BCCB
“This winning novel, both humorous and heartwarming, takes place during the summer of 1962, when narrator Jack Gantos turns 12 and spends most of his days grounded. Jack's main ‘get out of jail free card,' and one of the novel's most charming characters, is Miss Volker. The blossoming of their friendship coincides with the blooming of Jack's character.” ―Shelf Awareness Pro
“There's more than laugh-out-loud gothic comedy here. This is a richly layered semi-autobiographical tale, an ode to a time and place, to history and the power of reading.” ―The Horn Book, starred review
“Gantos, as always, delivers bushels of food for thought and plenty of outright guffaws.” ―Booklist
“An exhilarating summer marked by death, gore and fire sparks deep thoughts in a small-town lad not uncoincidentally named ‘Jack Gantos.' The gore is all Jack's, which to his continuing embarrassment ‘would spray out of my nose holes like dragon flames' whenever anything exciting or upsetting happens. And that would be on every other page, seemingly . . . Characteristically provocative gothic comedy, with sublime undertones.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Nobody can tell a story like Jack Gantos can. And this is a story like no other. It's funny. It's thoughtful. It's history. It's weird. But you don't need me to attempt to describe it. Get in there and start reading Gantos.” ―Jon Scieszka, founder of guysread.com and author of the Spaceheadz series
About the Author
Jack Gantos has written books for people of all ages, from picture books and middle-grade fiction to novels for young adults and adults. His works include Hole in My Life, a memoir that won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert Honors, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist, and Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor book.
Jack was born in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, and grew up in nearby Norvelt. When he was seven, his family moved to Barbados. He attended British schools, where there was much emphasis on reading and writing, and teachers made learning a lot of fun. When the family moved to south Florida, he found his new classmates uninterested in their studies, and his teachers spent most of their time disciplining students. Jack retreated to an abandoned bookmobile (three flat tires and empty of books) parked out behind the sandy ball field, and read for most of the day. The seeds for Jack's writing career were planted in sixth grade, when he read his sister's diary and decided he could write better than she could. He begged his mother for a diary and began to collect anecdotes he overheard at school, mostly from standing outside the teachers' lounge and listening to their lunchtime conversations. Later, he incorporated many of these anecdotes into stories.
While in college, he and an illustrator friend, Nicole Rubel, began working on picture books. After a series of well-deserved rejections, they published their first book, Rotten Ralph, in 1976. It was a success and the beginning of Jack's career as a professional writer. Jack continued to write children's books and began to teach courses in children's book writing and children's literature. He developed the master's degree program in children's book writing at Emerson College and the Vermont College M.F.A. program for children's book writers. He now devotes his time to writing books and educational speaking. He lives with his family in Boston, Massachusetts.
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series, and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. Pre-order the official script book today. Kindle | Hardcover
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Top Customer Reviews
Miss Volker is a former chief nurse and now the medical examiner of the town of Norvelt, a New Deal community established in 1934 to give hardworking people a helping hand. Norvelt is named after former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. At the time of her appointment, Miss Volker promised Mrs. Roosevelt that she would keep health records on the original 250 families.
As the original residents continue to move out or die off, Miss Volker composes their final health reports --- but in this case it's their obituaries. Because her crippling arthritis has rendered her unable to write or type, Jack has been "volunteered" to help out by writing out and typing the obituaries and delivering them to the editor of the Norvelt News. For Miss Volker and many of the residents, the obituaries are more than records of deaths; they are historical narratives of the deceased lives and how they impacted the town of Norvelt.
Norvelt is populated with colorful characters. There's Bunny Huffer, Jack's best friend, who is the daughter of the town's undertaker. Unlike Jack, Bunny isn't squeamish being around dead bodies, and she likes to play pranks. Mr. Edwin Spizz is the town busybody who rides around on an adult tricycle, spying on neighbors and reporting them to the community council. Mr. Spizz also has had his eye on Miss Volker since 1912, but she has no use for him.Read more ›
Young Jack Gantos is having the world's worst summer. After being grounded for getting in the middle of a fight between his parents, he's destined to spend a summer confined to his room reading history, and helping his dad dig a bomb shelter. It's 1962 and Norvelt is a Roosevelt town filled with aging townspeople, most notably Miss Volker, the official town medical examiner. It's her job to write the obituaries, and since she suffers from arthritis, it's Jack's job to help her. These two make quite the team and their interactions provide a lot of the humor in the book. Add in Jack's dad who is constantly talking about the communist threat, and Jack's mom who believes in communal living and the barter system, and you can see the potential for quite a story.Read more ›
1962, Norvelt, PA. It's a town that owes its existence to Eleanor Roosevelt (for whom it is named) and the residence of one young Jack Gantos.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Entertaining, though not really a book I would want to read again. A lot of interesting ideas about history and what you can learn from the past.Published 16 days ago by Donna
Very good read. It's an easy book to pick up and read, and it'll keep the interest of a lot of readers.Published 24 days ago by Trevor Irwin
This book was a big disappointment to me. I didn't like the father, was sad that ms Volkers friend was a murderer, and it just didn't interest me in general. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Loni Hackworth
Jacky and his old lady friend have to write many obituaries when her obnoxious wanna-be paramour starts killing off his competition!Published 1 month ago by J. Henges
I read this for a university class. Good book.
Amazon is reliable as always.
My 11yr olds had to read it for school.
I read it too. We all loved it!