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Reaching Dustin (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) School & Library Binding – August 1, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The swamp-dwelling, shotgun-wielding Groats are the pariahs of Carly Cameron's rural Missouri community, and Carly is understandably horrified when she draws Dustin Groat as a partner for a class project on interviewing. Determined to do well on the assignment and thereby earn the position of sixth-grade newspaper editor, Carly forces herself to swallow her repugnance at Dustin's poor hygiene and antisocial behavior. She is shocked to learn about his deplorable living conditions and history of abuse, but she is even more surprised to discover his gentleness with animals and his passion for music. Partly motivated by guilt over humiliating and belittling him back in second grade, when he was the class bully, Carly urgently tries to "reach" Dustin and save him from his despicable family. Grove's (Crystal Garden) heartfelt story unmasks the vulnerabilities of two preadolescents from very different walks of life. The author is careful to develop Carly as fully as she sketches Dustin's plight. Carly's problems, more universal than Dustin's (she worries about her friendships, her image and identity), will invite readers' sympathy; they anchor the exploration of a frighteningly foreign milieu in the comfortably familiar. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8AAn interview assignment forces Carly to get to know Dustin Groat, the most unpopular member of her sixth-grade class. Dustin's unsociable behavior began at school in third grade, just after his mother died, and Carly and her friends have looked down upon him ever since. The Groats are notorious troublemakers, correctly suspected of hoarding guns on their isolated compound and making drugs. As she learns about his family background and history-not from Dustin, but through her own family and research-she gradually realizes that there's more to the boy than she assumed. Grove neatly weaves several subplots into the story, all related in some way to Carly's relationship with her nemesis. As she slowly gathers the courage and empathy to befriend the boy, she also begins to see her own friends and family with new clarity. Readers will recognize that she treats Dustin too harshly from the start, but her stubbornness rings true since she lives with the buried guilt of how she wronged him in the past. Carly's inner development is convincingly painful as she realizes the part she played in creating Dustin's problems. The resolution is nearly too pat, as Carly clears her own conscience by reading her eloquent and insightful essay about Dustin to her class. Then she writes an article about him in the school newspaper, which helps win his trust. These strategies fit the girl's personality, though, since she loves to write more than anything. The final paragraph, in which Dustin finally agrees to accept Carly's help, resonates with hope without minimizing the difficulties of the boy's family situation.ASteven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library, OR
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • School & Library Binding: 199 pages
  • Publisher: Turtleback (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0613286197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0613286190
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,019,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JES on June 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this wonderful book, Reaching Dustin. It caused me to think about the way people treat other people. I teach 4th and 5th graders, and I plan to read Reaching Dustin aloud during the first few weeks when we do our anti-bullying activities. I think the issues related to families (some nurturing, some dysfunctional), friends, and bullies raised in this book will make all readers/hearers think about "walking in another's shoes." Maybe reading and talking about the book will even help us treat one another better. The characters seemed so real to me -- I just can't quit thinking about them. Vicki Grove has written a book that parents, teachers, and children should read together and discuss.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Many people cannot imagine what it is like to not have a family who loves you. Dustin is that type of a person. His mother dies and he has to learn to seek help and trust from a classmate who wants to help him. Dustin lives in a place that has cops swarming the place all the time. Carly has to do an interview on Dustin for class. She really doesn't like this situation, especially since her best friends switched so they could interview each other. Carly then learns that she has to put herself in someone else's shoes in order to understand how life could be worse. If you like to read, this is a young adult book is for you. After the very first chapter, you are absolutely hooked on this book. I enjoyed reading it because you don't know what might happen next. Read this book and you'll feel sorry for everyone you have either mistrusted or disliked.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
I thought that Reaching Dustin was an excellent book. Not only was it exciting and dramatic it had lots of detail and desciption. The author made an excellent role of Dustin. He is a shy character with lots of secrets. Carly is a well written character too. Vicki chooses an incident that happened in third grade as a reason for the way Dustin is. Things happen to both Dustin and Carly that even Vicki didn't know were going to happen. I'd tell you to read the book but it's up to you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maggie on January 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
Carly is a 6th grade student and pulls Dustin Groat's name for an important interview. Dustin has been really mean ever since 3rd grade and he was meanest to Carly. When they start to interview she asks Dustin his name, he says, " Superman ", she writes down Dustin Groat. She asks more questions and one of his answers really surprises her. She tells her little brother, Luke, stories and he gets hurt. Suddenly Dustin drops out of school after a terrible accident involving Carly's friend, Alicia or Ali for short, and he doesn't come back. can she get him to come back to school? Read the book to find out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The book, Reaching Dustin, starts out as an interview that Carly is giving Dustin Groat. Dustin Groat is a boy that was once a loud and crazy kid, but he has changed. Dustin is very quiet and sits in the same corner every day. Carly doesn't find out what it is that made him so different until later in the story. Reaching Dustin is a name i think they gave the book because most of the time, Carly tries to talk to him and get information out of him, but he doesn't answer very many questions. I think the book was ok and you should read it to find out what you think.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rzaster on February 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
Carly, a young girl that lives in rural Missouri, is involved in many problems at the setting of this book. her friendship with long time best friends Alicia and Randi is falling apart and she is assigned to interview Dustin Groat, of the Groat family that has been known to the town for starting trouble.
She starts interviewing with very little success. then with a little research and eavesdropping, she learns about Dustin's past and understands why his life is so hard. This is one of the best young adult novels that I have read. It is obvious that Vicki Grove is very talented writer and I'd love to see a sequel to this fabulous novel. Everybody can compare to these realistic characters, and that will make your reading even more enjoyable. A definite must read.
Happy Reading!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sabrina on October 6, 2002
Format: School & Library Binding
If you are one of those people who love to read books about kids who have problems, then Reaching Dustin is a pretty good book to read. It's about this boy named Dustin and he was a bully in school ever since he was a little kid and this girl, she knew Dustin, but she hates him and even everybody thinks he is a loser. This girl has a perfect life until she has to interview Dustin. She gets very nosey and suddenly gets interested about Dustin's life and tries to help him.
Dustin's family are rebels, as you might say, and always get into trouble. This book is okay, but very interesting!! I hope anyone who reads this, enjoys it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is one of the strongest 'personal journey' type books for adolescents that I have ever read. Carly, the main character, reaches out to a classmate after she makes some decisions about herself and her own values. This book deals with guns, militias, and "outsider" mentalities. For this reason, I don't agree that it is for a third grade level. Developmentally, it's not. A good book - to be read with your child/parent. :-)
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