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Crunch Paperback – March 27, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Realistic fiction for tweens
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All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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
  • Lexile Measure: 490 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061692344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061692345
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #603,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An accessible book for younger middle schoolers that touches a little on dystopian themes by providing a window into a world where fuel becomes very scarce. Since this was a reality in the 1970s and glimpses of this appeared after super storm Sandy in the northeast, kids will really be able to relate to the true possibility of this type of disaster. Great characters - most of them young adults - and a believable and exciting story make this a wonderful choice for 5 - 7th graders.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Dewey and Lil are the oldest children of a trucking father and their mother stuck in a gas crunch far away from home. Dewey runs the Bike Barn while the children wait for their parents to return. It is a huge challenge, but they do excellently, and creatively.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book for kids and adults. While fictitious, it showed great insight into what the world would be like if we did run out of gas and had to resort on bicycle power to get around. It was a great lesson for kids as well as adults. Thoroughly enjoyed this book and reading it to my elementary-aged kids.
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Format: Paperback
I really liked this book, and think my 11-year-old and 13-year-old will like it, too. A thought-provoking plot and a variety of intriguing characters make for a terrific read. The characters acted and changed in reasonable ways, and enough dialogue and humor kept the pacing perfect. Glad I found it!
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