Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
Mr B's review
Leah (Little Miss B)’s review – Aven and her family move to Arizona but there is a lot more to worry about than rundown funfairs – school, family mysteries and of course, being armless. Funny, chilled and mysterious all at once.
The paperback edition of the bestselling middle grade novel about a spunky girl born without arms and a boy with Tourette syndrome navigating the challenges of middle school, disability, and friendship – all while solving a mystery in a western theme park. Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again.
Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all…even without arms.
‘Aven is a perky, hilarious, and inspiring protagonist whose attitude and humor will linger even after the last page has turned.’ – School Library Journal (Starred review)
WINNER of the William Allen White Children’s Book Award for Grades 3-5
WINNER of the 2020 March Book Madness Middle Grade.
SHORTLISTED for The Reading the West Book Awards
NOMINATED for the Minnesota Youth Reading Awards -2021 Maud Hart Lovelace award
NOMINATED for the 2021 Colorado Children’s Book Award for the Junior Book category
Autumn 2017 Indie Next Pick
Junior Library Guild Selection
Reading the West Award Winner
Library of Congress’s 52 Great Reads List 2018
Youth One Book, One Denver 2018
Chicago Public Library “Best of the Best” 2017
Evanston Public Library Best of 2017
Austin Public Library Best Tween Fiction 2017
Multnomah County Library Best Books of 2017
Southwest Books of the Year “Best of the Best” 2017
The Children’s Book Review Best Kids Books of 2017 for Tweens and Preteens
Booksource Top 40 Classroom Library Titles of 2017
Praise for the hardcover edition of Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
“She is a perky, hilarious, and inspiring protagonist whose attitude and humor will linger even after the last page has turned. The tale of Stagecoach Pass is just as compelling as the story of Aven, and the setting, like the many colorful characters who people this novel, is so vivid and quirky that it’s practically cinematic. VERDICT Charming and memorable. An excellent choice for middle grade collections and classrooms.” –School Library Journal (Starred review)
“Dusti Bowling’s story of a regular, hugely likable kid who deals with her unusual challenges with grace and humor is pitch-perfect.” –Shelf Awareness (starred review)
“Connor’s Tourette’s support-group meetings and Aven’s witty, increasingly honest discussions of the pros and cons of ‘lack of armage’ give the book excellent educational potential. . . . its portrayal of characters with rarely depicted disabilities is informative, funny, and supportive.” –Kirkus
“[A] sensitive and funny novel . . . an openhearted, empathic book. –Publishers Weekly
“Aven Green didn’t really lose her arms in a wrestling match, but when her parents move the family halfway across the country to manage a run-down theme park, she’d rather tell them tall tales than the truth–she was born without them. It’s not until she meets a new friend with another kind of disability that she learns to accept people’s differences, including her own. Really funny, fun read.” –Slate
“A remarkable, original story with true heart, a fresh voice, and an absolutely unforgettable hero. It’s a book sure to give any reader goosebumps, teary eyes, and out-loud laughs. It’s a book that doesn’t just open your eyes, it opens your heart.” –Dan Gemeinhart, author of The Honest Truth
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