Monday, September 12, 2011

Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell

Farm Girl, Skunk Girl, Haystack Girl, Goat Girl…you pick the name and fourteen-year-old Janie has heard it.  She thought it would be cool to live on a farm, but once she gets to high school, it’s definitely NOT cool!  It doesn’t help that her friends from middle school are all spread out and she doesn’t know anyone in her lunch period.  At least she has one class with her best friend, Sarah, and they get to do a project on a great woman in history.  This leads Janie and Sarah to a local lady who taught blacks how to read and write during the Civil Rights Movement.  Janie learns just what it means to live big.

This is very much a coming of age novel about Janie figuring out who she is and what she stands for.  It would be appropriate for middle school readers as there’s no foul language, drug use, sexual encounters, etc.

Themes:  friendship, discovery, standing up for what’s right

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