Friday, March 11, 2011

Book Review: Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell

Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell
Publisher: Atheneum
Publication date: March 2011
ISBN: 9781416995852
Source: e-copy of ARC provided by Galley Grab

Ten Miles Past Normal 

Janey used to love living on a farm, raising goats.  In middle school, everyone thought it was great.  But, in high school, smelling like a barn or wearing goat poop on your shoe and hay in your hair, is definitely not normal.  Janey spends her lunch in the library, hiding from her loneliness, since her best friend doesn't have the same lunch.  But, when she begins to find new friends and do new things, she might just become comfortable with being past normal.

Things I Liked:
I fell in love with Janey right from the start.  She has a sly sense of humor, simultaneously laughing at her family's situation and hating it.  I loved watching her change from the girl embarrassed by where she lived and her mother's farm mentality, to accepting things as they are and even embracing them.  The humor was just right, not too snarky, but clever enough to elicit some out-loud laughing.  I definitely remember entering high school, expecting things to be one way and finding out they were the opposite.  I also really liked the romantic element, despite it being pretty light.  Maybe it was because it was so light I enjoyed it - it was a nice break from the heavy eternal love paranormal I've read a lot of recently.  Fresh, fun, and real.  I definitely want more from this author!  Some favorite parts: 

We were sitting at the dinner table, eating a Stouffer's frozen lasagna that hadn't quite gotten heated all the way through ("Think of it as lasagna sorbet," my mother suggested, and I was so young and enthusiastic at the time that I actually tried to think of it that way), when I told my parents we should move to a farm and raise goats. I listed the many benefits of this plan (free goat cheese being number one on that list; I forget now what number two was) and sat back, waiting to be rejected yet again. p 6 of ARC
I'm in the process of pulling out my bass out from under a table, but I stop and peer up at Jeremy.  I've been stalking him for two months, and he doesn't even know my name?  Why do I suddenly feel humiliated beyond belief?  Maybe it's because I'm humiliated beyond belief.  p 119-120 of ARC
"I like a goat with personality." Monster tells me, rubbing Loretta Lynn on her big Roman nose.  "A goat that likes a good time.  A lot of goats you meet, they're way too serious."
"They've got a lot on their minds," I agree. p 192 of ARC
Things I Didn't Like:
It did seem at times not to be going anywhere.  That might have been because it isn't so much about story as it is about Janey and her character.  So, it's slow in parts and some elements of the story seem a little unconnected, but Janey's story was great.

Definitely felt like Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Maybe even a Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli vibe at times too

s-factor: !
maybe a few, don't remember many though

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ****

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

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