Author: Jack Gantos
Title: Dead End in Norvelt
Description: Jack Gantos is having a bummer of a summer. His parents seem to be conspiring to get him into trouble, and he ends up grounded. The only time he can leave the house is to go help old Miss Volker write obituaries of all of the town’s original citizens.
Review source: ALA
Plot: Norvelt is a planned town that’s dying as its earliest residents die. Based on the values of Eleanor Roosevelt, the inhabitants are dealing with society in the sixties: the Cold War, generation gaps, and the scary Hell’s Angels who keep coming around. Jack and Miss Volker are in the middle of it all.
Characters: Part way through I realized that the main character’s name was the same as the author’s. The blurb on the cover tells us that it’s part memoir, part anything but.
Writing style: First person narration from preteen Jack makes for a lively story.
Audience: Obviously, it’s a YA book, but it was a fun read.
Wrap-up: I’m not sure which parts of this are fictionalized (well, maybe I can guess), but the story is pretty seamless. A very nicely written book that might appeal to adults just as much as it does to kids. 3.5/5*