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Month in review

Reviews
Avatar: The Last Airbender: North and South, Part Three by Gene Luen Yang
Books of a Feather by Kate Carlisle
Caleb and Kit by Beth Vrabel
CatStronauts: Robot Rescue by Drew Brockington
Country Matters by Michael Korda The Dashwood Sisters Tell All by Beth Pattillo Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Flaming Iguanas: An Illustrated All-Girl Road Novel Thing by Erika Lopez
The Football Girl by Thatcher Heldring
Froodle by Antoinette Portis
Goddess Boot Camp by Tera Lynn Childs
House Held Up by Trees by Ted Kooser and Jon Klassen
Inside Hudson Pickle by Yolanda Ridge
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Love Lies Bleeding by Susan Wittig Albert
Love, Penelope by Joanne Rocklin
Melena's Jubilee by Zetta Elliott and Aaron Boyd
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane
The Once Upon a Time Map Book by B.G. Hennessy and Peter Joyce
Poisoned Pages by Lorna Barrett
Questions Asked by Jostein Gaarder
The Sea Lady by Margaret Drabble
Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil, Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire
Spy on History: Victor Dowd and the World War II Ghost Army by Enigma Alberti
Sucks to Be Me by Kimberly Pauley
Thornhill by Pam Smy
Tim Ginger by Julian Hanshaw
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
Winter Wonders by Kate Hannigan

Miscellaneous
Favorites of the first half of 2018
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 02, 2018)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 09, 2018)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 16, 2018)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 23, 2018)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 30, 2018)
June 2018 Sources
June 2018 Summary

Road Essays
Are small towns uhoric or utopic?
An update on the road narrative reading
Road Narrative Spectrum
What isn't a road narrative: towards an ontological understanding of the road's importance

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish


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Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus: 07/23/18

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling is told from the perspective of a girl who is tired of people asking her what's happened to her arms. She was born armless and her adoptive parents don't know and don't care about the reason behind her missing arms. They believe she can do anything she sets her mind to. That's all well and good until her parents get a job running an obscure Western themed park in Arizona.

When you have no arms, you have to eat with your feet. At Aven's old school, she sat with friends. Here she feels like she's on display. So she tries to find somewhere quiet and alone to eat. It's there that she meets Connor, a kid who also eats alone.

As their friendship blossoms, the two kids set out to solve the mystery of the missing park owner. No one has seen Joe in years. Aven believes she can solve the mystery with Connor's help.

There's a lot more going on here than just a quirky armless girl and a boy who barks. There's a well thought out history to the park. Aven's abilities are plausible. The life with Tourettes is also explored for its different nuances and for how it progresses.

My one quibble comes with a big spoiler that I'm not going to reveal here. It has to do with the timeline of the park. 1973 is a long time ago. I think this book would have made more sense if it were a recent historical fiction, set maybe back in 2000 or the mid 1990s, rather than the present day.

Four stars

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