Rummanah Aasi
Description: Just as Aven starts to feel comfortable in Stagecoach Pass, with her friends and schoolmates accustomed to her lack of “armage,” everything changes once again. She’s about to begin high school with 2,300 new kids to stare at her. And no matter how much Aven tries to play it cool, nothing prepares her for the reality. In a year filled with confusion, humiliation, fears, loss, and just maybe love, can Aven manage to stay true to herself?

Review: I love Aven, the spunky, snarky heroine of the Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus and I was thrilled to learn her story continues. In the first book Aven is learning how to settle in Stagecoach Pass, Arizona with her lovable adopted parents and find friends. In this follow up sequel, Aven confronts her biggest challenge yet: surviving high school without arms. Once again she will be stared at because of her missing arms —and her feet, which do almost everything hands can (except air quotes to accent her sarcastic retorts). Aven resolves to be “blasé” and field her classmates’ pranks with aplomb, but a humiliating betrayal shakes her self-confidence. Even her friendships feel unsteady. Her friend Connor’s moved away and made a new friend who, like him, has Tourette’s syndrome: a girl. She can not help but feel anyone, especially Lando, her friend Zion’s popular older brother, who is being nice to her has an ulterior motive. The author expertly captures the universal awkwardness of adolescence, especially with Aven's self awareness of her visible disability. Along with themes of bullying and changing friendships, Aven also deals with tougher topics such as death and aging, but warm, quirky secondary characters lend support. There are a few after-school special moments in the book, but it did not distract me from the book because I love Aven's and her friends. I look forward to seeing Aven again and I really hope for another book in this series because it will be hard to say goodbye to these characters.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: Scenes of bullying. Recommended for Grades 5 and up.

If you like this book try: Roll with It by Jamie Sumner, Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff
1 Response
  1. Another YA book that takes the "different" and relates it to every day adolescence--excellent! Authors really are doing a great job of this. I went to elementary school with a girl whose mother took thalidomide during pregnancy so had no arms; she did everything the rest of us did.

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