Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus? Have you read it yet?

 Where did Dusti Bowling, the author, come up with this tremendously readable idea?

Cover of the book Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
Aven was born "unarmed."  At home in Kansas, with her friends, school, and family, she's just another kid.  Just one with no arms.  Her parents, who adopted her when she was two, won't let her feel sorry for herself for a minute.

But then, her parents are offered a job running the Stagecoach Pass, a dusty old theme park in Arizona that needs a new life, and suddenly, this "problem-solving ninja" is faced with leaving everything and everyone she knows.

It's hard enough to make new friends in school.  Try doing it when everyone is staring at you, wondering how you write, eat, and use the bathroom.

Dusti Bowling has taken an incredible topic and armed with lots of understanding about how people live without arms, she turns Aven into an inspirational protagonist without making her seem too unrealistic.  Aven ultimately befriends two boys, each of whom has reasons for wanting to be left alone.

Conner has Tourette's Syndrome which results in him barking when he's nervous.  Some people with Tourette's do that, but it is a smaller percentage than those with less noticeable tics.  I get why she used a characteristic that was more "out there," but I personally, wish she hadn't.  

Conner explains why he stays away from people and Aven hears him, but ultimately, she persuades him to push himself in ways he never has before.  The book is hard to put down!  There are mysteries to be solved about a photograph, a necklace, and tarantulas. 

This is a great book for students who loved Melody in Out of My Mind, Auggie in Wonder, Alice in A Blind Guide to Stinkville, and Ally in Fish in a Tree.

Watch this video about Sophi, a young girl who makes her way in the world much like Aven.

Cover of novel study guide for Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
  • Would you like the novel study guide to go with the book?  Click here to take a closer look!

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