"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

11 June 2014

Steering Toward Normal

Petruck, Rebecca. Steering Toward Normal. Amulet Books, 2014.

Diggy is an 8th grader who lives in a small farming community in Minnesota. He raises steer through 4H and shows them at the State Fair, and he's hoping to have a chance to win this year. Then his world explodes when he finds out he has a half brother who moves in with him and Pop and starts taking Pop's attention away. Not only that, but Wayne also wants to enter a steer in the State Fair. How will Diggy manage to win the state fair now?

This book sounded like it should be hilarious, and being from Minnesota myself, I hoped that there would be lots of references that would make me smile and imagine the characters speaking with heavy accents. As it turned out, this book moved very, very slowly. Grass-growing slowly. Since the main character is an 8th grader, this book should appeal to middle schoolers, but I doubt that many of my middle school students would have the patience for this story. It's a good story, and with families moving away from nuclear and into a new normal, it's probably a story that needs to be told, but it has to be done in a way that will hook the readers, and this story simply did not do that.

Recommended for: tweens
Red Flags: the man who raised Dwayne is an alcoholic and frequently gets drunk or shows up drunk; the boys (and Pop) play lots of pranks on each other that occasionally involve cow poop
Overall Rating:2/5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley for the purposes of review.

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