24 Hours in Nowhere
24 Hours in Nowhere
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Annotation: Welcome to Nowhere, Arizona, America's least livable town. For Gus, a bright 13-year-old with dreams of escaping, life there is made even worse by bully Bo Taylor. When Bo tries to force Gus to eat a spiny cactus, Rossi Scott, one of the best racers in Nowhere, rescues him by relinquishing her prized dirt bike. Gus agrees to do anything to get it back even if it means going into a deadly mine to hunt for gold.
Catalog Number: #6527029
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Sterling
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 260 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-454-92924-3
ISBN 13: 978-1-454-92924-6
Dewey: Fic
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Nowhere, Arizona, is notorious for being the least livable town in the U.S., and it certainly feels that way for 13-year-old Gus. Bullied by a local braggart and stuck living with his grandmother, Gus dreams of escape, namely by leaving for college someday. But in the time between now and then, to repay the girl who saved his butt, he goes searching for the gold that's supposedly buried deep in Dead Frenchman Mine. The ragtag band of misfits that join him calls to mind the gang from The Goonies, and their underground escapades are alternatingly genuinely creepy, hilarious, and thrilling. From describing the sizzling heat to the sticky bat guano in the cave, Bowling tickles all of the senses with her evocative Southwest setting. While not quite as heartwarming as her breakout book, Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus? (2017), her latest is nevertheless an enjoyable adventure with a well-balanced and diverse supporting cast of characters. Sure to resonate with any kid who's felt misplaced in their inherited surroundings.
Kirkus Reviews
When narrator Gus is rescued from neighborhood bully Bo by the very capable Rossi—who sacrifices her beloved dirt bike, Loretta, in the doing—an unlikely adventure in the nearby Dead Frenchman's Mine is triggered. Equipped with a pickle jar of water and some sandwiches, Gus sets off into the mine in search of treasure to buy Loretta back, with the unwanted company of Bo's lackey Matthew. Shortly after, Rossi shows up in the mine with Jessie, Gus' former best friend. (Readers learn early on that Rossi is Native American and Jessie is Mexican-American; Gus and Matthew are implied white.) Naturally, the mine tunnel collapses, leaving them trapped. In a series of narrative contrivances, the four 13-year-olds happen upon discoveries that may lead both to their escape and to the truth behind an old local legend. Even as they struggle to find their way—and amid encounters with a mountain lion, bats, and javelinas—the kids take time to discuss many of the challenges they face in the outside world and among one another. These interludes may strike readers as ill-timed given the danger, but they offer Bowling ample opportunity to play Gus' cluelessness and Matthew's casual malice against Rossi's and Jessie's firsthand familiarity with American racism. Although Gus is careful to point out that Rossi is Tohono O'odham, and later Rossi reveals some factoids about her heritage, his fascination with her dark ponytail and her general inscrutability reinforce stereotypes—as does the obviousness of the setup.A tale full of set pieces meant to lead kids to home truths but that might not get them there. (Adventure. 10-14)
Publishers Weekly
A blend of taut suspense and laugh-out-loud humor from Bowling (Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus) proves a winning combination in this 24-hour escapade set in Nowhere, -the poorest town in Arizona.- Thirteen-year-old Gus wants to leave Nowhere for more than one reason, but high on the list is muscular bully Bo, -a mean, ugly giant with blond hair and pork-and-beans-sprinkled-with-chewing-tobacco breath.- When Bo tries to force Gus to eat a cactus, classmate Rossi saves the day by giving Bo her beloved dirt bike in exchange for Gus-s freedom. Gus is determined to get the bike back, but Bo demands a piece of gold from dangerous Dead Frenchman Mine as ransom. Accompanied by Rossi, childhood friend Jessie, and one of Bo-s minions, Gus embarks on the quest, uncovering secrets from the past and falling into many precarious situations, including a run-in with a mountain lion. With playful elements reminiscent of Richard Peck, this slightly larger-than-life adventure offers plentiful surprises and a lovable antihero. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 57 Thirteen-year-old Gus is a white boy from Nowhere. Literally. Nowhere, AZ: population depressed, poverty-stricken, and stagnant. Dirt bike racing is the only blip on the town's flat-lining pulse. Gus is smart, but his small size makes him a natural target for Bo, the town bully. When Rossi, a Tohono O'odham girl with a talent for racing, stands up for Gus, she loses her beloved bike to Bo. Gus vows to get it back for her. Bo's terms require Gus to enter a closed mine with a history of collapses and find gold rumored to have been lost decades ago. Gus agrees and is joined by one of Bo's minions, an old friend, and Rossi. Each an outcast in some way, the kids form a bond through their harrowing 24-hour adventure. This allows each to gain strength from the others and push on. Conversations among the young teens reveal Gus's burgeoning awareness of his white privilege as he listens to the experiences of his Latinx and Native American friends. This story features wonderfully funny, surprising characters with witty, realistic dialogue. Friendships are forged, lives are changed, and mysteries are solved. VERDICT Reminiscent of Louis Sachar's Holes with its quirky characters and unique desert setting, this is a middle-grade read that will easily transport readers somewhere special. Lisa Crandall, formerly at the Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
School Library Journal Starred Review (5/1/18)
ALA Booklist (9/1/18)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Word Count: 49,269
Reading Level: 4.2
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.2 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 196913 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.4 / points:11.0 / quiz:Q75638
Lexile: 610L

"Reminiscent of Louis Sachar's Holes with its quirky characters and unique desert setting, this is a middle-grade read that will easily transport readers somewhere special." -- School Library Journal (Starred review) When you come from Nowhere, can you ever really make it anywhere? Author Dusti Bowling ( Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus ) returns to the desert to create a gripping story about friendship, hope, and finding the power we all have within ourselves. Welcome to Nowhere, Arizona, the least livable town in the United States. For Gus, a bright 13-year-old with dreams of getting out and going to college, life there is made even worse by Bo Taylor, Nowhere's biggest, baddest bully. When Bo tries to force Gus to eat a dangerously spiny cactus, Rossi Scott, one of the best racers in Nowhere, comes to his rescue--but in return she has to give Bo her prized dirt bike. Determined to buy it back, Gus agrees to go searching for gold in Dead Frenchman Mine, joined by his old friends Jessie Navarro and Matthew Dufort, and Rossi herself. As they hunt for treasure, narrowly surviving everything from cave-ins to mountain lions, they bond over shared stories of how hard life in Nowhere is--and they realize this adventure just may be their way out.

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