Our theme for this year's A-to-Z Blogging Challenge is BOOK REVIEWS. We don't normally post book reviews but it was fun to review some of the amazing books I've read in the last year.
D is for Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
Aven Green tells people imaginative stories about how she lost her arms wrestling alligators or how they were flattened by a train. But she was actually born that way. She was adopted at age 2, lives in Kansas, and has attended the same school for many years. She has friends and pretty much everyone knows her and no longer stares at her lack of arms. Then her father receives a job offer to manage a desert theme park in Arizona. Now in middle school, Aven has to navigate all the staring and avoidance and rude questions all over again. She meets two boys with their own differences and together they work to solve a mystery about the theme park.
I was a middle school student with differences. Mine weren't obvious like having no arms, but I still had difficulties, trouble making friends and avoiding bullies, etc. The author does a really good job realistically portraying what I'll call the mixed up lives of middle school students with differences. I like that Aven takes positive steps to reach out and connect with others and try to make friends, but it's a lot of work and she's conflicted about just wanting to retreat and eat her lunch in the bathroom so people don't stare at her. Been there, done that too.
The adoption angle in the book was not as well done, and in fact certain parts of it caused me a small amount of gnashing of teeth. [Please don't mention that to my dentist.] Fortunately, I never felt the desire to throw the book against the wall, which is good because I read an audio book from the library. Some of the adoption storyline is okay and even cute, but other parts are not and can even be considered insulting.
It's still a good book and I recommend it. Just be aware that nothing's perfect. You can apply this to your own writing too. Just because your manuscript isn't perfect, doesn't mean it won't be published and it might even earn awards too.