Tuesday, January 28, 2020

#BookReview: 24 Hours in Nowhere by @Dusti_Bowling

Synopsis: 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.


Rating: ★★★★★
My Review: I really liked this story.  The age group of 8 to 13 was really good for this story.  I really didn't have any favorite characters because I loved them all. This book starts out with a kid being bullied only to be sent to a mine to get their bike back.  When things go bad they get lost in the mine, fight a wild cat, and find friends in the unlikeliest places.  I really liked the journey these kids took as well as how you can learn to be friends even with your enemies.  The pacing was very well done, it was perfect for this story.  The ending tied up very well. I would love to see a book two set in the same world with the same characters, but maybe they go on an adventure of their own choosing.  

Go Into This One Knowing: Mines, Wild Cats, Bullies, Friendship

“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.” —School Library Journal (Starred review)

“Short, smart Gus is regularly tormented by Bo, a ‘thirteen-year-old in the body of an eighteen-year-old with the mind of an eight-year-old.’ In their hot, dry, rundown town of Nowhere, Arizona, kids like Gus who don't race dirt bikes are, socially speaking, the lowest of the low. So, it is the highest sacrifice when the best dirt bike racer in town, Rossi, a citizen of the Tohono O'odham tribe, offers her beloved bike to Bo to save Gus. Determined to make things right by her, Gus agrees to Bo's ridiculous demand for a piece of gold from the collapsing mine outside town in exchange for the bike. In no time, Gus, Rossi and two former friends who have unexpectedly joined the foolhardy expedition get lost in a mine, trapped in a cave-in, attacked by wild animals and nearly drown in a mysterious underground lake with skeletons and ‘strange mutant albino shrimp.’ They're also coming to terms with the idea that even if their ancestors were murderous, mortal enemies—which, well, they were—the kids don't need to carry on the feuding tradition. Readers who loved Holes and Dusti Bowling's earlier novel, Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus, will be delighted with 24 Hours in Nowhere, a similarly captivating novel abounding in wordplay, eccentric personalities and an evocative setting: ‘Nowhere was the best at a lot of things: number one in poverty, number one in high school dropouts, number one in least livability, number one in drunken mine deaths. We tried not to let it all go to our heads.’ Maybe they should. Discover: In this funny, moving novel, four teens explore an abandoned gold mine in order to placate their town's resident bully, making discoveries about the past—and themselves—along the way.” —Shelf Awareness, Starred review

“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.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred review

“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 some day. 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 vacillate among 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. . . . her latest is . . . 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.” — Booklist

“ . . . fast-paced and filled with adventure, excitement and humor. . . . This is a perfect pick for young readers who love a well-developed story with twists and turns all the way to the very end.”  —Bookpage

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