Dead End in Norvelt

Gantos, Jack

Book - 2011
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Dead End in Norvelt
In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses.

Publisher: New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0374379939
Branch Call Number: GANTOS J
Characteristics: 341 p. ; 22 cm


From the critics

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Feb 20, 2015
  • NVDPL Children's Librarians rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

He had me at the opening scene, where Jack accidentally shoots the drive-in movie screen from miles away with a WWII Japanese rifle. Eccentric & quirky characters are usually *too* eccentric & quirky for me, but the ones in this book are just on the edge of being completely believable and they are certainly laugh-out-loud funny. You will laugh at Jack while feeling for him at the same time.

Jun 17, 2014
  • litriocht rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

For a book about a failing town, dying people, and other morbid topics, Dead End in Norvelt is surprisingly hilarious. Miss Volker's introductory scene, involving Jack thinking that she is melting the skin off her hands, is one of the funniest passages I have read all year.

Dec 31, 2013
  • BookNerdWannaBe rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This would be a great book for a Tween Book Club.

Oct 07, 2013
  • JCLKinsleyR rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book is filled with history, humor, and heartache. I felt for Jack through the entire story and desperately wanted to meet Miss Volker, his companion for the summer. The WWII and post WWII story-line sucked me in from the get go. Excited to read From Norvelt to Nowhere!

Jul 12, 2013
  • LibraryCard_123 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Liked the book, it was funny, I laughed out loud!

Aug 01, 2012
  • BookLvr07 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book is awesome! It is a historic story with added humor. It was very funny and l I would recommend it to anyone.

Jul 21, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

It’s not an easy book, but it does make for a compelling story, in spite of the protagonist’s limited movements. I walked into this title looking for an explanation of what makes Jack Gantos tick. I never found my answer. Instead, I found a book I can read and enjoy and recommend ad nauseum. And as trades go, that one sounds like a good deal to me.

Jul 15, 2012
  • EragonShadeslayer rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This was a really funny book. Jack Gantos (the story is a combination of real experiences and fiction) gets grounded for "life" (the summer) for several things. (including pulling the trigger on a rifle he didn't know was armed, and wasn't supposed to touch)
he gets involved in the local newspaper scribing obituaries, and his summer gets interesting from there. this is probably because its semi-nonfiction, but he dosent follow up some plotlines. (but life is like that, not all plotlines get followed)
Funny book.

Feb 08, 2012
  • nanajoe rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed this Newbery winner though not as much as past winners. It was different, had interesting characters, great black humour but some events were odd - for example, the Hell's Angels coming to town and burning down houses. I don't know where it fit in the story.

Dec 09, 2011
  • christikc rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This would make a good read aloud for an upper elementary teacher who wanted a story that stresses history and writing.

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Jul 21, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jun 23, 2012
  • indigo_dolphin_204 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

indigo_dolphin_204 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 19


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Jul 21, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“. . . if you think about it a refrigerator is just a coffin for food that stands upright.”

Jul 21, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“Something had to be wrong with me, but one really good advantage about being dirt-poor is that you can’t afford to go to the doctor and get bad news.”


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Jul 21, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

1962, Norvelt, PA. It’s a town that owes its existence to Eleanor Roosevelt (for whom it is named) and the residence of one young Jack Gantos. A kid with a perpetually bleeding proboscis, Jack’s looking forward to having an awesome summer. That is, before his mother forces him to help out old Miss Volker write the town’s obituaries. Before he’s grounded for mowing down his mom’s corn (because his dad told him to, and how fair is that?). Before it seems as though the whole summer might pass him by. Fortunately, Jack finds his time with Miss Volker to be fascinating, and that’s before all the little old ladies in town start dying off at an remarkably quickfire rate. Is there something natural or unnatural behind these deaths? And more importantly, will Jack ever get to play an honest game of baseball under the shining sun ever again?


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