Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Monday, April 2, 2018

24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling

How I Heard About It:  One of my favorite middle-grade novels from 2017 was The Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling.  I loved the story so much that I chose it for a Breakfast with Books book club selection for this current year.  We Skyped with Dusti and had a wonderful conversation about the story and her characters.  I was thrilled when the publisher sent me ARC of her upcoming novel.  

What It Is About:  Who wants to live in Nowhere?  Not many, and certainly not 13-year old Gus.  This town has nothing and Gus knows he doesn't want to get "stuck" here like many of the residents do.  His life in Nowhere is made even more difficult by the town bully Bo.  Just as Bo is about to make Gus eat a cactus, Gus is rescued by Rossi.  Gus is relived to be rescued, but a bit embarrassed that it is by a girl.  Rossi is willing to give up her prized dirt bike in return for Gus' safety.  Gus makes it his mission to get the bike back from Bo and return it to his friend Rossi.  Bo is willing to return the bike if Gus enters the dangerous "Dead Frenchman Mine" and retrieve some gold.  This mine has been the center of stories for years.  Central to his story is how people don't return from the mine.  Gus is scared to fulfill this dare, but feels a little better when he learns that Rossi, along with two other kids, will be joining him on his mission.  One boy is a buddy of Bo's and one is a "former" friend of Gus.  The four of them venture into the cave/mine and all experience life changing events.  

What I Thought Of It:  I was excited to read the book and the story did NOT disappoint.  This was one of those middle-grade novels that once you start reading you don't ever want to put down.  After reading, and loving, Dusti's first novel; I wasn't sure what to expect with her second.  I immediately was drawn into Gus' world and my heart went out to him.  Actually I connected to all the characters because they were so well written.  Not only did this story have incredible characters, but it was an action packed story.  As I read about the kids in the mine, I could visualize them and was so nervous for them on more than one occasion.  Strong characters and a great plot were two strong aspects of the story, but to me the best part was the "life lessons" that the characters learned during their experience in the dangerous mine.  This story has it all.  A must-read!  

Who Should Read It:  The novel is perfect for the fourth, fifth, and sixth grade reader.  I also know that middle-school readers will enjoy just as much.  As soon as I finished, I brought it into my classroom, book-talked it, and now have students reading it.  If you read Dusti's first novel, then you need to be on the look out for her second book in September of 2018.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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