May 21, 2018

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24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling | SLJ Review

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redstarBOWLING, Dusti. 24 Hours in Nowhere. 256p. Sterling. Sept. 2018. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9781454929246.

Gr 5-7 –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 12-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

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