Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
by Dusti Bowling
Recommended Ages: 10+
But then Aven discovers a couple of friends who are lonely for different-yet-similar reasons: each in his own way is different from the other kids, and prefers hiding to being stared at or called names. One has a form of Tourette syndrome that makes him afraid to eat in front of people or go into public places, like a movie theater. The other is a fat kid who is just tired of being picked on. Partly together, but mostly each at his or her own pace, these three kids learn to accept being different and discover the courage to stand out. Aven leads the charge, inspired by her parents to think of herself as a shining light. Meantime, back at the ranch (ha, ha), she solves a mystery that has a surprising connection to who she is.
This is a beautifully, lyrically written book with a touching message about accepting differences. It brims with laughs, tears, and the instantly relatable kind of drama that springs from honest disagreements between good but imperfect people. I found it personally moving. Among its attractions is a depiction of its Arizona setting, apparently drawn from the author's personal and affectionate experience - a setting that mirrors the story's theme of finding beauty in unusual places. Arizona native Dusti Bowling is also the author of the young adult books The Day We Met, Grace and Daisies, and The Boy Who Loved Me.