Sunday, June 24, 2012


According to Miss Volker, Norvelt was the creation of Eleanor Roosevelt.  The town was created to help a group of unfortunate families during the depression.  Miss Volker is one of the remaining original citizens of this tiny community. 

Jack gets to know Miss Volker and some of Norvelt's unique history when his mother volunteers him to help their elderly neighbor.  Most twelve year olds would be asked to mow the lawn, take out the garbage, or clean the garage, but Jack will be assisting Miss Volker in a different way.  He helps her write obituaries and deliver the finished copies to the local newspaper for publication.

Miss Volker is the local medical examiner and the town historian.  She promised Eleanor Roosevelt herself that she would see to it that all the original citizens would be honored with well-written obituaries upon their deaths.  Unfortunately, severe arthritis prevents Miss Volker from performing the task without some assistance.  That's where Jack comes in.

When Jack begins working for Miss Volker he discovers that the older citizens of the community are dying at a rather alarming rate.  He ends up not only helping with obituaries but also helping solve a mystery.  Is it possible that someone wants to wipe out the town of Norvelt?

Awarding winning author Jack Gantos shines in DEAD END IN NORVELT.  Quirky characters and history lessons combine to create a real page-turner.  Norvelt is a town where everyone must stay on their toes to keep up.  I found myself chuckling almost continuously.

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