by Jack Gantos
Norvelt, Pennsylvania has always considered itself to be a special town. Built because Eleanor Roosevelt herself wanted more places built where everyone could have a house and a job and a life, the town has always prized itself on being a place where neighbors help each other. But now the jobs are fewer and people are moving away. When Jack accidentally fires his dad's rifle (the one he wasn't supposed to even touch), his mother makes him help out Miss Volker, the town's first and only medical examiner, as a punishment. As he helps her write obituaries, Jack discovers there's a lot more to the town than he ever thought. Norvelt has a lot of secrets, and Jack is the one who gets to discover them.
Dead End in Norvelt is a great read for tween boys. Jack is adventurous and relatable, this adventures with Miss Volker amusing and inventive. The book deftly weaves in a bit of history, reminding readers that there's a lot more to the places we know than we think.
Age Level: 4-5th Grade