Thursday, March 17, 2011

Review: Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell

Ten Miles Past Normal
Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell

Smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that “normal target.” She has to milk goats every day…and endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation--and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much. It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life…or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal? Well, kind of everything. She knows that, of course, why else would she learn bass and join Jam Band, how else would she know to idolize infamous wild-child and high school senior Emma (her best friend Sarah’s older sister), why else would she get arrested while doing a school project on a local freedom school (jail was not part of the assignment). And, why else would she kind of be falling in "like" with a boy named Monster—yes, that is his real name. Janie was going for normal, but she missed her mark by about ten miles…and we mean that as a compliment. Frances O’Roark Dowell’s fierce humor and keen eye make her YA debut literary and wise. In the spirit of John Green and E. Lockhart, Dowell’s relatable, quirky characters and clever, fluid writing prove that growing up gets complicated…and normal is WAY overrated.

Publishes in US: Mar 22nd 2011
Standalone novel
Source: From publisher

My Review:

   Ten Miles Past Normal is quirky and easy read. Janie, the main character is easy to relate to, and her adventures are realistic. 
   The secondary characters, such as Monster, are wonderful and add so much to the story. Another thing that I like is that Janie's mom is present in her life, and portrayed as a "normal" if a bit clueless and a tad annoying at times mom. 
   I think its a good lesson how she realizes how other's opinions and thoughts are dictating her opinion and I liked how she accepted who she was. 
    This is a sweet contemporary, and I really enjoyed. 

I would love to hear what you think about this book and/or my review. 

Here's my video review if you like those:


  1. I really loved all of the characters in this book but especially Monster, who at first sounded intimidating but then revealed his lovable self.

  2. I agree. It's sweet when bad turns into loveable.

  3. Hi Brandi - popping over from YALitChat. I haven't read this one yet, but it sound very fun. Thanks for alerting me to it.
    I already love that the mom is present in her life (I have a bit of a rant on this scheduled for tomorrow). ;)

  4. I still need to add this to the TBR. I love reading contemporary novels, especially if there's a bit of romance (hopeless romantic, right here!). Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  5. Very nice review. I haven't read the book yet, but am adding it to my TBR list. Thanks.

  6. Great review! I forgot about the present mom in the book--it was really nice how she played a role in Janie's life in the book.

    Happy reading:)

  7. I enjoyed Dowell's middle grade book FALLING IN quite a bit and am looking forward to reading this one.


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