Dead End in Norvelt

By Jack Gantos

Newbery Medal Winner, 2012

When I glanced at my Middle School Battle of the Books list and saw Dead End in Norvelt, I nearly jumped for joy.

In the beginning of the book, you don’t really expect for a young boy to fire off a WWII Japanese rifle, and cause the town’s obituary writer to drop her hearing aid down the toilet.

Now that the damage has been done, Jack is “grounded for life” and has to help waxy-handed Ms. Volker write the town’s obituaries — and there are a lot of them to write as the original bunch of Norvelt are dieing off. Another thing to add to the sandwich is that Jack always has a nosebleed when he is scared or nervous, but Ms. Volker, who has to heat up her hands on a stove, fixes that.

I like this book because it’s really funny even though it talks about death.  It made me want to write obituaries for Ms. Volker, but I wouldn’t want to be operated on by her.


You can read more about the book at the author’s website or the publisher’s website (which has videos, too!).

Be sure to check out Jack Gantos’ bio.