Saturday, February 26, 2011

Waiting for Normal

Connor, L. (2008). Waiting for Normal. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

Plot Summary:
Addie has only ever known glimpses of normal. Her family is full of twists and turns; her father died when she was young, leaving her with just Mommers, and her paternal grandfather. Then came along Dwight, her stepfather, followed by her half sisters, "the littles." When her mom and Dwight split, Dwight got custody of Addie's half sisters and she went to live in an old trailer with Mommers. Addie tries to make a normal life for herself living in a trailer on a busy street corner. She befriends the employees of a mini-mart on the opposite corner, who become more like family as her mother spends increasingly more nights away from the trailer. Addie begins to get glimpses of a normal home life as she visits Dwight, his new girlfriend Hannah, and the littles at their home in upstate New York, but the pain of having to go home to an empty trailer becomes too much to bear. But there is another twist in store for Addie's life, she may know normal yet.

Whenever I read books like this, they make me so unbelievably sad that there are children experiencing situations similar to Addie's. This is a sad, yet inspiring story of a 12 year-old girl and her incredible resilience to overcome a self-absorbed and neglectful mother and create wonderful bonds and family with an odd mix of people. The author succeeds in creating a bond between Addie and the reader, witnessing her navigating the already tumultuous tween years with the added strain of her unfortunate family situation. The reader is rooting for Addie throughout the entire book and almost when her case seems hopeless, there is a glimmer of hope and the most happiest of endings.

realistic fiction

Reading Level:
Ages 9 - 12

Similar Books:

single-parent, loss, family, relationships, divorce, depression, dyslexia

New York Public Library's "One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing"
School Library Journal Best Book
ALA Notable Children’s Book
ALA Best of the Best Books for Young Adults
ALA Top 10 Best Book for Young Adults
Schneider Family Book Award
ALA Best Book for Young AdultsTexas Lone Star Reading List
Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choice

Character Names/Descriptions:
Addison Schmeeter (Addie): 12 year-old girl, lives with her mom in a trailer on a street corner, has an incredibly positive attitude
Mommers: Addie's mom, disappears for days at a time with her new boyfriend, suffers from depression
Dwight: Addie's step-dad, father to her little half-sisters, loves and supports Addie, becomes her adopted father
Soula: works at the mini-mart across the street from Addie's trailer, has cancer, becomes a close friend to Addie

Addie must overcome the twists and turns in her life, attempting to find normal among her life that is anything but.

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