Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

Dusti Bowling

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
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Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

Dusti Bowling

Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again.   

Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all…even without arms.   

Review

Aven thinks her dad has gone crazy when he announces that the family are going to move to Arizona and manage a run-down old country-and-western theme park. She dreads moving from her home town, where everyone knows her, to a whole new place and school full of people staring at her, wondering how she eats or puts on pants with no arms. However, she’s not long at her new school before she meets Connor. Connor has Tourette syndrome, also known as Tourette’s, and the two kids bond over their differences.

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus never lets you forget Aven has no arms – the author makes sure to remind you that Aven eats cheetos with her toes or puts pants on with a hook. It’s the same with Connor’s Tourette’s – the challenges of being a person who barks and spits food when he eats are never ignored. The kids’ disabilities never overshadow who they are, but they are also never pushed to the back. Very quickly, their disabilities become almost unremarkable and, by the end of the book, you’re just as happy joining them at the (hilarious) Tourette’s support group meetings as you are spending time with them solving the mystery of the theme park. This is a great book for fans of Wonder aged 10+.


Dani Solomon is the assistant manager at Readings Kids.

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