Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
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+.