Dead End in Norvelt is a very good story about a boy named Jack Gantos (the author gave the character his own name as it is a somewhat true story) who lives in the 1960s in a little town called Norvelt, founded by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. When Jack is grounded for the summer for using his dad’s WWII binoculars to watch a war movie at the drive in that he couldn’t go see, and then proceeding to accidentally shoot a WWII Japanese rifle at the screen, he receives an unusual chore as a punishment: typing obituaries for old Miss Volker across the street. Jack is told that it was Miss Volker’s duty to Mrs. Roosevelt to type the obituaries of all of Norvelt’s original citizens before she moves away or passes away. While busying himself typing the obituaries and having to spend the rest of his time in his room, he still manages to go on strange misadventures with his friends, family, and neighbors involving a two seater airplane, a plastic skeleton, cornstalks, dead rodents, poisonous mushrooms, Hells Angels, a Halloween costume, Girl Scout cookies… and murder? This is a one of a kind book, so I can’t really recommend it to people who like a certain genre, however, if you are looking for an unusual, funny, interesting, and sometimes creepy murder mystery book disguised as a realistic fiction novel, Dead End in Norvelt is a great book for you.
Reviewer Grade: 7