I don't usually read YA fiction. I'm pleased my friend Kyla, who leads a YA book group, has marked it to-read. I highly recommend it.
This book is delicious. The writing is so good I tasted only a little bit at a time even though I wanted to scarf it down in one sitting. I didn't want it to be gone -- I was trying to make it last.
This is easily G or PG, I will let my daughter read it though she is half the heroine's age. There are some boy-girl issues but they are handled very tastefully. I'm more concerned about the sad descriptions of the main character Ellie grieving for her mother, which had me sobbing uncontrollably at times.
The writing is so bright I can't say enough about it! The humor is dry. And the story is one I've never explored. Ellie is on a quest to grow the biggest pumpkin in Iowa. A lot about this story will resonate with growers and farmers and anyone who has ever entered anything in an agricultural or county fair. This is a must-read!
I picked up this book because I have enjoyed Bauer's previous books, and the cover design with a big pumpkin on it got my curiousity up. I wasn't disappointed. Ellie, the main character, is very lovable. She has faults, which she realizes, but also has good qualities, which she has more trouble realizing. Richard, her cousin, is a "partial baseball star," a sophomore who lives like he's a step away from the big leagues and relates everything back to baseball. Ellie's father is a motivational speaker, and has a winning line for everything. And then there's Wes, the new kid in town, who is a award-winning corn grower and immediately attracts Ellie's attention. So this cast of characters come together to try to convince Max, a giant pumpkin, that he can go all the way and win the annual pumpkin weigh-in. But unfortunately there's a competitor, Cyril Pool, who has won the past four years and has no intentions of handing the title over to a 16-year old. Adventures ensue, the characters grow along with the pumpkin, and the whole story is very relatable. I'd be surprised if you weren't cheering Ellie on as the competition draws nearer.
Sqaushed is one of the most amazing books I've ever read.
As I've said about other Joan Bauer books,
The Character is me.
I'm the Character.
No matter how different or similar.
This is my favorite Joan Bauer book.
Dealing with a...
a touch of romance
a big competition
a weight problem
and an unsupportive, yet caring father,
this story makes you hope and love.
Anywhere ages 9+
I highly suggest reading it.