Ten Miles Past Normal

For Ages: 12 and up
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Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that “normal target.” She has to milk goats every day…and endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation--and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much.

It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life…or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal? Well, kind of everything. She knows that, of course, why else would she learn bass and join Jam Band, how else would she know to idolize infamous wild-child and high school senior Emma (her best friend Sarah’s older sister), why else would she get arrested while doing a school project on a local freedom school (jail was not part of the assignment). And, why else would she kind of be falling in "like" with a boy named Monster—yes, that is his real name. Janie was going for normal, but she missed her mark by about ten miles…and we mean that as a compliment.

Frances O’Roark Dowell’s fierce humor and keen eye make her YA debut literary and wise. In the spirit of John Green and E. Lockhart, Dowell’s relatable, quirky characters and clever, fluid writing prove that growing up gets complicated…and normal is WAY overrated.
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Book Details:
  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416995852 | 
  • March 2011 | 
  • Grades 7 and up
List Price $19.99

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
More Tales of the Amazing Farm Girl


No one can figure out where the terrible smell is coming from, but everyone on the bus this morning can smell it and has an opinion.

“Dude, I bet we just ran over a skunk!” yells out Stoner Guy No. 1 from the back of the bus. “That happened to us when I was a kid. We had to get rid of our car, ’cause the smell was, like, permanent.”

“No way, dude,” comes the reply from his compadre, Stoner Guy No. 2. “That’s not skunk. That is definitely fecund matter we’re smelling.”

Fecal,... see more

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