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The Middle of Somewhere

by Cheaney, J. B.


Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 9780375837906]

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Gr 4–6—When Ronnie's mother injures her knee, Ronnie and her five-year-old brother are sent on a trip with the grandfather they barely know to give her time to heal. It's clearly necessary for the kids to leave their mother in peace, as Gee's ADHD makes him a wearying companion. Lured by Pop's spanking new RV, the siblings are initially willing to travel with him as he scouts out suitable wind-farm locations across Kansas. His involvement with his grandchildren is grudging at best. Ronnie frequently feels hung out to dry while Gee bounces them from one untenable situation into another: climbing to the top of a humongous steam shovel where he hangs paralyzed by fear, trying to hide a stray dog who's stowing away in the trailer, etc. It's only when Gee disappears that Ronnie discovers the depth of Pop's feelings for them. There are some funny moments among the antic-paced events of this novel, and readers will sympathize with Ronnie's situation as she tries to fashion a reasonable facsimile of a vacation out of her difficult babysitting assignment. It's hard to know whether the experience is more satisfying or exhausting.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY

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