Jack Gantos is preparing himself for a summer of baseball and lounging when he gets in trouble for mowing down his mom’s cornfield and shooting off his dad’s Japanese rifle. Jack, instead of spending time with friends, is commissioned to help his neighbor Ms. Volker , who is crippled by arthritis, write obituaries for the quickly diminishing population of Norvelt. As more and more originally founders of Norvelt die off, Jack becomes suspicious of the causes.
This Newbery winner is a delightful tale of a small town and the people in it. Jack’s character is vibrant and funny. His relationship with Ms. Volker is endearing, and the mystery surrounding the town keeps you interested. The narrative is both humorous and relatable. This book would be great for middle school or high school students.