Yolanda Ridge

Middle Grade Author

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

on April 13, 2018

Title: Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

Author: Dusti Bowling

Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books

Reviewer: Yolanda Ridge

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2345-9

It’s hard not to instantly connect with the main character of this book, 13-year-old Aven Green, when she begins by sharing some of the stories she  makes up when she’s tired of “telling (people) the same boring story about being born without arms”. Right from the beginning, we know that Aven’s focused on what she can do, not what she can’t do. And thanks to her adoptive parents she’s learned to do a lot on her own. So much so, that there were times while I was reading that I forgot Aven”lacked Armagh”.

Because Aven has always gone to the same Kansas school, her friends and fellow students have stopped seeing her differently as well. But when Aven’s family moves to Arizona so her parents can manage Stagecoach Pass, a worn down, wild west theme park, everything changes. But even as befriends a boy with Tourette’s syndrome who’s really struggling with what he describes as a disability, her attitude remains almost too good to be true.

The story includes a mystery and a satisfying (if farfetched) ending, while providing various perspectives on ability and disability. There were times when I felt that Aven and her friends acted younger than their age but I really enjoyed seeing the world through their eyes. Recommended for aged 9 to 13.