Ten Miles Past Normal was last modified: May 9th, 2014 by Jenny Sawyer
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Posted on by Jenny Sawyer
Title: The Hired Girl
Author: Laura Amy Schlitz
Title: Bellweather Rhapsody
Author: Kate Racculia
Author: Frances O’Roark Dowell
Genre: Fiction (YA)
Year published: 2011
When Janie Gorman first persuaded her parents to move to a farm, she was ecstatic. Little did she realize what a bummer it would be for her reputation once she hit high school. Now a freshman, Janie still loves the goats, but not her reputation as “goat girl.” What’s a smart, ambitious high schooler to do? In Janie’s case, the jam band, an awesome civil rights project, and a cute boy or two are all stops on her journey toward normal … or at least as “normal” as Janie will ever get.
Janie Gorman used to be the enthusiastic little kid who persuaded her parents to move to a farm. Now in ninth grade, Janie is an older, wiser, totally-mortified teenager who realizes that being designated “goat girl” isn’t going to land her in the popular crowd.
What’s a smart, sarcastic high schooler to do? That’s the focus of Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell.
Janie’s plan for surviving high school is pretty simple: Act as normal as possible. Of course, showing up with goat poo on her shoe pretty much kills that plan. As does her mother’s blog, which chronicles Janie’s family’s farm exploits for all the world to read.
But life improves dramatically when Janie joins the jam band and grows a little more confident about grooving to her own beat. Getting noticed by her crush, Jeremy Fitch, and being befriended by rocker Monster also boosts Janie’s profile—and her self-assurance.
Overall, Ten Miles Past Normal is a satisfying, if not slightly predictable story about the trials of high school. The drama shows up at just the right moments to keep things interesting. And Janie is both unsure enough and feisty enough to make her a character worth rooting for.
Any reader hoping to discover that they’re not alone in their strangeness will relate to Janie’s struggle first to fit in—and finally, to stand out.