Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

By Dusti Bowling,

Book cover of Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

Book description

The paperback edition of the bestselling middle grade novel about a spunky girl born without arms and a boy with Tourette syndrome navigating the challenges of middle school, disability, and friendship - all while solving a mystery in a western theme park. Aven Green loves to tell people that she…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This fun, heartfelt story is about a middle school girl, Aven, that was born without arms. When her family moves to Arizona, she has to start over and make new friends. Moving is challenging for any kid, but especially difficult if you are in middle school and look very different from your peers.

Aven is funny, authentic, and self-aware. Watching her navigate the challenges in her life is inspiring and encourages readers to question their assumptions and judgments about themselves and others. This story includes a mystery, some adventure, as well as a beautiful reflection on acceptance and friendship.

From Jessica's list on the ins and outs of friendship.

The main character of this book, Aven Green is a spunky, funny 13-year-old who was born with no arms but has never let it stop her. It is her new friend, Connor, a boy with Tourette’s, who is the reason I’ve included the book on my list. I knew almost nothing about Tourette’s before reading this book, and I learned a ton. It also made me think about how I react to people who are neurodivergent and/or have disabilities. Aven and Connor embark on an adventure to solve a mystery at the amusement park Aven’s family manages. The plot is…

From Sara's list on neurodivergent characters.

This book really made me think about disabilities. We all have them, but can you imagine going through middle school without having arms? Aven was born without arms (sometimes she tells people she lost them wrestling an alligator), and Connor barks at Aven because he has Tourette's syndrome. Together with new friend Zion, the three work at a rundown western theme park, while also getting entangled in solving a mystery. Poignant, funny, and a testament to what a kid needs most during the middle school years is often found in a good friendship.

From Amy's list on with three best friends.

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