Middle grade reads always surprise me with their ability to be both humorous and also touching, discussing deeper topics through the lens of harmless adventures. 24 Hours in Nowhere manages to entertain as well as touch the deeper parts of hard life that many kids face despite their childhood.
The Story: Gus lives in nowhere. Literally. There is nothing to do in his town but race, even if he is not particularly good at it, and be bullied by local jerk, Bo. This is how one of the best bikers in town, Rossi, loses her bike, by standing up to Bo. Gus can’t let her lose her one shot at getting out of Nowhere. He himself has big dreams of leaving their small town. Instead, he devises a plan to get the bike back by trekking to the abandoned gold mine with former best friend Jessie, Bo’s minion Matthew, and Rossi herself. Together, this ragtag group of kids might discover that no matter how small their town may be, sometimes the greatest friends can come out of nowhere.
My Thoughts: I’ll be honest, I’m not always a fan of slower contemporary fiction, but 24 Hours in Nowhere surprised me with its depth. Small towns are hard; broken families even harder. Dusti Bowling manages to weave a story that is entertaining, but also is touching with its character-driven plot.
Parental Advisory: There is a little bit of middle-school violence, bullying, and crudity, but nothing majorly bad. Honestly, this is a pretty clean read, but if parents are super concerned, read through first. You might find yourself getting a little bit emotional.