Reviews for Middle of Somewhere

Booklist Reviews 2007 March #2
Following her mother's emergency knee surgery, 12-year-old Ronnie Sparks becomes her brother's keeper. The task is daunting because 7-year-old Gee suffers from severe ADHD. In an effort to speed up her recovery, Mom arranges for her father to take the kids on a road trip. Pop reluctantly agrees, and they all set out for Kansas, helping Pop search for wind-power-generating sites. Ronnie quickly becomes a buffer between Pop and Gee, stuck in the impossible position of trying to contain her brother's outrageous behaviors so that Pop won't throw a tantrum and drive everyone home. Amusing chapter-heading quotations, taken from a self-help book Ronnie has just read, lighten the mood of the story, even as Ronnie's outlook on her personal situation continues to deteriorate. The main characters are particularly well drawn and believable, and readers will root for both children as they attempt to overcome the obstacles placed in front of them. Fans of Jack Gantos' Joey Pigza series are sure to appreciate Ronnie and Gee's excellent adventure. ((Reviewed March 15, 2007)) Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Spring
Veronica and her brother Gee accompany their grandfather in his RV from Missouri to Kansas. While Pop, a wind prospector, searches for future wind farm sites, Veronica must act as a buffer between her hyperactive, trouble-seeking brother and grumpy Pop. Skillful character development and a snappy plot with unexpected twists and turns contribute to this enjoyably bumpy ride through the flatlands. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2007 April #2
Ronnie takes care of her ADHD little brother, Gee, with more responsibility than usual for a 13-year-old, while developing her own philosophy from a self-help book. Opportunity for a summer vacation emerges when Ronnie's grandfather arrives at their Missouri home in a brand new RV and a business plan to travel through Kansas for some "wind prospecting." Mom seizes the chance to recuperate from a broken ankle and convinces Pops to take the children for two weeks. But traveling with an older, quirky loner not used to children proves to be less of a vacation and more of a thrill ride with some alarming moments for all three. Gee's overactive exuberance and impulsive behavior are quite a challenge for Ronnie, left to babysit at each campsite while Pops is out working. Quoting from her book, Ronnie tries to keep a positive outlook, but when Gee disappears to follow a carnival performer, and her grandfather gets hurt in a motorcycle accident, things get a bit serious, if not intriguing, before they are neatly resolved. While Cheaney provides plenty of "oh-my-gosh" scenarios with Gee's escapades, the story, as the trip, tends to drag on a bit until the climactic conclusion, despite the crafty, descriptive first-person narrative. (Fiction. 12-14) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2007 July

Gr 4-6-- When Ronnie's mother injures her knee, Ronnie and her five-year-old brother are sent on a trip with the grandfather they barely know to give her time to heal. It's clearly necessary for the kids to leave their mother in peace, as Gee's ADHD makes him a wearying companion. Lured by Pop's spanking new RV, the siblings are initially willing to travel with him as he scouts out suitable wind-farm locations across Kansas. His involvement with his grandchildren is grudging at best. Ronnie frequently feels hung out to dry while Gee bounces them from one untenable situation into another: climbing to the top of a humongous steam shovel where he hangs paralyzed by fear, trying to hide a stray dog who's stowing away in the trailer, etc. It's only when Gee disappears that Ronnie discovers the depth of Pop's feelings for them. There are some funny moments among the antic-paced events of this novel, and readers will sympathize with Ronnie's situation as she tries to fashion a reasonable facsimile of a vacation out of her difficult babysitting assignment. It's hard to know whether the experience is more satisfying or exhausting.--Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY

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