Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
Series: Life of a Cactus #1
Author: Dusti Bowling
Narrator: Karissa Vacker
Published: September 5, 2017
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 5-7, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again.
Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all . . . even without arms.
Life of a Cactus is a novel I read ( I actually listened to the audiobook) for June’s prompt for #Diversathon: Which is a main character with a disability. And again, Life of a Cactus has two main characters with disabilities: Aven was born without arms and Connor who has Tourette’s Syndrome. This novel is a middle grades novel that fits in 100% with that age group. And surprisingly, I really adored this novel!
These are characters that you love and the writing helps you understand them completely with their discomfort with their disability at that age of middle school where they are already experiencing so much change. I revered Aven who takes her disability as it is. She is energetic, kind, and upbeat, but also has that uncertainty of her age. In addition to all the life changes she is experiencing; she has to pick up her life and move because of dad’s new job. She is not happy with this as all the kids are now used to her and she gets along good. Imagine starting a new middle school and you have no arms!
Aven connects with Connor who is a bit of a loner who has Tourette’s. Life of a Cactus gives a very positive portrayal of what someone with Tourette’s is going through including the fear of going out in public. Life of a Cactus really gives the reader an insight of what someone with Tourette’s goes through. I wish I had had this book in middle school as there were a couple of boys in school with Tourette’s. Nothing was every really explained to us with what they had and you just got used to the noises they made. And one ended up getting in trouble a lot because curse words would come out. I guess back in middle school staff did not have a good understanding of Tourette’s.
Life of a Cactus also shows the struggle of Aven’s parents with a lack of job and adjusting to the new job which can be a difficult one. There is also a small mystery that comes to the forefront in the last part of the novel with a conclusion that is a bit unbelievable, but I did not let that mystery hamper my enjoyment of this novel.
Life of a Cactus is one I definitely recommend for middle schoolers! I don’t recall anything that would be inappropriate for that age group in this novel. In fact, many readers need to read this one!
July’s host is Kesara at readswithkesara over at Instagram. She is having a giveaway of One book valuing up to $20 from the Book Depository or Amazon (for US based winner) Be sure to check out her Instagram for full details on that giveaway.
Be sure to check out her YouTube Channel!