Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell

Title: Ten Miles Past Normal
Author: Frances O’Roark Dowell
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Atheneum
Pages: 225 (e-ARC)
Genre: YA, Comtemporary
Source: Galley Grab*
Buy the Book: Amazon | Book Depository

Summary via Goodreads:

Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that “normal target.” She has to milk goats every day…and endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation–and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much. 

It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life…or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal? Well, kind of everything. She knows that, of course, why else would she learn bass and join Jam Band, how else would she know to idolize infamous wild-child and high school senior Emma (her best friend Sarah’s older sister), why else would she get arrested while doing a school project on a local freedom school (jail was not part of the assignment). And, why else would she kind of be falling in “like” with a boy named Monster—yes, that is his real name. Janie was going for normal, but she missed her mark by about ten miles…and we mean that as a compliment.

I heartily enjoyed reading this book! I don’t really know what to expect from Frances Dowell since this is her very first book I’ve read. But I’m telling you, Ten Miles Past Normal is way beyond disappointment! This is my kind of book or story when it comes to Contemporary or Realistic Fiction genres. Not too much complicated yet very captivating and highly entertaining.
Frances Dowell‘s writing was brilliant and so vivid. The plot was really great and Frances did an amazing job on characterization as well, thus, the characters are all so lovely that it’s just impossible not to like them. They are all so believable and vibrant and dynamic!

Janie is this quirky, fun and typical fourteen-year-old girl but not really. She lives in farm (which is originally  the idea of her 9 year-old self that she later regrets) with her father, little sister and her mother who runs a blog about their life on the farm and making her “almost” celebrity in their town because of it. She’s got a bestfriend Sarah, who is likely going to be the next president in the near future and Emma, Sarah’s sister, who is wild in a different way. And then there’s Monster, the red-headed and six-foot tall guy who is actually sweet and totally unique in his own way.

Beside the characters, I also love the humor on this one, there are ALWAYS laugh-out-loud moments on every chapter so it never gets boring. 

Ten Miles Past Normal is a sweet, fun and completely heartwarming story that teenagers can easily relate to. I’m giving this a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars and I highly recommend this to those who wants a fluffy yet utterly  touching read.

Cover Thoughts: 4.5 out 5 Totally loved it! I like the fact that Janie’s carrying her bass guitar here since it plays quite a role on the story. And of course, the their farm.

*I received this advance galley via Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much, Galley Grab!

Challenges: 100 Books In A Year Reading Challenge; 2011 DAC


  1. Lilly Bear ♡

    March 15, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Hey Mia! How have you been lately? Your blog is just as lovely as ever 🙂
    Ooh, I've been seeing this book around quite a lot lately. Janie sounds like such a fun protagonist! I love quirky people. I'll definitely be adding it to my TBR pile now. Thanks for the review!

  2. Katie

    March 16, 2011 at 4:16 AM

    I am so looking forward to reading this book when it comes out! What you described – “Not too much complicated yet very captivating and highly entertaining” – is exactly what I've loved about Dowell's middle grade books, and I can't wait to see how she handles teen characters. Thanks for the review!

  3. Mia

    March 16, 2011 at 7:41 AM

    Hello, Lilly & Katie! Thank you girls! I'm sure you're all going to enjoy this as much I did, it's fun and light and just very entertaining! 😉

    Thank for visiting my blog! <33

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