24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling on Amazon
As a lover of middle school novels, I enjoyed this adventure that's short in elapsed time, long in lives transformed—though the dense kids in the cave descriptions that completely bored me probably would interest or entice most middle-school kids.
Long ago the Sonoran desert in Southern Arizona claimed my heart. I've passed through Casa Grande that's a named landmark for the book's characters; I've seen urban and remote rural Arizona nowheres. I know all indigenous Arizona-born people aren't from the same nation, and I wonder around the phenomena of the current state of Arizona being and acting both Old South and Wild West, so I easily placed myself in the southwestern geography.
In Dusti Bowling's 24 Hours in Nowhere, European descent White, Indigenous, and Latinx kids all reside somewhere in the tiny place called Nowhere (tiny, yes, yet this Nowhere has two bars); all have experienced fractured and scattered families of origin; all need a future. You don't need to have spent many hours as a parent of teens or tweens or whiled away much time online to realize how mean both girls and boys can be; if you've been on Facebook much, you've likely encountered more than a few chronologically mature adults that chronically personify meanness. Those unfortunates just may be what happens when kids grow up with unchecked meanness.
Especially shared difficulties that necessitate finding a solution together can create understanding and compassion between people of any age, and these kids found themselves in exactly those circumstances. To an extent the narrative plays through in expected ways, but Bowling redemptively brings both flawed and graced humanity into a chronicle that concludes with all the kids knowing each is incomplete without the others, resolving friendship and togetherness during the next school year.
"Our table has an open-door policy," Tohono O’odham girl Rossi said. "Anyone is welcome." [page 256]
my amazon review: a desert adventure in friendship