Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Atheneum (March 22, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9781416995852
Source: publisher
Rating: YYY

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. Frances O’Roark Dowell’s fierce humor and keen eye make her YA debut literary and wise. In the spirit of John Green and E. Lockhart, Dowell’s relatable, quirky characters and clever, fluid writing prove that growing up gets complicated…and normal is WAY overrated.


As I began reading Ten Miles Past Normal I had no pre-conceived ideas or expectations, but I realized instantly that what I had before me was a quirky story with a protagonist that I could not help but adore.

This story is centered on Janie Gorman, a once city-gone farm girl extraordinaire that wants to be considered normal and not the girl with hay in her hair and goat pooh on her shoe. Can you say social suicide? Janie and her friend Sarah had grand plans for when they began High School but within her first few days Janie's dreams came to a screeching halt when her home life made her the "odd" man out at school. At first Janie tries to fit in but when she has deemed her quest as useless she realizes that embracing that what makes her different is her ticket to finding her niche.

It was refreshing to read a YA novel that introduced loving and caring parents instead of the usual MIA parents in teen reads. Their relationship with Janie was honest and loving and it gave the story it's roots that anchored Janie. I also admired Janie's initial fear and how she used that to propell her forward. If your looking for a story that advocates embracing who you are and where you come from, then this is something you would enjoy.


If you interested in this great read just drop a line in the comments section and tell me why you would like to read Ten Miles Past Normal and I will select a winner on April 24th (sunday) 2011 midnight PST. Good Luck

19 comments on "Give-a-way and Review: Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell"

LindsayWrites wrote: April 12, 2011 at 8:57 AM

i want to read it b/c the cover rocks!

americangirlie1991 AT yahoo DOT com

Maya wrote: April 12, 2011 at 9:33 AM

I want to read it because the summary promises a quirky and interesting protagonist and I have not yet read a bad review about it. Thanks for the review, and for the giveaway!

Aydrea wrote: April 12, 2011 at 9:35 AM

I want to read it because the story sounds awesome. And the main character sounds like one I would like. Great review!


Vivien wrote: April 12, 2011 at 10:17 AM

It sounds like a refreshing contemporary read. I've been trying to find another great one. They are hard to come by. Loved the review.

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

The Lovely Getaway wrote: April 12, 2011 at 10:19 AM

All the reviews I've read for it have been great! I don't think i've read one bad review! can't wait to read it for myself :)

Diana @The Lovely Getaway

Britta wrote: April 12, 2011 at 12:56 PM

I want to win this book because it is on the top of my to-read pile! Every review I have read has had plenty of good things to say about it. And the whole premise sounds really interesting (and I secretly wish I grew up on a farm). I like how you mention in your review that the parents are loving and more involved than lots of YA parents. That sounds interesting because with the YA I've read, most parents are either messed up, absent physically/emotionally, never talked about, or mean. There are too many situations when the parents are involved (unless the book is about the parent/child relationship... even then).

Ilikethesebooksblog (at) gmail (dot) com

Thanks so much for this opportunity! And great review ;)


Nicole wrote: April 12, 2011 at 1:00 PM

I want to read this book because it is at the top of my wishlist and would really enjoy this great read.


Vampires and Tofu wrote: April 12, 2011 at 7:22 PM

I REALLY want to read this one for a couple of reasons...love that the parental relationship is a good one and love that the protag cares about something OTHER than hot boys.

Thanks for the chance to win!


Bee wrote: April 13, 2011 at 6:24 AM
This comment has been removed by the author.

Bee wrote: April 13, 2011 at 6:25 AM
This comment has been removed by the author.

Jessy wrote: April 13, 2011 at 6:26 AM

I want to read this because Janie sounds so eccentric and fun. I want to hear more about her antics.

Bee wrote: April 13, 2011 at 6:27 AM

It looks funky, fresh and quirky. And boy, I LOVE quirky and I really want this. And normal IS over-rated :P

Also, can anyone pass up such a cool title?!

PS. Really sorry about the deleted comments prior to this. Blame the typos.

Aleetha wrote: April 13, 2011 at 8:03 AM

I'd love to read this book because I'd love to read more contemporary book. Besides this book has a great part in its family relation as you have said in your review above

aleetha.ally at gmail dot com

Bookish in a Box wrote: April 13, 2011 at 4:44 PM

I've wanted to read Ten Miles Past Normal since I first saw the cover, not to mention that I'm so far past normal, this book and I are an awesome match.

whatinabox at gmail dot com

-petit wrote: April 13, 2011 at 8:17 PM

I want to read it, because since the first time that I read the synopsis, I thought that this book would be awesome! And the cover is pretty too XDD


The Story Queen wrote: April 14, 2011 at 2:55 PM

I want to read it! The summary sounds promising and I've heard really good things about it from other bloggers :) Thanks for the review and giveaway!


Ashley wrote: April 14, 2011 at 5:01 PM

I've been hearing a lot of really great things about this book! It sounds just exactly like something I'd love! :)

basicallyamazingbooks [at] gmail [dot] com

Chloe Booklover wrote: April 16, 2011 at 5:53 AM

I loved her other book, The Secret Language of girls, so I'm hoping this one is just as good!

Thanks for the chance :)

Dinky wrote: April 16, 2011 at 10:48 AM

I want to read it because this cover is beautiful and book sounds great :) Thanks for this giveaway!


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