Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

by Dusti Bowling (2017)

Meet Aven Green.  She’s a completely typical middle schooler.  She goes to school, plays soccer, strums the guitar, and eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.  But Aven does have one small difference…she’s armless.  No arms.

Her parents have always treated her just as they would have treated anyone else.  They’ve encouraged Aven to do anything and everything she wants to do.  They accept and love her for whom she is.  Now, if only Aven’s new school could do the same.

Dusti Bowling paints a poignant coming-of-age story that follows Aven as she struggles to find meaning in her life.  When struggles surmount and unanswered questions abound, one can begin to feel insignificant.  Through the love of her family, support of her friends, and sheer moxy, Aven finds her place in her new town and school.

Essential to Aven are her motley crew of friends, Cheeto-eating Zion and barking Connor.  Connor has Tourette’s Syndrome and both Aven and readers learn plenty about each other, and themselves, by attending Connor’s support group.  Zion is one of those misfits whom no one wants to be friends with – except Aven and Zion.

Together they set out to solve the mystery of Stagecoach Pass, the amusement part where she lives. Through her sense of humor, strong-will, and therapeutic blogging, Aven solves the mysteries of Stagecoach Pass and the mystery herself.  The books abounds with messages of perseverance, empathy, and resilience that every middle reader can understand.