Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Squashed" is a colossally good book

And now for something different ... .

If you like food -- and why else would you be reading a food -- I wager you like to find out where your food comes from. You read or you watch the Food network.

Here is a book you HAVE to read. Now, don't let the fact that it's Young Adult fiction put you off. I don't usually read that genre either. But I was drawn to the giant pumpkin on this book's cover in Frostburg's Main Street Books and once I read just a few paragraphs of the story, I was hooked!

This book is delicious. The writing is so good I tasted only a little bit at a time even though I wanted to scarf it down in one sitting. I didn't want it to be gone -- I was trying to make it last.

The writing is so bright I can't say enough about it! The humor is dry. And the story is one I've never explored. Ellie is on a quest to grow the biggest pumpkin in Iowa. A lot about this story will resonate with growers and farmers and anyone who has ever entered anything in an agricultural or county fair.

This is easily G or PG. I will let my daughter read it though she is half the heroine's age. There are some boy-girl issues in the subplots but they are handled very tastefully. I'm more concerned about the sad descriptions of the main character, Ellie, grieving for her mother, which had me sobbing uncontrollably at times.

But the witty and laugh-out-loud funny parts make up for the tears. The author, Joan Bauer, really gets inside the head of someone who grows vegetables competitively -- exploring and exposing her fears and her feelings toward her prized produce.

"Squashed" is thoroughly enjoyable. I hope you read it and come back and comment your impressions.

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