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Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again.
Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all . . . even without arms.
There are not enough books out there that deal with the sensitive subjects that Bowling covers in her new debut Middle Grades novel. Aven (what an awesome name by the way) is as unique and charming as the Stagecoach Pass setting. Middle grades readers will love the mysteries surrounding the Stagecoach Pass as Aven and Connor bond over their disabilities. Aven's eclectic personality enhances the stories she tells as she meets new people, making it impossible not to fall in love with her. Middle school is one of the toughest parts of growing up, and Bowling sheds light on dealing with disabilities and finding peers who are truly caring and supportive. While the ending does become a bit predictable, the characters carry an endearing quality all the way through.