Excerpt from Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme. Read the rules and more teasers at The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along.

I don’t often say this, but I loved this book! I had scrolled past Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling more than once, but I’m glad I stopped and looked at it this time. This is a young adult novel about Aven, a girl born with no arms. Having moved to Arizona halfway through the school year, she has to make new friends. A big challenge after spending her whole life in Kansas, where she grew up with the same kids since kindergarten.

The portrayal of Aven’s disability and abilities, along with the challenges of her friend Connor, who has Tourette’s Syndrome, and an overweight boy named Zion, feels realistic and refreshing. It didn’t come off to me as inspiration porn. It’s about kids dealing with life, from the usual middle school crap to figuring out how to manage physical challenges and the social challenges of stares, questions, and trying to be like everyone else. For good measure, Aven is also dealing with mysteries of the past at the amusement park her parents are running and how they intersect with her own past.

I had never realized just how different I was until the day that horrible kid shouted about my arms having fallen off. For the first time I found myself aware of my total armlessness, and I guess I felt like I was sort of naked all of a sudden. 

Dusti Bowling, Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

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.


  1. I love the title. And the book sounds good. Thanks for sharing it. My Teaser is from a novella in the Charley Davidson series this week.

  2. This sounds like a book all kids, and adults, should read.

Tell me what you think!

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