Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances Dowell

74%

43 Critic Reviews

Janie's narration is sarcastic, contemplative, and sweet, which keeps this offbeat portrait of a tender age light yet believable.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

From bestselling author Frances O’Roark Dowell, a “funny and winning” (Kirkus Reviews) tale of one teen’s quest for normalcy—and the much more exciting detours she takes along the way.

Janie Gorman is smart and creative and a little bit funky…but what she really wants to be is normal. Because living on an isolated farm with her modern-hippy parents is decidedly not normal, no matter how delicious the goat cheese. High school gives Janie the chance to prove to her suburban peers that she’s just like them, but before long she realizes normal is completely overrated, and pretty dull.
     If she’s going to learn how to live large (and forget the haters), Janie will have to give up the quest and make room in her life for things from the fringe—like jam band, righteous chocolate, small acts of great bravery, and a boy named Monster.
     Ten Miles Past Normal is a quirky road map for life—and also a reminder that detours are not about missing out, but about finding a new way home.
 

About Frances Dowell

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Frances O'Roark Dowell is the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of Dovey Coe, which won the Edgar Award; Where I'd Like to Be; the bestselling The Secret Language of Girls and its sequel The Kind of Friends We Used to Be; Chicken Boy; Shooting the Moon, which was awarded the Christopher Medal; the Phineas L. MacGuire series; and Falling In. She lives with her husband and two sons in Durham, North Carolina. Connect with Frances online at FrancesDowell.com.
 
Published March 22, 2011 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. 226 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Children's Books. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Ten Miles Past Normal
All: 43 | Positive: 36 | Negative: 7

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on May 09 2011

Janie's narration is sarcastic, contemplative, and sweet, which keeps this offbeat portrait of a tender age light yet believable.

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Teen Reads

Excellent
Reviewed by Norah Piehl on Mar 22 2011

Everything about the deliberately quirky TEN MILES PAST NORMAL feels just a shade off-kilter, but just like Janie herself, readers will probably discover that there's not much wrong with quirky after all.

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Common Sense Media

Below average
Reviewed by Darienne Stewart on Jan 01 2011

The characters' maturity may strain credibility a bit.

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Story Circle Book Reviews

Excellent
Reviewed by Judy Miller on May 13 2011

I really enjoyed it, and as I reflected on my teen years, Janie's issues and concerns resonated with me.

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Ccls Young Adult Spot

Excellent
Reviewed by Lisa U. on Jan 13 2012

Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell is a sweet coming-of-age story.

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Children's Literature Network

Excellent
Reviewed by Children's Literature Network on Aug 23 2011

The voice is immediately engaging and the characters are well developed and unique.

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Story Snoops

Good
Reviewed by Shannon on Jan 01 2011

Ten Miles Past Normal is a quick, easy, and positive read about celebrating your own independent spirit.

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Reading Lark

Below average
Reviewed by Andrea on Sep 30 2012

The one thing that kept me reading this and swayed my rating up a notch was the link to the Civil Rights movement.

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Iris on Books

Below average
Reviewed by Iris on Mar 28 2011

I admit, I did not feel completely satisfied at the end of the book. I, too, was left with a feeling of “is this it?”

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Chick Loves Lit

Good
Reviewed by Shanyn on Mar 24 2011

I have seen mixed reviews about this newest book from Frances O’Roark Dowell, but I enjoyed myself for the most part.

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Simply Books

Good
Reviewed by Megan on Dec 19 2011

I thought that Ten Miles Past Normal was very cute and quirky and a fun coming-of-age story.

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YA Librarian Tales

Good
Reviewed by Sarah on Mar 07 2011

I really enjoyed it. Honestly, it just has a great vibe to it.

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Good Books and Good Wine

Good
Reviewed by April on May 01 2011

I really did enjoy 10 Miles Past Normal. I am all for ‘go on with your rockin’ self’ messages. I think it’s something kids need to hear.

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Early Nerd Special

Below average
Reviewed by Clementine Bojangles on Mar 20 2011

A slow plot and a distant heroine didn’t make for a very memorable read.

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Hobbitsies

Below average
Reviewed by Tara Gonzalez on Mar 29 2011

As I said, it really was the ending that miffed me about Ten Miles Past Normal, although I doubt it had the same impact on anyone else.

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Novel Novice

Good
Reviewed by Sara on Mar 16 2011

Whether you’re going through the high school experience yourself, or reliving it vicariously, Ten Miles Past Normal will make you laugh, cry and feel nostalgic in all the right places. 

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Slate Breakers

Good
Reviewed by Sarah on Jul 25 2011

 Janie is thoughtful, creative, compassionate, smart and relatable. I admire her, want to be her friend, and want to give her big sisterly advice. 

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The Book Swarm

Good
Reviewed by Mary on May 05 2011

TEN MILES PAST NORMAL is an excellent addition to the young adult contemporary scene.

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Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf

Good
Reviewed by Lauren on Mar 21 2011

In all, Ten Miles Past Normal is a unique read filled with many lovable characters that will leave almost anyone with a smile on their face by the end. 

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Pure Imagination

Good
Reviewed by Lori on Feb 24 2011

Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell was a book after my own heart.

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Dog Ear

Above average
on Nov 10 2010

Janie’s struggles are universal. Readers will quickly relate and fill in the gaps, which seem to be left intentionally. This novel doesn’t dwell, but plows ahead. It doesn’t judge and it avoids cliché.

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Bart's Bookshelf

Good
Reviewed by Darren on Apr 15 2011

Ten Miles Past Normal, turned out to be a whole lot of fun!

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Reading Junky

Good
Reviewed by RJ on Oct 02 2011

Thanks to a curious student wanting to see if Dowell had written any other books, I found TEN MILES PAST NORMAL.  I now have to say it is on my list of all time favorites. 

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Waking Brain Cells

Good
Reviewed by Tasha Saecker on Jun 17 2011

A book that celebrates being exactly who you really are, even if you aren’t sure who that is yet, this is a treat of a read.

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The Story Siren

Good
Reviewed by Kristi on Mar 22 2011

Besides the story, I really enjoyed the humor in this novel.

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Birdbrained Book Blog

Good
Reviewed by Anastasia on Aug 09 2011

Ten Miles is about being yourself even in the face of adversity– even in the face of HEAVY adversity, as in the case of the people who ran the freedom school.

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Unabridged Andra

Good
Reviewed by Andra on Aug 05 2011

This book is good for a quick read if you just want to distract yourself for an hour or two.

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Ladybug Storytime

Good
Reviewed by Kristina on Apr 11 2011

Ten Miles Past Normal is a short, entertaining read and I would highly recommend it!

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The Happy Nappy Bookseller

Good
Reviewed by Doret on Mar 31 2011

Perfectly fine for fans of Dowell's middle grade novels.

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The Book Scout

Good
Reviewed by Kelsey on Mar 14 2011

Overall, Ten Miles Past Normal is perfect for reading on a lazy Sunday afternoon. 

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Secrets & Sharing Soda

Good
Reviewed by Katie on Jun 29 2011

I recommend this book to girls who love contemporary fiction, and especially to those struggling to discover their own definition of normal. 

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The Bookworms

Below average
Reviewed by Tawni on May 02 2011

I loved the little adventures and self-discoveries Janie has throughout the book, but I just couldn’t get past the dragging on of the first person point-of-view.

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Book Rain

Good
Reviewed by BookRain on Mar 28 2011

This book is fun and sweet. I sincerely wish for a sequel following Janie and Monster...It’s good, clean fun and the characters in it remind me of my high school experience...

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Little Read Writing Hood

Good
Reviewed by Arielizabeth on Jul 18 2012

One fundamental idea of this book is that normal and different aren’t things you can look for; they’re things you’re born with, that you have to embrace.

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Vintage Bookworm Blog

Good
Reviewed by Amanda on Jul 24 2011

Overall, it was a fun and quick read.

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The Ya Ya Yas

Good
Reviewed by Trisha on Jun 03 2011

I think I enjoyed this one more as an adult reader than I would have as a teen.

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Kate Messner

Excellent
on Mar 23 2011

The book carries an ambitious mix of plot lines, but it’s all handled with as much humor, joy, laughter, honesty and fun as I’ve seen in a novel. The characters are people I wish I could hang out with; I’d be at their Friday night hootenanny on the farm in ten seconds flat.

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WMS BookBlog

Good
Reviewed by Ms. Moeller on Jul 03 2012

If you like the cover, you'll like the book... really!

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Muddy Puddle Musings

Good
Reviewed by Chris on Jun 03 2012

It was a quick, enjoyable read with a happy edge to it.

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Ten Cent Notes

Good
Reviewed by Jordyn on Nov 04 2011

Authentic, sweet, and with a surprisingly powerful heart.

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Cucchetti Recommends

Good
Reviewed by Alison Cucchetti on May 14 2011

Ten Miles Past Normal  is a great end of the school year read. 

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The Eager Readers

Good
Reviewed by Violet on Apr 11 2011

Ten Miles Past Normal is a sweet coming-of-age tale with a funny, intelligent narrator. 

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Mackin Books in Bloom

Good
Reviewed by Mindy R on Mar 08 2011

In all honesty, I was bound to like this book. I have a secret dream of moving my family to an organic farm someday...those things aside, I feel confident writing that fans of Frances O’Roark Dowell will not be disappointed.

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Reader Rating for Ten Miles Past Normal
82%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 77 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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