"Sally" is going on sabbatical to write a book.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Steering Toward Normal

Steering Toward Normal
by Rebecca Petruck
336 pages; ages 9-14
Amulet Books (Abrams imprint), 2014

Eighth grade is going to be different, Diggy promises himself. For one thing, he won't name his 4-H calf - he's learned from first-hand experience that naming steers destined for auction never ends well. And this year he'll be less shy around July - now a senior, and the reason he attended his first 4-H meeting.

His first resolution lasts 10 minutes, about the length of time it takes to unload his new calf and  be rewarded with a pile of warm steer manure on his boots. "Joker!" Diggy says... and it sticks. A name.

Within hours his "going to be awesome" year gets another whack: Wayne Graf is left on the doorstep. Wayne's mama died and his real father happens to be Diggy's father - Pops. OK, maybe having a brother won't be so hard after all.

Then, Wayne decides he wants to raise a steer and try for the prize: scholarship money. Suddenly Wayne and July seem to be spending more time together and Diggy is on the outside.

What a great coming-of-age novel, penned by author Rebecca Petruck who has an inside scoop on county fairs, having served as 4-H president herself.

Today we're hanging out with other bloggers over at the Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday round-up. Drop by Shannon's blog to see what other reviewers are talking about. Review copy provided by publisher.


  1. I love the cover on this one. It gives subtle hints on the plot. Thanks for sharing this one as it got lost on my TBR list. I'm going to get on this the first half of the year.

  2. I loved this book and so glad to see the word is being spread. Such a great coming-of-age novel. Thanks for reminding me of it.

  3. I've heard good things about this one. I'm going to have to check this out, because 4-H is big here. Thanks for the rec!

  4. I like the author's name - Petruck. Perfect for a 4-H, ag person! 4-H and county fairs and state fairs and steers are all BIG in my little part of the world. This looks like an excellent read! Thanks Ms Heavenrich!!

  5. Oh, sounds interesting! I'll have to look for it.

  6. I'm totally picked by this book now! :)