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SQUASHED by Joan Bauer

SQUASHED

by Joan Bauer

Age Range: 11 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-385-30793-4
Publisher: Delacorte

 This year's Delacorte prizewinner answers the question, ``Is growing the biggest pumpkin in Iowa grounds for a YA novel?'' with a resounding ``Yes!'' Never losing sight of her goal, the grower--Ellie Morgan, 16--lives a rich, eventful life. Her relationship with her widowed dad, corporate counselor and farming dropout, who comes to value Ellie's dedication to growing things, and with new boyfriend Wes, whose enthusiasm is corn but whose dedication to Max's cause comes to equal Ellie's; her vendetta with odious Cyril Pool, rival farmer--all are profoundly influenced by her commitment to bringing ``Max'' to his eventual 611 pounds. It's dauntingly hard work, realistically described, though the pampering of Max is also comical. There's suspense, too: pumpkins are being kidnapped as the great Pumpkin Weigh-In draws near, while Cyril's weightier monster, a threat to the finish, fails dramatically on the scales--rotten to the core. Ellie narrates with lively wit and good humor; meanwhile, nourishing themes are cunningly developed, among them the pumpkin's transitory triumph and its continuing life cycle. Delightful fun. (Fiction. 11+)