Dusti Bowling holds a Bachelor of Psychology and a Master of Education. She is the author of the well-reviewed Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus and 24 Hours in Nowhere. She currently lives in Carefree, AZ, with her husband and three daughters.
"In the sequel to Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus (2017), Aven Green confronts her biggest challenge yet: surviving high school without arms. Fourteen-year-old Aven has just settled into life at Stagecoach Pass with her adoptive parents when everything changes again. She's entering high school, which means that 2,300 new kids will stare at her missing arms--and her feet, which do almost everything hands can (except, alas, air quotes). Aven resolves to be 'blas ' and field her classmates' pranks with aplomb, but a humiliating betrayal shakes her self-confidence. Even her friendships feel unsteady. Her friend Connor's moved away and made a new friend who, like him, has Tourette's syndrome: a girl. And is Lando, her friend Zion's popular older brother, being sweet to Aven out of pity--or something more? Bowling keenly depicts the universal awkwardness of adolescence and the particular self-consciousness of navigating a disability. Aven's 'armless-girl problems' realistically grow thornier in this outing, touching on such tough topics as death and aging, but warm, quirky secondary characters lend support. . . . Aven's honest, witty voice shines--whether out-of-reach vending-machine snacks are 'taunting' her or she's nursing heartaches. A subplot exploring Aven's curiosity about her biological father resolves with a touching twist. . . . Those preparing to 'slay the sucktastic beast known as high school' will particularly appreciate this spirited read." --Kirkus (Starred review) "High school gets off to a rocky start for armless-but-by-no-means-helpless Aven, as supposed romantic overtures from cool new classmate Joshua turn out to be a Truth or Dare from his buddies. The sturdy self-confidence and deep-seated belief in the essential decency of others that served Aven so well in Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus (2017) are left in such rags that she skips school, tries to drive away her friends Zion and Connor, loses interest in her riding lessons, and steadfastly refuses to see signs of genuine attraction from Zion's brother Lando. Ultimately time and events, highlighted by a hard but incentive fall from her horse and a trip to Comic-Con--not to mention support from a diverse and multigenerational adult supporting cast--lead Aven past what she dubs the 'Great Humiliation' to leave her both literally and figuratively back in the saddle. . . . readers will welcome back this most able of protagonists." --Booklist