Edina Reads: Pete Hautman
Thursday, May 7 | 3:00-4:00pm
Edina Reads is a community-wide reading program that encourages active reading, lifelong learning, and thoughtful conversation. Our vision: to use the power of literature to create connections and deeper understanding among the diverse people who live, work and go to school in Edina.
During these historic times, we’re pleased to offer a virtual event. We're inviting middle and high school readers (and the adults in their lives) to read any book written by National Book Award-winning author Pete Hautman. We've organized an opportunity to visit with Pete online on Thursday, May 7. Tune in to the Edina Community Ed YouTube channel at 3 pm on Thursday, May 7. Submit your questions in advance (preferred) or during the live stream here.
Title suggestions follow. Books can be found in the Hennepin County Library Overdrive collection, the Edina Public Schools Overdrive collection (link in the Edina Portal), as well as for purchase from local bookstores and online.
David can eat an entire sixteen-inch pepperoni pizza in four minutes and thirty-six seconds. Not bad. But he knows he can do better. In fact, he'll have to do better: he's going to compete in the Super Pigorino Bowl, the world's greatest pizza-eating contest, and he has to win it, because he borrowed his mom's credit card and accidentally spent $2,000 on it. So he really needs that prize money. Like, yesterday. As if training to be a competitive eater weren't enough, he's also got to keep an eye on his little brother, Mal (who, if the family believed in labels, would be labeled autistic, but they don't, so they just label him Mal). And don't even get started on the new weirdness going on between his two best friends, Cyn and HeyMan. Master talent Pete Hautman has cooked up a rich narrative shot through with equal parts humor and tenderness, and the result is a middle-grade novel too delicious to put down. Recommended grades 5-8.
The Big Crunch (2011)
Jen and Wes do not "meet-cute." They do not fall in love at first sight. They do not swoon with scorching desire. They do not believe that they are instant soul mates destined to be together forever. This is not that kind of love story. Instead, they just hang around in each other's orbits...until eventually they collide. And even after that happens, they're still not sure where it will go. Especially when June starts to pity-date one of Wes's friends, and Wes makes some choices that he immediately regrets. Recommended grades 8 and up.
What Boys Really Want (2011)
The crumbling friendship between writer Lita and entrepreneurial Adam is compromised by unexpected jealousies over each other's romantic entanglements, stolen blog posts and a premature offer to sell a new self-help book. Recommended grades 8-11.
How to Steal a Car (2007)
Fifteen-year-old, suburban high school student Kelleigh, who has her learner's permit, recounts how she began stealing cars one summer, for reasons that seem unclear even to her. Recommended grades 7 and up.
Fed up with his parents' boring old religion, agnostic-going-on-atheist Jason Bock invents a new god—the town's water tower. He recruits an unlikely group of worshippers: his snail-farming best friend, Shin, cute-as-a-button (whatever that means) Magda Price, and the violent and unpredictable Henry Stagg. As their religion grows, it takes on a life of its own. While Jason struggles to keep the faith pure, Shin obsesses over writing their bible, and the explosive Henry schemes to make the new faith even more exciting—and dangerous. When the Chutengodians hold their first ceremony high atop the dome of the water tower, things quickly go from merely dangerous to terrifying and deadly. Jason soon realizes that inventing a religion is a lot easier than controlling it, but control it he must, before his creation destroys both his friends and himself. Recommended grades 7 and up.
Other Wood (2018)
"Hatred combined with lies and secrets can break the world." Grandpa Zach used to say that before he died, but Stuey never really knew what he meant. It was kind of like how he used to talk about quantum physics or how he used to say ghosts haunted their overgrown golf course. But then one day, after Stuey and his best friend, Elly Rose, spend countless afternoons in the deadfall in the middle of the woods, something totally unbelievable happens. As Stuey and Elly Rose struggle to come to grips with their lives after that reality-splitting moment, all the things Grandpa Zach used to say start to make a lot more sense. This is a book about memory and loss and the destructive nature of secrets, but also about the way friendship, truth, and perseverance have the ability to knit a torn-apart world back together. Recommended grades 5-7.
The Flinkwater Factor (2015)
Welcome to Flinkwater, Iowa, home of the largest manufacturer of Articulated Computerized Peripheral Devices in the world. If you own a robot, it probably came from Flinkwater. Meet Ginger Crump, the plucky, precocious (and somewhat sarcastic) genius who finds herself in the middle of a national emergency when Flinkwater’s computers start turning people into vegetables. Mental vegetables, that is. In Ginger’s words, they’ve been “bonked.” When Ginger’s father is bonked, she recruits her self-declared future husband, boy genius Billy George, to help her find the source of the bonkings. Soon they’re up against a talking dog, a sasquatch, and a zombie, while Flinkwater is invaded by an army of black SUVs led by the witless-but-dangerous Agent Ffelps from Homeland Security. Can Ginger get to the bottom of the bonkings, or will computer chaos reign forever? Recommended grades 3-6.
The Obsidian Blade (2012)
The first time his father disappeared, Tucker Feye had just turned thirteen. The Reverend Feye simply climbed on the roof to fix a shingle, let out a scream, and vanished — only to walk up the driveway an hour later, looking older and worn, with a strange girl named Lahlia in tow. In the months that followed, Tucker watched his father grow distant and his once loving mother slide into madness. But then both of his parents disappear. Now in the care of his wild Uncle Kosh, Tucker begins to suspect that the disks of shimmering air he keeps seeing—one right on top of the roof—hold the answer to restoring his family. And when he dares to step into one, he’s launched on a time-twisting journey—from a small Midwestern town to a futuristic hospital run by digitally augmented healers, from the death of an ancient prophet to a forest at the end of time. Inevitably, Tucker’s actions alter the past and future, changing his world forever. Recommended grades 7 and up.
In the late twenty-first century Bo Marsten is unjustly accused of a causing a rash that plagues his entire high school. He loses it, and as a result, he's sentenced to work in the Canadian tundra, at a pizza factory that's surrounded by hungry polar bears. Bo finds prison life to be both boring and dangerous, but it's nothing compared to what happens when he starts playing on the factory's highly illegal football team. In the meantime, Bork, an artificial intelligence that Bo created for a science project, tracks Bo down in prison. Bork has spun out of control and seems to be operating on his own. He offers to get Bo's sentence shortened, but can Bo trust him? And now that Bo has been crushing skulls on the field, will he be able to go back to his old, highly regulated life? Recommended grades 8 and up.
Blank Confession (2010)
Shayne Blank is the new kid in town—but that doesn't stop him from getting into a lot of trouble very quickly. The other kids don't understand him. He's not afraid of anything. He seems too smart. And his background doesn't add up. But when he walks into the police department to confess to a murder, it quickly becomes apparent that nothing is as it seems. There's more to Shayne—and his story—than meets the eye. As the details begin to fill in, the only thing that becomes clear is that nothing about Shayne's story is clear at all. Recommended grades 8 and up.
Roni Delicata is the pushy crime reporter for the school newspaper The Bloodwater Pump. Brian Bain is a quiet science geek who has a tendency to blow things up. Ordinarily, they would have nothing to do with each other. But today isn’t an ordinary day: their snobby classmate Alicia Camden has been snatched. Soon enough, Roni and Brian are on the case. But as they dig deeper into the mystery, they find nothing but suspects: Alicia’s hothead boyfriend Maurice, her creepy stepfather, and even Driftwood Doug, the hobo who always seemed to be watching Alicia from the woods. It’s up to Roni and Brian to find Alicia and reveal the shocking secret that led to her disappearance. An eerie mystery that never loses its sense of humor, Snatched marks the beginning of a great new series set in the small town of Bloodwater featuring two offbeat detectives you’ll be thrilled to meet. Recommended grades 7-10.
Pete Hautman is the author of National Book Award-winning Godless, Sweetblood, Hole in the Sky, Stone Cold, The Flinkwater Factor, The Forgetting Machine, and Mr Was, which was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America, as well as several adult novels. He lives in Minnesota.
Awards and Honors
- Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature, 2011, The Big Crunch
- National Book Award for Young People's Literature, 2004, Godless
- Minnesota Book Award for Mrs. Million (2000), Sweetblood (2004), Godless (2005) and Blank Confession (2011)
- Wisconsin Library Association Awards for Rag Man (2002) and Invisible (2006)
- Michigan Library Association "Thumbs Up" Award for Mr. Was (1997) and Rash (2007)
- Edgar Award for Best Juvenile for Otherwood (2008)