My Near-Death Adventures by Alison DeCamp

Release Date- February 24, 2015
Age Range- 8-12 year olds
Pages- 246

The Story

“I’m a whiz at not dying,I don't mind saying.In fact, I've survived so many perilous adventures that I'm 95.7 percent certain I'm invincible.”

Set in 1895, 12 year old Stan's life is about to change all thanks to an envelope. An envelope his evil granny is keeping from him. All Stan knows is that because of this envelope, him and his mother must move to a lumber camp. Stan can't hear much to explain why, but he hears the words 'money','fresh start', and, 'worthless Arthur Slater.'
 Hearing these words he can only gather one important piece of information- his father "Arthur Slater" is alive and Stan guesses that he has something to do with the envelope. As Stan moves to a lumber camp with his mom, he documents his life, struggles to find his dad, and proof that becoming a man is a difficult task in this hilarious scrap book.


I dare you to read this book and not laugh. I don't remember ever being in my work break room giggling so much. 

This book is filled with ads from the 1800s that Stanley uses to help document his journey. Stanley's original and hilarious voice will stick with you as you cheer him on in his quest to become a man and find his father. 

One thing I liked about this book is how it addressed gender roles. Stan believes that in order to become a man, he must do manly things. Unfortunately, these aren't always good things. His cousin, Geri, who is aspiring to be a woman doctor, tries to set him straight as they battle out to become their own person. 

I liked this part of the book becase I think a lot of my tweens (both my boys & girls) can relate to this battle of trying to fit into the idea of one's own gender role. I think this book would pair well with another really amazing new book called: Rad American Women. 

Geri mentions a lot of famous ladies in the book to prove to Stan that women can do anything, and I think having a reference like this would be a great way to show that women too can do great things. 

All in all, it is a great book that is flying under the radar. If you are ready for an original laugh, you should pick up this book at your nearest library. 

After laughing so much, I think Alison DeCamp my new author crush. In the spirit of Stan's lists from his book, I have come up with a few reasons why I am 99% that DeCamp is the best new author in middle grade.

  1. She understands tweens & writes stuff like this- Dear Middle Grade Me
  2. She was a middle school teacher
  3. She love books & works at a book store. She even offers that if you call the bookstore she works at, she will sign and personalize a copy of her book for you.
  4. She is hilarious
  5. Her website makes my heart happy ( Gorgeous, right?
  6. She was inspired to write the book from her family history and family stories about their life in lumber camps.
  7. She likes to eat
  8. She compares teenagers to toddlers. (I am glad I am not the only one who thinks this)
  9. Using her teacher experience, she provides a free teaching guide on her website. (
  10. Her book left me wanting more. Lately, middle grade stories feel like they all have the same plot. DeCamp has put a fresh spin on these middle grade themes to come up with something I feel comfortable recommending to all of my tweens that want something funny. I will be waiting impatiently for DeCamp's next book!

In case you need more convincing, here is the book trailer:

Until next time, 


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