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Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus: 10/14/19
Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling is the sequel to Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus (2017). Aven and Zion are starting high school without their friend Connor. He's moved to Chandler to be with his father.
Aven goes into high school with a positive attitude and falls for an older boy. He seems to like her and isn't teasing her for being armless. Zion, though, has nothing nice to say about him and continually warns her about him.
At this point in the book, I was willing to believe Joshua was like Caleb's former bully in Everything I Know About You by Barbara Dee (2018). I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, just like Aven is. That is, until he finds the most public way to humiliate her.
What follows is an emotional death spiral for Aven. She misses a week of school and is eventually forced to go back by her parents. She refuses to open up about what happened and can't recognize that she has genuine friends, and a genuine potential boyfriend in Zion's brother.
It's only through her friendship with Henry, the elderly employee at the amusement park, that she begins to recognize her own emotional spiral into depression. Henry is living with dementia — but even when he can't remember who she is, he's still able to give good advice.
There's a side plot where Aven and Henry connect over being orphans. Now, Aven knows her grandmother, Josephine, but doesn't know anything about her grandfather or her biological father. Henry knows even less, having only vague memories of an orphanage in Chicago. Aven takes her desire to find her father to help Henry find his family instead.
Thankfully Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus has a happy and satisfying ending. Aven goes through so much but manages to come out stronger and more confident for all of it. She also manages to deal with a bully that has been plaguing kids for years.
I don't know if there will be a third book about Aven. If there is, I will read it.