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My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters

My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters

4.1 12
by Sydney Salter

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It’s the end of junior year, and summer is about to begin. The Summer of Passion, to be exact, when Jory Michaels plans to explore all the possibilities of the future--and, with any luck, score a boyfriend in the process. But Jory has a problem. A big problem. A curvy, honking, bumpy, problem in the form of her Super Schnozz, the one thing standing between


It’s the end of junior year, and summer is about to begin. The Summer of Passion, to be exact, when Jory Michaels plans to explore all the possibilities of the future--and, with any luck, score a boyfriend in the process. But Jory has a problem. A big problem. A curvy, honking, bumpy, problem in the form of her Super Schnozz, the one thing standing between Jory and happiness. And now, with the Summer of Passion stretched before her like an open road, she's determined for Super Schnozz to disappear. Jory takes a job delivering wedding cakes to save up for a nose job at the end of the summer; she even keeps a book filled with magazine cutouts of perfect noses to show the doctor. But nothing is ever easy for accident-prone Jory--and before she knows it, her Summer of Passion falls apart faster than the delivery van she crashes. In her hilarious and heartbreaking debut novel, Sydney Salter delivers a story about broadening your horizons, accepting yourself, and finding love right under your nose.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[T]he contemporary dialogue is rapid and funny, and teens will enjoy Jory’s comic self-deprecation and the way she gets the signals wrong, both while driving and on dates."—Booklist

"Complex, likable, believable characters and a fresh, appealing fictional voice pull together this very agreeable summer romance."—Kirkus Reviews

“The tougher side of catching a boyfriend is depicted with humor and understanding in this first novel. . . . Simultaneously painful and hilarious. Salter captures the awkwardness of adolescence while driving home a message about self-acceptance.”—Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

The tougher side of catching a boyfriend is depicted with humor and understanding in this first novel. Sharp-witted, accident-prone Jory Michaels knows she is klutzy, but she is more apt to blame her "Super Schnozz" than her clumsiness for her nonexistent love life. The summer after her junior year in high school, she hopes to decrease her "99.9 percent" chance of "dying a virgin" by saving up for a nose job and winning the heart of cute classmate Tyler. Nothing goes as planned, and the results are simultaneously painful and hilarious. Salter captures the awkwardness of adolescence while driving home a message about self-acceptance. Jory's all-too-perfect athlete brother and image-conscious mother act as effective foils to the heroine, while her friends Megan and Hannah are reminders that no one is perfect. If Jory's missteps and disasters become a little redundant, her responses to misfortune remain fresh. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)

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VOYA - Amy Luedtke
Jory Michaels is convinced her big nose, "Super Schnozz" as she calls it, is ruining her life. The summer before her senior year, Jory has three goals: to not die a virgin; to find something at which she is good and about which she is passionate; and to get a nose job. To afford plastic surgery, Jory takes a stressful job as a delivery van driver for a wedding cake business, but job frustrations are nothing compared to the summer's other traumas. Her best friend, Megan, starts dating Tyler, the extremely cute guy on whom Jory has had a crush for more than a year. Other quests for romance end in disaster, and Jory learns the hard way that alcohol and boys can be a dangerous mix. Jory does experience hope when she meets Gideon, but as their signals always get mixed, Jory cannot tell if he is really interested in her. Jory's attempts to find her passion, including painfully embarrassing experiences with yoga and foreign cinema, also end in failure. Although insecurity is something to which every teen can relate, Jory is so self-pitying that she mostly comes across as whiny, and the humor often falls flat. When things do start to turn around for Jory, it is predictable (Gideon really IS a wonderful guy), and problems get wrapped up too neatly (Jory and her mom magically bond by taking a beading class). Teen readers might find this book a quick and enjoyable read, but it covers familiar territory handled better elsewhere. Reviewer: Amy Luedtke
Children's Literature - Summer Whiting
Seventeen-year-old Jory finds herself in the midst of typical teen angst. She obsesses over everything from her looks to her popularity status to her crush. She decides to take matters into her own hands and finds a summer job that will help fund her future nose job. She is certain that once the Super Schnozz has been tamed, everything else in her life will fall magically into place. Even the most seemingly safe relationships become confusing and perplexing the summer before her senior year of high school. Not only are friendships and relationships with the opposite sex explored, so are the sometimes tumultuous times between a mother and daughter. Teenagers will relate to the many accordant themes running through this novel. Salter creates believable and relevant dialogue between her characters that is age appropriate. She also brings to life a variety of topics through the many characters; topics that most teens will appreciate. Reviewer: Summer Whiting
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

It's the summer before senior year and Jory is obsessing over two things: her giant nose and hottie Tyler Briggs. Believing that she can't have Tyler and a "Super Schnozz," she takes a job delivering cakes to save money for surgery. During a delivery, she meets Gideon, a guy with big brown eyes and an equally big nose. She's attracted to him, but is worried about what dating him will do to her social status. To complicate matters, Jory and her friend Megan compete for Tyler's attentions while Jory's mother, in an effort to be thin, forces her family to join her in crazy fad diets. As the pressure mounts, the teen, who begins to date Gideon, desperately looks to guys for validation and naively believes that a perfect nose will beget a perfect life. Readers will identify with her insecurities, but might be turned off by her melodrama. The humor is forced and the character development superficial. Salter literally writes off the unattainable Tyler just as his story line gets interesting. Teens looking for a character with a big nose and an even bigger sense of humor should read Emily Franklin's At Face Value (Flux, 2008), which features a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac. My Big Nose is strictly an additional purchase.-Kimberly Garnick Giarratano, Rockaway Township Public Library, NJ

Kirkus Reviews
In the well-heeled, hardly diverse suburbs of Reno, Nev., Jory Michaels has two big goals for the summer before senior year: to earn enough money to get the petite nose she's always wanted and to lose her virginity. Significant obstacles to each: She's a somewhat clumsy driver, so her job driving a bakery delivery van has its limits, and she's a good-natured girl looking for a romantic connection with a boy, not just a physical encounter. Jory's longtime crush is finally paying attention to her, but it turns out he is struggling with hiding his gay identity from his father. Another boy's aggressive approach is off-putting even as Jory's encounter with his unzipped shorts is cringingly funny. Several missed opportunities with a third and most likely lad have a sweetly comic dimension, while Jory's first experiences with drinking demonstrate without didacticism the downside of impaired socializing. Complex, likable, believable characters and a fresh, appealing fictional voice pull together this very agreeable summer romance. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.00(d)
HL680L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

SYDNEY SALTER is a graduate of the University of Washington Writer's Program in fiction and she currently serves as a Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. My Big Nose is her first novel. She lives in Utah.

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My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Jory Michaels desperately wants to be one of the beautiful people. Or at least one of the smart people. She'd even settle for being an athletic person. But Jory is none of those things. Instead, she is the mediocre sheep in a family of beauty and talent. All, Jory is certain, because of her big nose--another outlier in a family with cute, small noses. Like Jennifer Grey, Jory is convinced that a nose job will solve her problems and ultimately make her life better in every possible way. She will be smarter and prettier, her family will appreciate her the way they worship her little brother, and her gorgeous crush will finally realize that she is perfect for him. In other words, with a new nose, Jory will be as perfect as everyone else in her life. In order to ensure that she and "Super Schnoz" will part ways before the start of her senior year in high school, Jory take a job as a cake delivery person to fund her cosmetic surgery. She also begins a nice nose notebook to be ready for the big day. It seems like everything is going Jory's way until an unlikely acquaintance, an unfortunate driving mishap or two, and other (natural) disasters force Jory to rethink everything she thought she knew about her nose, herself, and the perfect people she wanted so badly to emulate. Set in Reno, Nevada My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters offers an interesting perspective on cosmetic surgery. Her hyperbolic fantasies about Super Schnoz and her new dream nose illustrate the irrational hopes Jory has pinned to the possibility of plastic surgery. At the same time, as the story progresses Jory begins to realize that there might be more to reinventing herself than restructuring her nose. That thread, set against the backdrop of friend-drama, and the social-climbing ambitions of her ever-dieting mother, gives this ostensibly quick read a fair amount of depth. I enjoyed a lot of this book. At times the characters read younger than I would have expected for sixteen and seventeen-year-olds, but that likely says more about who I was at that age than anything else. Jory also reminded me a lot of Georgia Nicholson with her singular focus on boys but in a far less annoying way. I also had issue with the way friendships were treated. It must be the latin in me but I would have held a grudge a lot longer than Jory (and other characters in books I've read recently), but again that's probably just me. I loved Jory's humor throughout the narrative, which made her lack of self-esteem at the beginning of the novel bearable. As part of a mother-daughter jewelery making duo, I also loved that beading came up in the story and was handled so realistically. At the start of the novel I will admit that I was not sure I could like Jory as a character, but by the end of the book I not only liked her, I was proud of her. My only disappointment was that the book didn't go on a little longer so I could spend more time with this new and improved heroine. Beyond that, My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters is a clever, humorous book about how finding beauty sometimes involves more introspection than anything else.
YA-Addict More than 1 year ago
What a fun read! For Body Image & Self Perception Month, I have been reading some wonderful stories, but they have had heavy subjects that are sometimes difficult to read. My Big Nose and Other Natural Distasters was such a refreshing change. It has an important subject matter, but it is told in a fun and enjoyable voice that makes it impossible not to crack a smile. It was easy for me to click with Jory. She is highly self conscious about her "Super Schnozz". She thinks that if it wasn't for her nose, her life would be perfect. I think we have all felt the same thing, in one way or the other. But it's not only that with Jory. She also feels just "average" in everything she does. She feels she has no talent that would stand out in a crowd. I know I have felt this way in the past, especially as a teen. Some of my favorite parts to read about were Jory's big blunders that happens when she is working. I felt terrible for her, but they were completely hilarious. I couldn't stand Jory's mom and her friends. Jory definitely had a poor choice in friends. Her mom was the type that only cared about what the outside world saw. As long as the neighbors think everything is perfect, everything is okay. So for Jory's mom, her nose doesn't fit the cookie cutter image of perfection. I sympathized with Jory about her mom. You can't replace your mom, but I really wish she would have dumped those crappy friends! I was so happy when Gideon came into the picture. He is exactly the kind of person Jory needs in her life, and I was rooting for these two to get together. I was really satisfied with the ending. By the end of the book, I was so proud of Jory for how far she came. My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters was a heartwarming story with a sense of humor. I loved Salter's charming writing style, and am looking forward to reading more from her.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Jory Michaels is going to transform herself before school starts. This is going to be the Summer of Passion; the summer before senior year. The big obstacle to making it perfect, of course, is her nose. Jory is obsessed about her big nose...she's just sure that the key to making her life perfect is getting it fixed. She plans to earn enough money for a nose job, then she will be one of the popular kids, and maybe attract the guy she has a mad crush on. Everyone around Jory seems perfect. Her little brother, Finn, is a soccer star who managed to score a date to the senior prom when he was still a freshman. Her mom is perfectly proportioned and does everything right. Her dad is a workaholic and a great guy, and all her friends seem to know where they are going in life. Jory finds a job delivering wedding cakes, and, oh boy....the van is a stick shift. Never mind that...she can learn quickly...she is sure that the stick shift and parallel parking will be a snap to figure out. But Jory is accident-prone and her hilarious escapades keep the action going. Then, when her best friend begins hanging out with the guy that Jory has a crush on, emotions shift into high gear. Nothing turns out the way Jory plans. MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS is about learning to improve what you can and accept what you can't change, while still broadening your horizons. It's told with a great sense of humor, is a bit predictable, but still great fun. Teen girls will see themselves in Jory's desire to be prettier than she perceives herself. The characters are unique and likable, the dialogue witty and fresh, there is plenty of action to keep even reluctant readers interested, and it rushes to a very satisfying ending.
Goodbookhunter More than 1 year ago
I'm in my 30's and loved this book, but I wouldn't recommend it to everyone I meet.  Jory's driving experiences were hilarious. I loved that Jory set goals and worked to meet her goals. I loved her fights with her Mom, and how she  "names" boys. There was one part where Jory is at a party and I felt the description was more than I would want my twelve-year- old to read. I liked how the situation turned out, but would have liked to edit that section. Over all this book would open great conversation starters about teen drinking, and boys. Every Mom should read this to remember what it was like to be a teenage girl.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Does this book have sex?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WAZ UP PEPS THIS IS STARWOLF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-* *-*
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing . I love it i am 10
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