Summary: A family secret is revealed
during an ill-fated—yet hilarious—trip to Disney World.
Sixteen-year-old Hannah Sampson knows her family is not what you would call
normal. Her father compulsively buys dented cans and has a particular fondness
for cans without labels, which are extremely discounted because their contents
are a mystery. Her mother takes countless pictures of her family and then glues
them down into the pages of her scrapbooks, but does not allow anyone to look
at them. Ryan, Hannah’s mischievous fourteen-year-old brother, is headed
straight for the remedial track at the local community college, if he’s lucky.
Ben, her eight-year-old brother, is a walking sound effects machine, who
prefers to communicate with noises rather than words. While Hannah is focused
on escaping her working-class Connecticut suburb, she also finds herself being
tugged back home as she worries about her brother Ben.
Hannah’s parents inflict one last family vacation on the Sampson children, a
trip that goes comically wrong almost from the get-go. Hannah is forced to
confront her family’s past in Disney World, of all places, when an emotional
argument prompts her parents to disclose a secret they have been keeping from
the children for sixteen years. Ultimately, she must decide whether to leave
her hometown and not look back, or to focus on helping her family.
great book comes along that on putting alongside all the review copies you have
read up to that point, seems, most incredibly, even greater. Last year, it may
have been The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap that did that for me. This year, it
is Dented Cans. It would be rather unfair and would count as cheating to go
back and slightly reduce the ratings of all the books I’ve reviewed (I only
rate review copies, the idea of giving books stars bothers me, but that’s
another issue.) So, instead I’m going to give this book six stars (out of
five… yes, that was a joke.) Dented Cans has left me in complete awe.