By Dusti Bowling

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$23.99 CAD

“This book will save lives.” —Beth Vrabel, award-winning author of The Newspaper Club series

In this unmissable story of friendship, courage, and healing, a girl struggling to breathe befriends a boy shrouded in dust, perfect for fans of Erin Entrada Kelly and Erin Bow.

After Avalyn nearly died from an asthma attack, her parents moved her to the clear, dry air of Clear Canyon City, Arizona. And for the last ten years, she’s been able to breathe. That is, until Adam showed up.

Quiet and disheveled, Adam is an instant target for the bullies who have plagued Avalyn and her friends. As Avalyn gets to know him, she begins to suspect that the sudden, strange increase in dust storms around town is somehow connected to his emotions. She thinks his problems may be even worse at home, especially when massive black walls of dust start rolling in after the school day. Will she find a way to stand up for her new friend? Her life may just depend on it.

A page-turning blend of mystery and action, bestselling and award-winning author Dusti Bowling delivers a powerful tour de force.

  • "A powerful call to spell out pain when we see it in ourselves and others, even when—especially when—it feels unspeakable, Dust is mindfully and resolutely told. This book will save lives. I’m grateful it’s in the world."

    Beth Vrabel, award-winning author of When Giants Burn and the Newspaper Club series
  • "[Avalyn’s] determined sleuthing will draw in readers. …An investigation of hard choices and empathy."

  • “Valuable…[Dust] will serve as a conversation starter for crucial, sometimes challenging, topics.” —SLJ

  • “[Bowling] deftly portrays Avalyn as a resourceful tween who will stop at nothing to protect a friend, determinedly overcoming her feelings of frustration and isolation.”

    Publishers Weekly
  • Praise for Across the Desert:

    * “Readers will soar along with Jolene into the prospect of better days.”

    Booklist, starred review
  • * “Instantly compelling.”

    School Library Journal, starred review
  • * “[A] tense, poignant story about the essential nature of friendship and life’s unexpected possibilities.”

    Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • "Experience has taught Jolene she can only count on herself, and she doesn't think she counts for much. But when she witnesses her friend's accident in the desert via live stream, she finds the strength to rescue them both. Across the Desert combines compelling adventure, honesty, danger, and love."

    Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, two-time Newbery Honoree and #1 New York Times bestselling author of The War That Saved My Life and Fighting Words.
  • Praise for The Canyon's Edge: * "Stunning.... an edge-of-your-seat read."

    Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • * "This emotionally resonant survival tale is a must-have."

    School Library Journal, starred review
  • * "Powerful...a triumphant story of healing and bravery."

    Booklist, starred review
  • "Beautifully written. [Dusti] Bowling is a master storyteller."

    Midwest Book Review
  • "A powerful, heart-thumping story about survival and the inner strength it takes to reclaim life after trauma. Nora shows us that it's possible to emerge stronger than we've ever been before."

    Ann Braden, award-winning author of The Benefits of Being an Octopus
  • "You won't be able to stop turning pages of this gripping, unforgettable novel with emotional depth and resonance as you cheer for Nora to conquer her inner and outer beasts."

    Donna Gephart, award-winning author of Lily and Dunkin, The Paris Project, and Abby, Tried and True
  • "A haunting, heart-pounding story of survival, brilliantly told in verse. The Canyon's Edge will inspire, uplift and resonate. I loved it!"

    Barbara Dee, author of Maybe He Just Likes You and My Life in the Fish Tank
  • "A gutsy, page-turning tale of courage, survival, and healing, told in dynamic verse. The Canyon's Edge is powerful, unflinching, and full of heart."

    Chris Baron, author of All of Me
  • "Thrilling."


On Sale
Aug 15, 2023
Page Count
352 pages

Discussion Guide

1. Avalyn calls the bullies at her school the Meanie Butt Band. How can giving something a name empower you?

2. Why does Avalyn want to be a spelling bee champion?

3. Avalyn admits to Adam (and herself ) that she doesn’t have a lot in common with her best friends, Dillon and Nan, beyond one very important thing: “We just really like each other” (p. 43). How can mutual like and respect be a foundation for friendship even without shared interests?

4. Avalyn’s school has a zero-​tolerance policy for bullying, yet bullying still happens. How? Have you witnessed bullying at your school? What can kids actually do about it?

5. Why does Dillon want to go to the school dance? Why doesn’t Avalyn or Nan?

6. Even though Adam is a new friend, Avalyn can sense that something’s wrong, and she finds the courage to tell him so (p. 186). How is voicing her concern an act of courage?

7. Why do you think Avalyn struggles to speak up when Bryden, Caleb, Valerie, and Emma bully and assault her and her friends? When Dillon angrily tells Avalyn, “You didn’t say anything,” she thinks to herself, “My silence said everything” (p. 232). What does she mean?

8. What does Avalyn believe is causing the dust?

9. What does Avalyn discover about Adam? Talk with a grown‑up about how that revelation makes you feel.

10. Avalyn’s dad tells her, “If you know someone is being hurt, then no matter what your friend wants—​even if you think they won’t want to be friends with you anymore—​no matter what may happen . . . ​you have to tell” (p. 266). How is he right?

11. How was Caleb showing up at Nan’s pool party an act of courage? How was Avalyn’s welcoming of him one, too?

12. Avalyn says that her superpower would be spelling. Do you think she has other powers? What would your superpower be?

13. Avalyn’s parents tell her that what she does with her breath can change the world (Prologue). How does she end up using her breath to create change? What would you like to do with your breaths?

Dusti Bowling

About the Author

Dusti Bowling is the bestselling and award-winning author of Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus, The Canyon's Edge, and Across the Desert, among other books for young readers. Dusti holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and lives in Arizona with her husband, three daughters, a dozen tarantulas, a gopher snake named Burrito, a king snake name Death Noodle, and a cockatiel named Gandalf the Grey.

Learn more about this author