In this young adult novel, Ellie is trying to grow a prize-winning pumpkin, Max, to enter into the adult competition in the local fair. She is tired of competing in the small time junior competition. Being very much a planter, she enjoys each moment of raising and nourishing her pride and joy while fighting with her father over its importance. Ellie must face hardships with trying to beat the underhanded reigning winner, keeping away the latest pumpkin thieves, and beating the pressure dealing with her weight and self-image. Even through these struggles she manages to be positive, strong, and as confident as possible. This lands her attention from the new boy, Wes, who is also very attune to agriculture and appreciates her. Overall it is a great read set during the harvest season and about the passions and pains of a strong, young girl.
When I think of fall, I always think of farming and harvest time. I am in love with autumn, and the feelings that it stirs inside of my heart. In addition, my hometown has a festival much like the one in Squashed. This book reminds me of my past where I had my own projects to be submitted in competition, and the few years where I tried my hand at raising sheep. It reminds me of my childhood, as the festival grounds are so close to my mother’s home that I could spend each day there in happiness. It is where I met many a crush and could spend the entire weekend with friends. It reminds me of my community, who come together to celebrate the festival, which has been going strong for over 50 years. Every year I try to bring a new friend into the experience as well. It seems that no matter the weather, my heart soars much like Ellie’s when I’m with my own Wes exploring the festival grounds, the project exhibits, and seeing people I care about enjoying themselves in such simple pleasures.