Dingus is a classic middle-middle grade coming-of-age novel told with humour and grace. Summer vacation is starting, and soon-to-be-sixth-grader Henry is facing two months with nothing to do. NOTHING! He can feel himself “being pulled by the gravitational force of nothingness.” His best friend, Max, who may not even be his best friend anymore, is going away to chess camp. And all Henry’s stay-at-home father has planned for him and his toddler brother, Sam, is something called a staycation. It hardly seems like it will be an exciting summer. Things start looking up, however, when he finds out they’ll be dog-sitting his grandfather’s dog, Rupert. That is, until the day they bring Rupert to the park, where Henry does something irresponsible. Something with real consequences. Suddenly, Henry would give anything to go back to the nothingness. Can Henry make things right? Or has he turned into the dingus Max said he shouldn’t be?
Henry is a likeable boy trying hard not to be a dingus (translation: “a fool or a goof”) as he navigates the changes in both his home and social lives. This novel would make a perfect summer reading choice. It could also easily spark discussions about growing up and developing a sense of self.