Saturday, June 17, 2006

Hit the Road

Hit the Road
by Caroline B. Cooney, 2006

I did not expect to read half way through the night when I started the 48 hour challenge and Cooney's new book at the same time. I found, however, that I simply could not stop reading the story of Brit and her grandmother. This book is pure delight.

Brit has only had her driver's license for eleven days. Her parents are taking a well-earned two-week vacation and Brit is staying at home with her eighty-six year old grandmother. Her parents are barely out of the driveway when a car rental agency arrives with a GMC Safari, and Nannie announces she IS TOO driving to her sixty-fifth college reunion, despite the fact that Brit's mother thinks she no longer has a driver's license.

Nannie's first turn behind the wheel demonstrates that it really is not safe for her to drive so Brit is pressed into service despite the illegality of someone, not yet twenty-five, driving a rental car.

They pick up Nannie's college roommates, also known as "the girls," and head off to the reunion. Part of the drama centers on springing (kidnapping) Aurelia from the senior home where her son has placed her, against her wishes.

This thoughtful, funny, poignant and exciting story gives the reader much to think about. With age comes great wisdom but also the loss of freedom, physical frailty and dependency on others. Brit is experiencing the freedom a drivers license brings but she is tied down by responsibility for her grandmother and friends. Her annoyance turns to empathy and finally, a determination to make the girls' dream reunion come true.

Cooney has perfectly captured the horror and terror (from this reading parent’s point of view) of watching an inexperienced teen driver negotiate the Long Island Expressway. She has also perfectly captured kids' obsessions with their cell phones, which will ring true with young readers.

Brilliant and (hopefully) "know-nothing" proof, you gotta have it for your junior high/high school libraries.

1 comment:

MotherReader said...

What I liked best about the book was how the older women had some quirks, but were not so over-the-top quirky as I usually see in kids books. I loved this book too. Great first choice.