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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**     = Enjoyable
*       = Good, with reservations


*****Hit the Road

by Caroline B. Cooney

Reviewed June 30, 2006.
Delacorte Press
, New York
, 2006.  183 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (J MCN F COO).

I loved this book!  I read most of it while waiting an hour and a half for a doctor appointment.  I embarrassed myself laughing out loud in the waiting room.  (To make things worse, the others waiting were German speakers.)  Then of course I couldn’t go to sleep that night until I had finished it.

Eleven days ago, Brit got her driver’s license, just after the end of her junior year of high school.  Now her parents are leaving for two weeks, and Brit’s supposed to stay with Nannie, her eighty-six-year-old grandmother.  Nannie doesn’t have a car either, because Brit’s mother told her that she was too old to drive any more, cut up her license, and sold Nannie’s Cadillac.

Brit doesn’t have long to think they will be a boring two weeks.  Shortly after her parents drop her off, a man pulls up with a rental car for Nannie.  She’s determined to go to her sixty-fifth college dorm reunion.  She and her three roommates had never missed a year until last year, when their children said that they were all too old and sick.

Nannie’s not only planning to drive to the reunion, having renewed her driver’s license, she’s also planning a kidnapping.  Her friend Aurelia has been placed in a nursing home because her son claims she has Alzheimer’s.  Nannie and Flo, another of “the girls,” are going to break her out.  It looks like Brit will get to spend two weeks with a friend.

Well, there’s one little problem.  Nannie’s too short to see the road when driving the big van she rented.  Trying to back out of the driveway, she tears up the yard and doesn’t even make it to the road.

That’s when she turns to Brit.  So what if she’s only sixteen, and not old enough to legally drive a rental car?  So what if she’s never driven on the highway before?  She’s their only hope to get “the girls” to their reunion.  Poor Aurelia, stuck in a nursing home, is looking forward to their coming.  After all, if Brit is caught, she’ll probably only never get to drive again for about the next ten years.

That’s only the beginning.  No step in their journey or their kidnapping caper is simple.  The story is delightful, insightful, suspenseful, and completely hilarious.

This book reminded me of Joan Bauer’s wonderful Rules of the Road.  Both have a young teenager learning wisdom from someone older and wiser, but frailer, while learning about navigating the highway—both the physical highway and the highway of life.

Review of another book by Caroline B. Cooney:
Goddess of Yesterday

Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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