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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Hit the Road* by Caroline B. Cooney - young adult book review

Also by Caroline B. Cooney:

No Such Person

The Lost Songs

They Never Came Back

If the Witness Lied
Hit the Road
by Caroline B. Cooney
Grades 6-10 192 pages Laurel Leaf January 2008 Paperback    

Hit The Road, a new novel from bestselling author Caroline B. Cooney, starts with Brit's parents going to Alaska on vacation and leaving their daughter with her grandmother, Nannie. They expect the two to have a quiet stay at Nannie's house just a few minutes from Brit's home. As soon as Brit's parents drive off toward the airport, however, Nannie reveals that she has other plans.

Brit, who has had her license for only eleven days, finds herself driving off to pick up Nannie's roommates from college (one of whom needs to be kidnapped from a nursing home) to take them to their sixty-fifth reunion. And the car she's driving? That's a huge van that Nannie has rented but is too short to drive, so Brit becomes the illegal driver on this road trip.

Although at first Brit thinks her mother has the right idea (she thinks Nannie's losing it), she starts to get emotionally involved in the trip, getting "the girls" to their reunion safely. That doesn't sound too hard, but Brit didn't anticipate being chased by Aurelia's son after they free her from the nursing home where she was sent against her will. At first, she would welcome the chance to give it all up and go back home. But after listening to Nannie and her friends in the backseat, friends who have been together for decades, she wants more than anything for them to get to their reunion. Of course, it wouldn't hurt if she could also find out why her crush, Cooper, has been calling her.

Hit The Road is a funny, heartwarming road-trip tale like no other. Instead of teenage friends setting off during the summer to find themselves (something that's certainly been written about before), this is a story about people who have already found themselves (accompanied by the less certain teenager, Brit), setting off for what might be their final reunion.

The twist on your average young adult book about traveling makes this book stand out from the rest, but that's not the only thing. It wouldn't be what it is without the funny, realistic characters, either, or the suspense; it's not certain if "the girls," with Brit's help, will be able to outwit Aurelia's scheming son, Aston.

This book also talks about some issues that might not often be on the minds of teenagers, but are important. Old people, it is true, are often treated like children rather than adults who have been making their own decisions for decades. It's something that people don't think about much, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. Just because Nannie and the girls might need some physical help with things like getting in and out of the car doesn't mean their minds aren't as sharp as ever; these ladies are certainly capable of making decisions for themselves.

This book is one that should not be soon forgotten. Nannie and the girls are people to learn from, with over eighty years of life experience that has taught them a lot. While it is a young adult book, Hit The Road can (and will) be enjoyed by people of all ages, from all generations.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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