Thelma Hatch Wyss, Author . HarperCollins $15.95 (144p) ISBN 978-0-06-029783-1

The humorous, self-deprecating voice of 16-year-old narrator Martin ("Marty") J. Miller strongly propels Wyss's (Here at the Scenic-Vu Motel) novel. His mother's remarriage to Mr. Joe Wonderful in Seattle forces Marty to move from his beloved Winnemucca, Nev. But after she leaves on a three-month honeymoon and his stringy-haired stepbrother Burgess, also 16, throws his belongings out of the second-floor window, Marty runs away. Marty's trusty Jeep runs low on gas in Red Rock, Idaho, so he takes a job at a burger joint and enrolls in school. The title refers to Marty's realization that "No matter where I found myself in the cities of the world—New York City, Istanbul, Athens, Seattle, or Red Rock—I would always be just ten miles from Winnemucca in my heart." His comic take on events keeps things on an even keel, despite impending starvation, poverty and a chorus of critters in his illegal camp (e.g., when he is out of money and has nowhere to sleep, he says, "On the outside I was normal… But on the inside I was Help Wanted"; "trust fund" makes his list of "additional necessities"). After his solo journey, the ending may be a bit of a letdown, but Marty's quirky take on life and his boundless resourcefulness will keep readers entertained. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/07/2002
Release date: 03/01/2002
Hardcover - 144 pages - 978-0-06-029784-8
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