Kevin Waltman, Author . Scholastic/Push $6.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-439-41424-1

In his first novel, Waltman captures the complicated world of 15-year-old Gary, who spends his summer in his hometown of Dearborn Springs, Ind., working at the Dairy Castle, hanging out with Lauryn, his prudish girlfriend, and taking joyrides with wild best friend, Wilson. The car belongs to an ex-teacher (he "got busted for sleeping with one of his students"), who leaves a spare set of keys in the glove box. Though not all the plotting is convincing, readers will empathize with narrator Gary, who feels as if "Sometimes it's like I don't have a will of my own," as he's pushed and pulled among his friends and abusive father. When the teacher, Mr. Roverson, catches on to the theft, he offers Gary and Wilson the use of the car in exchange for doing work around his house. While Wilson soon becomes bored with the situation, Gary bonds with Roverson, who offers him advice for dealing with Lauryn and listens to him talk about his dad (the teacher's own confession to the teen about his love for Lindy, his former student, stretches credibility). But when Gary agrees to help Roverson bring Lindy back to him, finally believing that he's making a choice of his own, he sets off an unfortunate chain of events. The prose becomes overwrought in places, but Waltman credibly builds the pressures facing Gary, not shying away from graphic language or violence as those pressures begin to boil over. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 11/04/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7569-5707-0
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-25848-7
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-72069-4
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