Why We Took The Car

Wolfgang Herrndorf, trans. from the German by Tim Mohr. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-545-48180-9
German novelist Herrndorf makes his YA (and U.S.) debut with this action- and emotion-packed story of surprise summer adventure. When German eighth-grader Mike Klingenberg discovers that he’s among the few “Boring kids and losers... Russians, Nazis and idiots” who are not invited to his crush Tatiana’s birthday party, he is devastated. Mike is facing a miserable summer, with his mother in rehab and father away at a “business meeting” with his sexy assistant, when his new Russian classmate, Tschick (whom Mike considers “trash”), arrives at his house in a stolen car. An unlikely compatibility leads to a candy-fueled road trip, complicated by their lack of a map or cell phone. Driving all over Germany, the boys face conundrums like avoiding the police, buying gas and food when clearly underage, and vaguely seeking Tschick’s grandfather. Prepared by life to expect ill will, Mike and Tschick instead meet “almost only people from the one percent who weren’t bad.” Beginning at the end, with Mike narrating the explanation suggested by the title, this alternately wild, sad, hilarious, and tender tale chronicles the development of a strange and beautiful friendship. Ages 14–up. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/28/2013
Release date: 01/07/2014
Paperback - 978-0-545-48181-6
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-545-58636-8
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-922070-79-1
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