cover image Saturday Night Dirt

Saturday Night Dirt

Will Weaver, . . Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $14.95 (163pp) ISBN 978-0-374-35060-4

Weaver (Defect ; Full Service ) launches his Motor series with this fast-paced introduction to the rough-and-tumble world of car racing. Headwaters Speedway in northern Minnesota is a struggling track desperate for some big-name racers to draw in fans and revenue. One Saturday night, when rainstorms force cancellations at other tracks throughout the state, owner Johnny Walters, a former racer left paralyzed after a severe crash, and his 17-year-old daughter, Melody, get a bigger crowd than they ever imagined. Weaver entertains readers with a motley cast: Maurice Battier, the track's fastidious flagman; Beau Kim, 16, the tai chi–loving Mod-Four racer; and Sonny Down Wind, who refuses all sponsorship offers. At times the language gets mired in hardcore automotive lingo: “He was cranking over the engine to find top dead center, or TDC, valve position.” And with 10 characters introduced in the first 50 pages, it's initially difficult to keep them straight. But in limited space, Weaver fleshes each one out enough to leave a lasting impression on readers and make them curious to know what happens next. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)