cover image Driver's Ed

Driver's Ed

Caroline B. Cooney, Liska. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $16.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-385-32087-0

A wrenching, breathlessly paced plot and an adrenaline-charged romance make Cooney's ( The Face on the Milk Carton ) latest novel nearly impossible to put down. To high school junior Remy, a late-night sign-stealing expedition seems like an especially thrilling (and only vaguely illegal) way to pursue the boy she has a crush on, good-looking Morgan Campbell. Intoxicated by their feelings for each other, neither Remy nor Morgan pays much attention when thuggish Nickie decides to take a stop sign from a poorly lit intersection. Later that night, a young mother is killed when she is hit by a truck at the very same intersection--a direct consequence of the teens' prank. Remy, Morgan and Nickie have left no evidence to implicate themselves; while Nickie is glad to evade responsibility, Remy and Morgan must somehow come to terms with the tragedy they have caused. Set against a richly imagined background of relentlessly ordinary events--Thanksgiving festivities, Christmas shopping at the mall--Remy and Morgan's tortured inner searchings are all the more harrowing. Given Cooney's vigorous, evocative prose and her carefully individuated characters, this modern-day morality tale is as convincing as it is irresistible. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)