for Car Trouble
by Jeanne DuPrau
Seventeen-year-old Duff Pringle has it all figured out. He’s bypassing college for a job in California as a computer programmer. College, after all, would just be four more years of torture among peers who aren’t nearly as mature as he. So he’s got his first used car, a route mapped out from Richmond, West Virginia, to San Jose, and six days to complete the journey. “ 'This isn’t some computer program you can control by typing in a bunch of numbers,’ his father had said over and over. 'This is life. ’ ” Exactly, Duff thinks. And he’s about to start living it. Life has a more than a few surprises in store for Duff over the course of the next six days—and several cars—in Jeanne DuPrau’s funny story about a teen who thinks he knows it all, and gradually sees it all unravel. Duff is a tenderly honest character—a smart, socially awkward teen who falls back on false ego to bluster his way through situations where he feels lacking. Meeting up with a unique assortment of strangers—those he knows he can trust, those he knows he can’t, and those he puts up with while deciding—provides Duff with some of his biggest challenges and most outrageous moments on the road. By journey’s end, he’s left with nothing, or at least nothing he expected. But in truth he’s gained much: a good friend, a bit of humility, and the ability to embrace the unknown. (Ages 13–16)
CCBC Choices 2006 . © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2006. Used with permission.
Duff Pringle has bought his first car. (Used.) He's got six days to drive 3,000 miles cross-country to California and start a new hi-tech job that will make him wealthy. (Sort of.) Nothing can stop him. (Or can it?)
Uh-oh . . . CAR TROUBLE.
Duff's Ford Escort barely makes it a hundred miles from home before breaking down. What's he supposed to do? He's promised his new boss he'll be there by Monday. But he's also promised himself that he'll make this journey by car, so he can really see the country. Using his laptop and some quick thinking, he pieces together a way to continue his trip. What he doesn't plan on are the people he meets along the road. There's Stu, a hitchhiker with a secret; Bonnie, an aspiring singer with a con artist for a mother; two thugs looking for a trunkful of cash; and Moony, the terrier prone to carsickness.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.