by Leslie Connor

Fourteen-year-old Dewey’s parents are stranded on vacation up near the Canadian... read more

Fourteen-year-old Dewey’s parents are stranded on vacation up near the Canadian border, leaving Dewey and his four siblings on their own for much longer than originally planned. All the kids know the routine for taking care of themselves and one another, but things are complicated because of why their parents can’t get home: there’s an energy crunch and no one can get gas. People from all over town are showing up with their bikes in hopes of getting them fixed at their dad’s repair shop. Dewey is good at fixing bikes, and his brother Vince is great at it. But as the demand for repairs escalates, so too do tempers on all sides, with the crisis bringing out the best in some friends and neighbors and the worst in others. Meanwhile, bikers and pedestrians take over the interstate, bike parts are running out, grocery store shelves are emptying, and there’s no end to the trouble in sight. For Dewey, who is trying to manage the business, admitting he can’t do it all is akin to admitting defeat, and learning to say “I can’t” without feeling like a failure is his ultimate challenge. Despite an unnecessary subplot involving a bike thief, Leslie Connor’s novel is an intriguing blend of old-fashioned sensibility and twenty-first-century dilemma. Wonderful sibling personalities and interactions ground this story that offers a fascinating “what if” for readers to contemplate. (Ages 10–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2011

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