Car Trouble

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Car Trouble Book Poster Image
Duff finds trouble while driving cross country.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.


A kiss.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there is a somewhat ambiguous attitude toward stealing here. It is labeled as wrong, but the thief is charming and is never punished.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAwesomepawsomeme May 18, 2010

Good for ages 10 and up

It is a good book. Has some drinking/drugs at a part in story when they stop at a bikers bar for something to eat but only a couple of pages. No real kissing or... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bytatertot123456 October 1, 2017

This book it found in the libary and its just been a great book and its almost feels like ur in the book and with the characters

All kids from about 13 and up will like it it has a few challenging words but other wise its great
Teen, 13 years old Written byIzzygama October 24, 2011

You WILL Get Hooked

This book is one of the best book i have read i dont get into bookes at all,but this book is so addicting to read your kids will love it you might even get into... Continue reading

What's the story?

Recent high-school grad and computer genius Duff Pringle decides to forego college for a job at a Silicon Valley startup. He also decides it will be much more interesting to drive there from his home in Virginia, so he buys a used car and heads west. But only a few hours out his car dies, triggering an improbable series of adventures involving a hitchhiker with dubious ethics, a young musician with a con-artist mom, a pair of crooks, stolen money, a biker bar, and more.

Is it any good?

While Duff's misadventures on his quixotic cross-country journey are entertaining, it is Jeanne DuPrau's ability to crawl inside his head that lifts this above the standard road-trip story. Descriptions of his Desperate Octopus Mind, his way of translating his life into computer code, his excitement over new ideas, and his self-recriminating interior monologues all ring true and will cause a flash of recognition in many readers. DuPrau manages what few authors do: integrating technology seamlessly into the story without showing off or getting it just slightly wrong.

The story, like many road movies, is humorous, improbable, and quirky. None of the characters are quite what they seem: the bad guys not really bad, the good guys not completely good, and no one seems securely comfortable in his or her life or skin. As a nice finishing touch, Duff learns that ultimate lesson that goes with the transition from teen to adult -- that his parents aren't quite as stupid as he thought they were.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the ways in which Duff changes, and the ethical dilemmas he faces.

Book details

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