Car Trouble

 
Duff finds trouble while driving cross country.

What parents need to know

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

A kiss.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk about...

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

Book details

Author:Jeanne DuPrau
Genre:Contemporary Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:October 22, 2005
Number of pages:274
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Read aloud:11
Read alone:11

This review of Car Trouble was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written bycascade May 31, 2011
age 12+
 

Car trouble

I think this book is the best.It is very educational.It gives you life lessons.Like not to get into trouble
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byAwesomepawsomeme May 18, 2010
age 10+
 

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 seual things except a kiss on the cheek. Other than that it was a very good book and i enjoyed reading it!
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byIzzygama October 24, 2011
age 12+
 

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 it. This book just keeps you thinking whats going to happen next?
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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