COASTER by Betsy Duffey


Age Range: 10 & up
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 Twelve-year-old Hart's parents have been divorced now for two years, but he still has trouble accepting that their marriage is over. So when Hart's mother, Sandra, begins dating Dub, the local celebrity weatherman, Hart is inconsolable. The only thing that still gets him going is his passion for roller coasters--a passion he shares with his absent father, Kip. As his mother and Dub's relationship develops, Hart spends his time building a working roller coaster, the ``Termite,'' with his friend Frankie in a nearby ravine and waiting for Kip's letter to tell him which roller coaster they will ride that summer. The letter never arrives, Dub and Sandra become engaged, and Hart takes his first ride on the Termite--with disastrous consequences. In a night of agony and solitude, Hart learns that bravery is not flamboyant, as Kip believes: It takes courage to commit, which Kip can never do. Hart also realizes that he himself has courage--and not because he was foolish enough to ride the Termite. He later proves his bravery by accepting his mother's marriage and rejecting his father's values. Duffey (How to be Cool in the Third Grade, 1993, etc.) speaks directly to the problems facing many adolescents today. Hart's character resonates. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-670-85480-8
Page count: 112pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1994


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