DRIVER'S ED by Caroline B. Cooney


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If the parents only knew"" is the theme of this story of teenagers caught in the tragic results of a thoughtless prank. Remy Marland and Morgan Campbell are attracted to each other in Mr. Fielding's driver's-ed class, where the teacher is so oblivious and disinterested that the students can swap identities to satisfy their needs to be more or less frequently behind the wheel. Remy and Morgan then remove a stop sign, which results in a fatal accident that kills a young mother. Guilt-ridden and afraid of the consequences to themselves and their families, they finally reveal their secret and must face the victim's husband and child. Cooney relies on psychological tension rather than on plot to capture her readers and is less successful here than in the more gripping The Face on the Milk Canon (1990). The story is told alternately from Remy's and Morgan's points of view in prose that is often too stylized; but the anguish of the characters, both teens and adults, is compelling. Remy's troublesome brother, Mac, is the hero here as he articulates the need for parents to love their children unconditionally. Some unresolved issues yield an unsettling ending, but teens will identify with the ""it could happen to me"" aspect of the story.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1994
Page count: 186pp
Publisher: Delacorte