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CAR TROUBLE by Jeanne DuPrau


by Jeanne DuPrau

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-073672-0
Publisher: HarperCollins

Life couldn’t be better for just-out-of-high-school Duff Pringle: He’s on his way to Silicon Valley for a high-paying job with a tech start-up and the road lies open before him. When his new used car breaks down before he even gets out of Virginia, however, he finds himself driving a borrowed vintage Chevy with a load of stolen cash in the trunk, an irritatingly charismatic surfer-hitchhiker, the beautiful guitar-playing daughter of the Chevy’s owner (a professional Internet fraud) and a carsick dog. It’s the Great American Road Trip, without a doubt, and although DuPrau is hardly the first to mine this vein, she produces a pleasingly zany caper peopled by amiably over-the-top characters. Duff himself is a hyper-defensive computer geek whose propensity to follow abstract trains of thought when he feels left out (which is most of the time) leads him—and readers—to an entirely satisfying conclusion, when against all odds, he makes it to California only to discover his job has gone belly-up along with the company. As always, it isn’t the destination, it’s the getting there that’s all the fun. (Fiction. YA)