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BIG RIG by Louise Hawes


by Louise Hawes

Pub Date: Aug. 9th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-68263-252-9
Publisher: Peachtree

Eleven-year-old Hazel loves life on the road with her dad.

Her mom died when she was an infant, and for the first four years of her life she lived with Dad’s beloved best friends, Mazen and Serena, while her father grieved and got his drinking under control. But now Hazel and Dad drive all over the country, hauling all kinds of cargo, overnighting at truck stops, and sleeping in the cab of their truck, Leonardo, which Dad fitted with comfortable bunks and a starry ceiling. Dad home-schools Hazel on a wide variety of fascinating subjects, and a marble box holding Mom’s ashes is always with them. Hazel worries that industry automation and Dad’s talk of quitting the road will prevent her from achieving her dream of someday being a trucker, but she’s working on a clever, secret plan. Hazel narrates her story at a pace that varies with their activities. There are hilarious moments, some mysticism, and heart-stopping adventures: Encounters with an abandoned baby, a kitten rescued from a plane crash, a teen runaway, and a school van caught in a flash flood highlight their compassion and bravery. Father and daughter learn to understand each other, and when Hazel’s ingenious plan succeeds, a momentous decision is reached. Hazel is innocent, wise, trusting, loving, capable, creative—and a total delight; readers will root for her all the way. Hazel and Dad are White; Mazen and Serena are Black.

An unusual modern picaresque romp with a lovely message.

(Fiction. 9-13)