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HOW TO STEAL A CAR by Pete Hautman

HOW TO STEAL A CAR

By Pete Hautman

Age Range: 13 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-545-11318-2
Publisher: Scholastic

Hautman channels the cynically smart voice of a teenage sometime car thief in this sly cross between Blake Nelson’s The New Rules of High School (2003) and Peter Cameron’s Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You (2007). Fifteen-year-old Kelleigh is bored. Her staid parents politely leave her alone, her two best friends talk about the same old things and she’s stuck with Moby-Dick for her summer-reading selection. So she begins stealing cars, quickly escalating from joy riding in her elderly neighbors’ Caddy to plotting the theft of a stranger’s Mercedes. Teens will identify with Kelleigh’s challenges to boundaries and attempts to see how many rules she can break before anyone in authority can be bothered to notice. Kelleigh soon decides that while “I stole a couple cars…It’s not who I am.” However, the illegal thrill causes her to realize she has outgrown her suburban–Twin Cities world, and an unrepentant ending behind stolen wheels suggests she is destined to leave it behind. A sharply observed, subversive coming-of-age tale. (Fiction. 13 & up)