Road-trip rebellion with romance.
A sophomore at the mostly girls’ boarding school where his mother is headmistress, Andrew is not living up to his potential. Not that he’s cared about much of anything since his parents split up, but when pushed too far at Thanksgiving, he runs away from home. At the bus station, Andrew hooks up with an unusual group of young folks who are traveling in a van and living effectively hand to mouth with what they can muster from busking, Dumpster diving and handouts. With the Freegans, as they call themselves, he journeys from home in upstate New York to New Mexico. While it’s not a particularly new plot, the characters become compelling. There’s anarchist Lyle, who is hiding something. Pudgy Asian-American Tim is an odd addition to a troupe of acrobats. G, the lesbian who first approaches Andrew, is ironically the straightest of the bunch, while Jesse, the driver, leader and master of ceremonies, is always positive and inclusive. However, it’s Emily, with her blonde dreadlocks and bare stomach, who captures Andrew’s attention and lust. The dynamics of the group, combined with quirky characters met along the way, provide a certain fascination for both readers and Andrew. Readers captivated by the characters will have a chance to appreciate Andrew’s somewhat slow growth from a wimp with a dick into someone with a spine and a brain.
Though it doesn’t blaze new trails, it’s an enjoyable-enough ride. (Fiction. 12-16)