New cousins Lana and Cassie embark upon a road trip with their recently married grandparents and with very different attitudes.
Lana is excited to accompany her Grandpa Howe and his new wife on their honeymoon excursion and get a chance to befriend Cassie. However, Cassie would far prefer to stay home and foster her social connections with the ultracool Kendra. Initially, Cassie rebuffs Lana’s eager overtures, going so far as to make rules for the trip governing their interactions. Still, there are moments when Cassie lets go of her superior attitude, and the girls begin to forge a connection. McVoy’s tale examines the nature of friendship. Alternating chapters give each girl’s perspective on the journey, delving into their personal struggles and revealing their vulnerabilities. Cassie’s increasing desperation as she attempts to maintain her social standing with Kendra’s clique highlights the pressure and intensity of middle school social issues. McVoy also thoughtfully explores the impact of a parent’s health problems on a child. With compassionate insight, she addresses Lana’s feelings of abandonment and anxiety as her parents attempt to shield her from her mother’s serious illness. When their trip culminates in a visit to the aptly named “End of the Road,” both girls discover the support and strength found in friendships.
A trek across the continent evolves into a journey of personal growth in this affecting book. (Fiction. 10-14)