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by Will Weaver

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: April 10th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-374-35060-4
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Librarians need to steer boys who tinker with internal combustion engines to Weaver’s latest work, set at the Headwaters Speedway, a dirt racetrack located in Northern Minnesota. The large cast of blue-collar characters doesn’t get blisters from video-game controllers but happily accepts skinned knuckles from cranking on torque wrenches. Teenagers Trace Bonham, Melody (Mel) Walters and Beau Kim get their thrills from competitive racing at the decaying track, but they have run into problems: Trace finds that his mechanic has sabotaged his engine, Mel struggles to keep her injured father’s track financially solvent and Beau works to keep his rolling wreck running. A major storm compounds these difficulties by threatening to wash out the big race. Although several race scenes are exciting, minute and potentially boring mechanical details too often interrupt the by-the-numbers plot. Short chapters and a brisk pace, however, may attract those reluctant readers who can recite the firing order of a V-8 and know how to tighten down a valve cover. (Fiction. YA)