WHY WE TOOK THE CAR by Wolfgang Herrndorf
Kirkus Star

WHY WE TOOK THE CAR

by , translated by
Age Range: 14 - 17

KIRKUS REVIEW

Social misfits hit the Autobahn.

Mike Klingenberg has just finished another boring, socially awkward year in middle school and is staring down a solitary two-week stint at home, thanks to his mother’s latest round of rehab and his father’s “business trip” with a suspiciously attractive personal assistant. Just as he’s watering the lawn, imagining himself lord of a very small manor in suburban Berlin, class reject Tschick shows up in a “borrowed” old Soviet-era car, and the boys hatch a plan to hit the road. Mike’s rich interior life—he meditates on beauty and the meaning of life and spins self-mocking fantasies of himself as a great essayist—hasn’t translated well to the flirtatious physical swagger required by eighth grade. Tschick, meanwhile, is a badly dressed Russian immigrant who often shows up to school reeking of alcohol and who is also given to profound leaps of psychological insight. Their road trip (destination: Wallachia, a German euphemism for “the middle of nowhere”; also a region of Romania) is peopled by unexpected, often bizarre, largely benign characters who deepen Mike’s appreciation for humanity and life. Each episode in the boys’ journey grows more outrageous, leading readers to wonder how far they’ll go before coming to a literal screeching (and squealing) halt.

In his first novel translated into English, Herrndorf sits squarely and triumphantly at the intersection of literary tall tale and coming-of-age picaresque. (Fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-545-48180-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Levine/Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2013




SMART READS FOR TEENS:

Children AND WE STAY by Jenny Hubbard
by Jenny Hubbard
Children GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE by Andrew Smith
by Andrew Smith
Children NEVERWAS by Kelly Moore
by Kelly Moore
Children THE GLASS CASKET by McCormick Templeman
by McCormick Templeman

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenWHERE THINGS COME BACK by John Corey Whaley
by John Corey Whaley
ChildrenTHE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS by Francisco X. Stork
by Francisco X. Stork
ChildrenDR. BIRD'S ADVICE FOR SAD POETS by Evan Roskos
by Evan Roskos