Review Detail

Kids Fiction 232
Stories for the Road
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Claire's father has always been evasive when it comes to answering questions about her mother, who left the family when Claire was young; he would launch into elaborate stories about her being kidnapped by trolls or other fantastical explanations. When she was younger, like her brother Patrick, she believed her father, but as she approaches twelve, she becomes increasing annoyed at his games. When he decides to sell the house, buy a van, and spend the summer living in it, traveling around the country, Claire is very angry. She doesn't want to leave her home or her best friend, Ronnie, especially since Ronnie's older brother Mike seems interested in her. She's not given a choice, however, and soon the family is traveling from Michigan, through Ohio, and to Maine. They visit old friends of their father's along the way, but travel without much of a plan, much like the stories her father tells of supposed ancestor, Wrong Way Edgar Jacobus and his love interest, Evangeline Rose. When they head toward the west coast to visit her father's sister, Jan, Claire wonders if they might stop to see her mother as well. There's something not quite right about her father's plan, and once they land with her aunt, Claire finds out the truth about her family's travels.
Good Points
While it is fairly obvious that something is not quite right with the family's situation, the father hides the pertinent details about why they are leaving the house and undertaking the trip. The fanciful tales are his way of conveying some of the information about his painful past, and Claire understands a lot more about her situation at the end of the book.

There seems to be a minitrend in middle grade literature involving living in a van or camper; Svetcov's Parked and Nielsen's No Fixed Address have families living in vans because they are homeless, Gemeinhart's Coyote Sunrise has a similar plot about driving away from one's problems, and Nelson's upcoming (September 2020) Alpaca My Bags also has a family living in a camper. The details about finding a place to park, sleeping in hammocks, and using rest stop restroom facilities will appeal to readers who want some travel and adventure.

Road trip books are always interesting, and Claire's father drives VanHelsing through some interesting places; although they don't go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they pass it, and almost go to an amusement park along Lake Erie, probably Cedar Point. They meet a lot of other people who are camping, including a boy Claire's age who turns out not to be very nice.

Families splinter for all sorts of reasons; it's not always because a parent has passed away. Children often are not told about economic difficulties that families are facing, but are aware of them nonetheless. Books like Wrong Way Summer help build empathy for classmates who might be in difficult circumstances while also providing vicarious travel experiences.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Meanwhile
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Celebrate 10 years of this completely original graphic novel take...
Grant Beagan: The Finder's Code
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
He’s just an ordinary teenager who likes astronomy, video games,...
Fisher- Price Fun in the Jungle: Explore, Touch, and Feel
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Children will love exploring the different textures in this playful...
Glitter Globes: The Night Before Christmas
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
On the night before Christmas, all over the house, not...
Belinda Fellgate: HellCat
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A contemporary teen fantasy about an inept 14-year-old girl who...
Breathless
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From Jennifer Niven, the #1 New York Times bestselling author...
Music for Tigers
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Shipped halfway around the world to spend the summer...
Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A broken world. An overwhelming evil. ...
Kingdom of Ice and Bone (The Frozen Sun Saga, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lira and Reyker have lost everything. Including each other....
Sword of the Seven Sins
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Eva Marteinn never wanted to be a killer. Raised...
Things That Should Stay Buried
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Some destinies are written in the stars. Others must...
How It All Blew Up
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda goes to Italy...
Horrid
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
From the author of You Must Not Miss comes...
Tsalix Silverthorn and the Scepter of Destiny
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The latest phenomenal work from New York Times Bestselling author...
The Adventures of Bubba Jones (#4): Time Traveling Through Grand Canyon National Park
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the fourth book of this award-winning national park series,...
The Companion
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
The other orphans say Margot is lucky. Lucky to...

Latest Member Reviews

Fisher- Price Fun in the Jungle: Explore, Touch, and Feel
 
4.5
"FUN IN THE JUNGLE is an adorable board book great for infants and young toddlers who are exploring the world..."
Glitter Globes: The Night Before Christmas
 
4.5
"THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS modifies the original poem to be more modern and easily understood by young children. The classic..."
The Magic Misfits: The Fourth Suit (The Magic Misfits, #4)
 
5.0
"THE FOURTH SUIT is a fantastically magical finale. Ridley begins with a inventor's fair which she is entering with the..."
Duck and Penguin Do Not Like Sleepovers
 
4.0
"DUCK AND PENGUIN DO NOT LIKE SLEEPOVERS is an overall cute book about two stuffed animals whose owners are BFFs..."
Fussy Flamingo
 
4.5
"FUSSY FLAMINGO is an adorable fictional tale about a flamingo named Lola that doesn't want to eat shrimp. Instead, her..."
Give It! (Moneybunny Books)
 
4.0
"GIVE IT! introduces the simple concept of charity as well as being thoughtful about money purchases. Chummy and his Gran..."
Little Snowflake
 
5.0
"LITTLE SNOWFLAKE is a delightful story that explains the water cycle through the eyes of a small snowflake. Tiny drops..."
Room on the Broom Push-Pull-Slide
 
5.0
"ROOM ON THE BROOM PUSH-PULL-SLIDE is a delightfully interactive board book sure to enchant toddlers and preschoolers. A witch is..."
Stanley's Fire Engine
 
5.0
"STANLEY'S FIRE ENGINE is an adorable picture book that follows a day in the life of Stanley the Firefighter. Stanley..."
Shelly Struggles to Shine (The Derby Daredevils, #2)
 
4.5
"SHELLY STRUGGLES TO SHINE is a great middle grade read that follows the struggle of individuality and feeling like you..."
Thanks a Ton! (A Hello!Lucky Book)
 
5.0
"THANKS A TON! is filled to the brim with bright colors, rhymes, animals, and gratitude. While an elephant has a..."
Wild Week
 
4.0
"WILD WEEK is a cute board book that features an animal on each day of the week, doing something in..."
Peppermint Post
 
5.0
"PEPPERMINT POST is an adorable new story about Christmas and Santa. The Peppermint Post is the busiest post office in..."
Stolen from the Studio (Case Closed, #2)
 
4.0
"STOLEN FROM THE STUDIO is a fun middle grade mystery with a choose-your-own-adventure plot. Carlos travels with his mother, a..."
The Wizenard Series: Season One
 
4.0
"THE WIZENARD SERIES: SEASON ONE is written by Wesley King and created by Kobe Bryant. The MG fantasy follows Reggie,..."
The Triumphant Tale of Pippa North
 
4.0
"THE TRIUMPHANT TALE OF PIPPA NORTH combines magic and humor in a middle grade fantasy full of charm. Pippa is..."
TURBO Racers: Escape Velocity
 
4.0
"TURBO RACERS: ESCAPE VELOCITY is a fast-paced, high-stakes adventure. Mace Blazer is a TURBOnaut, a high-speed vehicle racer. He recently..."
Bread Lab!
 
4.0
"BREAD LAB! is a cute picture book that walks through the steps of making sourdough bread through the eyes of..."
A Thousand No's
 
3.5
"A THOUSAND NO'S is a cute picture book about the way that feedback can change an idea. A girl has..."
Ronan Boyle and the Swamp of Certain Death (Ronan Boyle, #2)
 
4.0
"RONAN BOYLE AND THE SWAMP OF CERTAIN DEATH is a comedic middle grade fantasy that features a young boy on..."