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Hilarious and Profound
This novel totally caught me by surprise. I thought it would be a typical ecological story about a boy who wants to save the planet. James Hoff is so much more than that. He is funny and one of the fullest and realest characters I can recall. He thinks about everything and writes about it in a classic teenaged, semi=engaged, semi-not tone. I highly recommend.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 4, 2009
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com
A junior in high school without the burning desire to possess and drive his own car? Yep, that's James Hoff.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
He believes cars are part of what is wrong in this world focused on consumerism and material wealth. He'll walk to the mall and bike to school, and he doesn't understand how everyone else can't see how they are contributing to the destruction of the planet.
James is a bit of an outcast. He shuns consumer goods as much as possible, choosing to wear old clothes, worn-out tennis shoes, even going so far as to cut the elbows out of his sweater to make it look even older and more worn. True, this earns him the odd comment or casual sneer from his classmates, but James does have friends who appreciate his different opinions, and he even had Sadie as his girlfriend for a while.
Sadie has her own set of "causes," like saving the whales and running the canned food drives for the hungry. Unfortunately, she left James for Will, but rumor has it that she's broken up with Will recently, making James reconsider his feelings for her. She seems interested in renewing their friendship, but James is sort of hoping for more.
Problems on the girlfriend front are just the tip of the iceberg for James. Parental pressure has been increasing recently, as well. He's never really cared much for his father, and when the man left a few years back it seemed that maybe he and his mother would be better off without him. Unfortunately, he returned.
Now that James is a junior, his father is asking the college questions. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? James has been thinking maybe college isn't for him, at least not right now. His father definitely has other plans.
In an effort to convince James college is the path to choose, his father offers to buy him a car as soon as he applies to a college. How can his father know so little about his oldest son? Why would someone who believes in the destruction of all cars actually want one?
Blake Nelson works his literary magic as he creates the perfect picture of teenage turmoil. Using dialogue, journal entries, and Junior AP essay assignments, he reveals the world of James Hoff. Clever, witty, sarcastic, moody, love-struck, and confused are just a few of the adjectives that will come to mind as readers enter his world.
DESTROY ALL CARS offers an unforgettable roller-coaster ride through one teen's junior year.