Destroy All Cars

Destroy All Cars

5.0 2
by Blake Nelson
     
 

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James Hoff likes to rant against America's consumerist culture. He also likes to rant against his ex-girlfriend, Sadie, who he feels isn't doing enough to change the world. But just like he can't avoid buying things, he also can't avoid Sadie for long. This is a fantastic, funny, sexy, cool masterpiece from one of the best YA writers at work today, an anti-consumerist… See more details below

Overview

James Hoff likes to rant against America's consumerist culture. He also likes to rant against his ex-girlfriend, Sadie, who he feels isn't doing enough to change the world. But just like he can't avoid buying things, he also can't avoid Sadie for long. This is a fantastic, funny, sexy, cool masterpiece from one of the best YA writers at work today, an anti-consumerist love story that's all about idealism, in both James's relationship with the world and his relationships with the people around him.

Editorial Reviews

Regina Marler
…smart and entertaining…We learn James's story through both cynical blog entries and the rants he submits as English papers, along with the toned-down rewrites requested by his teacher. When he's not blasting humanity, he can be darkly funny.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

High school student James Hoff is a passionate writer who rants about everything from sheeplike "Consumer Americans" to the destruction of the environment. He also writes about his ex-girlfriend Sadie, who he feels is a lightweight when it comes to saving the world. While Sadie is involved in positive initiatives like community food drives, James prefers a more radical approach ("The automobile is the foundation upon which our unsustainable lifestyle is based. They must be DESTROYED. All of them. Even the cute ones"). His pugnacious determination is admirable, but even he admits uninspired ("The problem is I don't believe in anything"). James comes to realize that his nihilism, both personal and political, is ultimately alienating him from others and preventing him from reaching his potential. James's journal entries and the combative essays that he writes (and rewrites) for his English teacher make up the brunt of the narrative and demonstrate his eventual growth. Nelson (Paranoid Park) offers an elegant and bittersweet story of a teenager who is finding his voice and trying to make meaning in a world he often finds hopeless. Ages 15-up. (May)

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VOYA - Sarah Sogigian
James Hoff has a plan to save the world. Forget recycling, taking the bus to work, and buying green products. The only way to save the world is to destroy the cars. James, a high school junior, is also convinced that the only way to save humans from extinction is to save them from the excess he finds too common in his life. When James asks his best friend's mom to turn off her car engine instead of idling, she says she cannot because she needs "climate control." James also has traditional teen problems. He broke up with fellow activist, Sadie, and has to deal with seeing her in school with her new boyfriend. His father has left and returned to his family, leaving James to deal with confused feelings toward his parents. Everyone at school thinks he is a weird kid, because he chooses not to drive, wears old clothes, and writes very passionate, if inappropriate, essays for class. But when James and Sadie find themselves working for the same cause, James is forced to address his feelings for Sadie, which return in full force after spending an afternoon with her. The real action in this story has less to do with saving the environment, and more to do with James growing up. He finds that there are some people—no matter how hard you try to convince them otherwise—who choose not to follow what you believe. He sees that people love him, regardless of what he says. This sweet, satisfying read will appeal to fans of Nelson's previous books, and teens who want to change the world—even if the only world they change is their own. Reviewer: Sarah Sogigian
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
James Hoff is a junior in high school who is passionate about environmental causes and does not mind ranting about them, especially in essays in Honors English. This delightful look at the personal thoughts of a teenage boy is told in his own hilarious words. It is a straightforward account of James' friendships, both male and female, his anomie from his family, his teetering self-image, and his disgust with American consumerism and its affect on planet earth. James dresses and thinks apart from the majority of kids at his high school, except for maybe his ex-girlfriend Sadie, President of the school Activist Club. The reader tags along as James negotiates his junior year with all the ups and downs associated with parents, school, girls, thinking about college, and of course, "the lameness of people, in general." By the end of the year, things have changed a bit and so has James. It is a refreshing and funny look at the world of a teenage boy, albeit one a bit off center. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545104746
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
05/01/2009
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
887,616
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
HL610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 Years

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