This emotionally sophisticated story features two teenage boys, the Friesen brothers, who, not surprisingly at their stage of life, share a love-hate relationship. They have different personalities and different interests. Eighteen-year-old Jens is a big man on campus, the star receiver on the football team, and a top fundraiser. His younger brother Daniel is introverted, musical, and in trouble: he owes $5,000 to a sleazy record producer and has no way of repaying it. It seems like everyone is relying on Jens. ...
This emotionally sophisticated story features two teenage boys, the Friesen brothers, who, not surprisingly at their stage of life, share a love-hate relationship. They have different personalities and different interests. Eighteen-year-old Jens is a big man on campus, the star receiver on the football team, and a top fundraiser. His younger brother Daniel is introverted, musical, and in trouble: he owes $5,000 to a sleazy record producer and has no way of repaying it. It seems like everyone is relying on Jens. When the boys’ father suffers a heart attack, Jens leaves school and takes a job to contribute to the family’s income. When Daniel asks Jens for help, the older brother not only offers advice but also accompanies Daniel when he confronts his enemies. In a shiny new pickup truck packed with camping gear and guitars, the brothers set out on an unusual road trip. This unforgettable weekend teaches them the priceless value of friendship and family loyalty.
Drive: some have it; some do not; and Jens Friesen definitely has drive. Was he not one of only a handful of juniors to have been a defensive lineman for the Rosetown Raiders? Did he not achieve fame as "Chocolate King" for selling 3,364 boxes of chocolate-covered almonds? So why now, as an eighteen-year-old high school dropout, driven to make his dad proud by selling the most cars at Winnebago's Five Star Ford dealership, is his world unraveling? Just as Jens is about to lose his job--not knowing how to go home a failure--his younger brother, Daniel, unexpectedly arrives in need of help. Daniel, a gifted blues guitarist, owes five thousand dollars to a musical producer for making demo cassette tapes. Believing he has what it takes to go out there and promote Daniel's tapes, Jens "borrows" a company truck, packs gear, and the brothers head off busking in one small town after another. Wieler, author of Bad Boy Delacorte, 1992/VOYA April 1992 and the RanVan trilogy Groundwood, 1997-1998, uses metaphors and imagery to orchestrate this tale of coming-of-age and acceptance as easily as Daniel plays his sound: Glissando. Delicately dealing with issues of teenage sexuality and the realization that good parents are capable of making bad choices, she accents this story with musical references: Mann electric and Fender Stratocaster guitars, and Bluesman immortals Gord Kidder and Big Dave Mclean. The reader drifts in a blues walk with this duo through the vast province of Manitoba in a building crescendo until a violent snowstorm and an emotional collapse climax in a finale of resolve. In the end, there is great comfort in realizing that you can go home again. VOYA Codes: 5Q 4P S Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12.
Drive tells the story of two teenage brothers living in rural Manitoba, trying to "make it" in the world. The older brother, Jens, is an unsuccessful car salesman in a big town away from home, putting up a front of confidence and happiness to his family. Daniel, the younger brother, is a gifted blues guitarist with a $5,000 debt to a producer who promised to make him big. Together the brothers go on the road, hoping to promote Daniel's guitar playing and sell enough of his tapes to pay off the sleazy producer. Jens practices his sales ability in country towns and VFW halls, and Daniel plays his guitar and tries to make a name for himself. The story of their struggle to get along with one another and to earn the money so that their parents will never know the truth is engaging and realistic. The characters are stark contrasts, in personalities and talents, and the family dynamics they try to negotiate show an honesty not always seen in YA fiction. The setting of the story may seem far away to some teen readers, but the desire to pursue a dream, become famous and live off one's passions will ring true with many. I especially appreciated the undercurrent in the story of the importance and difficulty of family. Jens and Daniel, in their efforts to hide truth and disappointment from their parents, end up becoming closer to their parents and to each other. A great read that will hold the reader's attention right up until the end. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1998, Groundwood Books, dist. by Publishers Group West, 245p. 18cm., $5.95. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Sarah Applegate; Libn., River Ridge H.S., Lacey, WA , July 2001 (Vol. 35, No.4)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Jens Friesen, an 18-year-old high school dropout who has just lost his job as a car salesman, returns home to help his younger brother. Daniel, 16, is a talented blues guitarist who owes his agent $5,000, and the agent is demanding payment. The boys tell their parents they are going camping and spend a long, tumultuous weekend on the road trying to earn the money. They spend one night with Daniel's 22-year-old girlfriend, experience a sudden blizzard, and have a couple of successful impromptu gigs. In the course of their travels, the brothers reconcile some long-standing conflicts they have had with one another and with their parents and do some much-needed growing up. Though not overly explicit, there are several references to sexual activity, masturbation, and alcohol abuse. The development of the brothers' relationship is somewhat shallow, but the action moves quickly and readers' interest will be held by the boys' adventures. The blues guitar subject matter will also be a hook for some young adults.-William C. Schadt, Glacier Park Middle School, Maple Valley, WA