Overview

Tucker was supposed to be the designated driver. But there was something about the beauty of that last true summer night, that made him want to feel out-of-control just once. He drank so much and so quickly that he was instantly sick. That left Trey to drive. "I'll catch up to you later," were the last words Tucker would ever say to his friends as he heaved by the side of the road. It was the last time Tucker would ever see them alive.

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Everything Breaks

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Overview

Tucker was supposed to be the designated driver. But there was something about the beauty of that last true summer night, that made him want to feel out-of-control just once. He drank so much and so quickly that he was instantly sick. That left Trey to drive. "I'll catch up to you later," were the last words Tucker would ever say to his friends as he heaved by the side of the road. It was the last time Tucker would ever see them alive.

Tucker’s grief and guilt are just about unbearable and he wonders how he can continue living himself. When he meets the Ferryman who carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers that divide the world of the living from the world of the dead, Tucker gets a chance to decide: live or die. The temptation to join his three best friends on the other side may be too much for Tucker to overcome.

A gripping, haunting and emotional read.
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
01/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—Tucker is the careful one in his group of friends, the designated driver. But on the night of the last summer bonfire, he gets drunk, and his three best friends leave him retching on the side of the road as they drive off to their deaths. Tucker's guilt and grief are enormous, and he stumbles through the days after their funerals. His stepgrandfather, Bud, is the only person who can reach him. Tucker and Bud both encounter Charon, ferryman to the world of the dead, and they each have a different take on this mystical, powerful personage. Tucker has some loving people in his corner: his stepmom, his history teacher, and Bud, all of whom will go to the wall to save this young man, but Tucker is the one who needs to do the hard work to save himself. Although his guilt makes him feel trapped, the story itself moves quickly. Grove uses flashbacks to show Tucker's life and friendships before the accident, and they deepen and enrich the story. Readers will feel Tucker's joy in being with his friends and his grief, anger, and confusion over their loss. At first, when otherworldly elements appear, readers may be unsure if Tucker is having a breakdown or if mystical things are truly happening. Teens will grieve for and with Tucker, and will appreciate a positive ending that is not syrupy sweet.—Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CT
Booklist
"The Oklahoma settine may remind readers of S.E. Hinton's classic The Outsiders (1967), as will the themese of family and forgiveness, but Grove brings a beautifully unique spin to these familiar elements. As Tucker notes, 'Everything in this beautiful treasure house of a world breaks'; his curious and reflective journey will inspire thought and growth for many readers."—Booklist
The Horn Book
"Tucker's voice—and his guilt and anguish—ring true."—The Horn Book
Kirkus Reviews
2013-08-15
A tragic story of teen drinking and driving takes on a new twist when characters both real and supernatural challenge a young man's psyche. Tucker and three high school buddies are the essence of carefree, you-only-live-once teen existence: borrowed IDs and beer, tweeted updates and last-minute plans for a school bonfire, risky climbs and drinking parties in abandoned zinc mines. Their night of high school celebration changes when "silent Indian" Tucker's sudden and unexpected decision to drink--and his subsequent inability to perform his assigned designated-driver role--precedes a horrific accident that kills his best friends. It's shocking but predictable, except for the sudden and mysterious appearance of a three-headed dog that confronts Tucker. Mirage? Hallucination? Perhaps, but the pebble on his windowsill and the sudden appearance of best friend Trey's lighter are unsettling tangibles. Stepgrandfather Bud provides post-accident guidance; a teacher shares Greek mythology, a boon and advice; tri-headed Cerberus reappears with a cute, blue-haired, female hitchhiker version of Charon. Together, they bring Tucker to a point of deep, personal reflection and critical decision. The dialogue and camaraderie ring true though sanitized, with nary a curse passing among the teens; adults are caring and supportive. Grove provides an exploration of adolescent guilt, responsibility and connection in this modern legend--or is it a chronicle of grief-inspired hallucinations? Readers are free to decide. An engaging, perhaps paranormal, problem novel. (Fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780698135406
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/3/2013
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,308,574
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: 1010L (what's this?)
  • File size: 945 KB

Meet the Author

Vicki Grove is the acclaimed author of such books as Starplace, Reaching Dustin and Destiny.
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