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KLIATTCliched but likable story of a troubled teen saved by the affection of an elderly friend and the love of a good girl. Miles' delinquent friends Larry and Spider take him joyriding in a stolen Mustang. When the car crashes, Miles' so-called friends abandon him, unconscious, to the dubious mercies of the police. Miles' probation includes community service, and he is sent to help old Mr. and Mrs. Barnier at the senior citizens' organization. And what luck-Mr. Barnier sets car-crazy Miles to organizing boxes of 50-year-old hot rod magazines. Miles and Mr. Barnier spend happy hours discussing stockcar racing. But when Miles lets slip to Larry that Mr. Barnier has a gorgeous home-built hot rod in his garage, Miles sees trouble coming. Miles and his mechanic girlfriend Kenny have a great time helping fix Mr. Barnier's car, until Larry and Spider steal it for joyriding. Not much tension here-it's clear that Miles will choose his new, decent friends over loyalty to childhood friends gone bad-but a likable hero, appealing to more than just the mechanically inclined who will be steered toward this book. KLIATT Codes: JS-Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, Orca, 97p., Ages 12 to 18.
— Deborah Kaplan