VOYA - Karen Jensen
In the tradition of Driver's Ed by Caroline B. Cooney (Delacorte, 1994/VOYA October 1994) and Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan (Little, Brown, 1978), four teenagers learn that it only takes one moment to change one's life forever. Quin is a star athlete whose father will not allow him to fail. Laurie lives in the shadow of her mother's high school glory days. Jeremy and Analise are two teenagers in love and looking forward to graduation. The life-altering moment happens when a drunk Quin, driving Laurie home from a bad date, hits a deer. Across town Jeremy gets a phone call from Analise's parents asking if she is there. Analise's badly damaged body is found, and as she lies in a coma at the hospital, rumors begin to fly around school that it was a hit-and-run. Laurie soon realizes that Quin did not hit a deer but Analise. Instead of coming forward, Laurie decides to blackmail Quin into dating her "exclusively" until graduation. When Laurie comes face-to-face with Jeremy, who is faithfully waiting for Analise to come out of her coma, however, she must decide who she really wants to be. In chapters that are told from alternating points of view, the story moves forward and reveals the inner lives of all four teens. Teens will root for Jeremy and Analise. But there is no love to be had for the morally corrupt Quin, who is a player, and Laurie, who takes the quest for popularity to a whole new level in this recommended purchase.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up One night, too many drinks and a tragic car accident in Ashville, NC, forever change the lives of four people. Quinn is BMOC, a promising athlete with a driven father pushing him to succeed at all costs. On this particular evening, he hits a bicyclist on the side of the road and covers up the crime. Laurie is on the fringe of the A-list crowd, and considers using her knowledge of what Quinn did to blackmail him into dating her to boost her popularity. However, compromising her morals could be an even bigger atrocity. Analise is the innocent victim, trapped in her own mind. She doesn't know whether to hang on or let go. And Jeremy is the boy who loves her and hopes she can find her way back, because he can't imagine life without her. Hit and Run demonstrates the power of love and making choices. McDaniel, known for her inspiring novels, has a simplistic style, but a weighty message-it's the way you respond to a given situation that defines who you are and who you will be.-Terri Clark, Smokey Hill Library, Centennial, CO
Read an Excerpt
Friday, October 21, 11:58 PM
I am floating in total darkness. Not floating like in water, but on a stream of air. Floating, trapped within a dark cloud . . . my eyes wide open. But there's no light, not even a glimmer, and I can't see. I hear nothing. I feel nothing. No pain. No brush of air against my skin. Not the limbs of my body. Not the beating of my heart. Not the sound of my blood rushing through my ears.
My heartbeat. My sight. My touch. Where are they? Where am I?
Who am I?
Friday, October 21, 6:15 pm
"How many times are you going to change clothes tonight?"
I stop riffling through the contents of my pathetic closet and look over at Judie, my best friend. She's sitting on my bed eating potato chips, spilling salty crumbs all over my comforter.
"As many times as it takes to get it right," I tell her.
"I've seen at least four outfits that look good on you. Why not just eeny-meeny-miney-mo them and get over it? He's going to be here in forty-five minutes." She glances at my bedside clock. "And I still haven't done your hair."
I want to be patient with her, but how can I? She knows that Quentin Palmer--Quin to the entire city of Asheville, North Carolina--has asked me, Laurie Stark, out to a bash at some mountain estate. I think of what Dorothy said when meeting the Wizard of Oz. "I am Dorothy, the small and meek. . . ." Freshman girls like me don't get rushed by senior jocks like Quin. And yet, I was. He came right over to the cafeteria table where I was sitting with Judie two days ago and said, "You're Laurie, aren't you? Want to come to a party Friday night?"
My mouth dropped open. I've worshipped him from afar since school started and now, just before school carnival, he was asking me on a date. Judie nudged me under the table. "This Friday?" Did my voice squeak?
"I'll pick you up at seven," Quin said.
"D-do you need directions?"
"I know where you live."
He gave me a smile that made my blood sizzle, but when he walked away, Judie said, "That's scary."
"What?" I could hardly speak and I was shaking. This happens when a god speaks to you.
"That he knows where you live," she said.
We picked up our trays and headed to the deposit window. I thought every eye in the cafeteria was looking at me because they'd seen Quin come up to my table and talk to me. I thought maybe Judie was jealous. "So then why did he ask me?"
"Because he's working his way through all the new freshman girls at school. It's October and he's up to the S's."
I felt a flare of temper. "That's mean."
"Cool off. I'm kidding. He asked because you're pretty." Judie flashed me a smile.
We've been friends since fifth grade. She's big-boned and round with boobs that need a double-D-cup bra. I'm the tall lanky type with blond hair and size C-cup boobs--okay, a high B. Judie doesn't date anybody. I've dated a few guys, but dumped them when they asked for benefits.
People wonder why we're friends, because we're different. I don't know, but ever since passing from Asheville Middle School to Asheville High, student population just shy of six hundred, we've navigated the wannabe waters of popularity. "With you steering the boat," Judie would say.
Now, with a date to a party with Quin, I see rocks ahead of our boat. But two days ago, I was walking on air. Quin asked me. Me!
When I tell Mom about my date with Quin, she practically does a cartwheel. She knows who Quin is. Everyone who reads the local paper and isn't mentally impaired knows. He's the star of our baseball team, the All-County and All-State team pitcher, member of Parade magazine's A-team, the number-one draft choice of coaches from Duke and North Carolina State and any number of colleges and universities across the country. Quin's hot in every way.
"Tell me how he asked you." Mom wants details, so I give them. Mostly to see her face light up. People say we look alike and I guess we do, but the similarity is only skin deep.
When she went to Asheville High, she was homecoming queen, Miss Student Body, prom queen . . . the list goes on. (My list is painfully short: cross-country team.) Everybody loved Lindsey Duvales, including my dad, Denny Stark. They got married and had me, but the marriage didn't work out, so Dad left Asheville for Columbus, Ohio. Mom sells real estate and makes enough money to keep us both in trendy clothes and decent shoes.
Sometimes I'm sorry she can't go to high school in my place. She likes it all so much more than I do, and now that I've got a date with Quin, I feel more like Lindsey Duvales than Laurie Stark, which is an interesting feeling.
So now, when I'm standing in front of my closet, all my self-assurance goes out the window. Judie scoots off the bed and picks up three outfits scattered on the floor. Two still have the tags on them from when Mom brought them home. She likes shopping for me.
"What's wrong with this?" Judie holds up a green sweater and a plaid miniskirt. "It'll show off your long legs. You should go for it."
"Too Catholic-school girl."
"Then go with jeans and this sweater."
"I hate that sweater."
"How about these jeans?" Judie holds out a pair Mom just bought, with ragged knees and a hole in one thigh. She looks at the price tag and grimaces. "Why would you spend this much money on something from the thrift store?"
"They're brand-new," I tell her. I snatch the jeans and slide them over my legs, zip them up. They fit like a second skin.
"This sweater," Judie says, giving me a pink one that has a low V-neck and barely skims my waistband.
I try it on, stare at myself in the mirror. "You think so?"
"I think so."
Quin agrees. I see it on his face when I come down the stairs, and it makes my insides glow. Mom has him cornered in the living room and is bubbling with enthusiastic questions. I'm embarrassed, but he doesn't seem to mind. All I can think about is getting out of there.
"You kids have fun," Mom calls from the front door as we start down the walk to his car.
I'm thankful she hasn't whipped out her camera.
"You two look alike," he says, opening the door for me.
"I've been told that before." I get in, stare out the window at my mother's figure backlit in the front doorway, where she's standing and waving. I want to sink into the upholstery.
Quin starts the engine. "Buckle up. I drive fast."
I do as I'm told, grateful for his blaring CD player. Now that the commotion is over, now that I'm riding into the dark hills beside Quin Palmer, it occurs to me that I don't know this guy and I have nothing to say to him.
I miss Lindsey Duvales. She'd know how to talk to him. Laurie Stark doesn't.