How To Steal a Car

How To Steal a Car

4.0 12
by Pete Hautman
     
 

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From National Book Award winner Pete Hautman, the story of a girl who acts out by stealing cars. Some girls act out by drinking or doing drugs. Some girls act out by sleeping with guys. Some girls act out by starving themselves or cutting themselves. Some girls act out by being a bitch to other girls. Not Kelleigh. Kelleigh steals cars. In How to Steal a… See more details below

Overview

From National Book Award winner Pete Hautman, the story of a girl who acts out by stealing cars. Some girls act out by drinking or doing drugs. Some girls act out by sleeping with guys. Some girls act out by starving themselves or cutting themselves. Some girls act out by being a bitch to other girls. Not Kelleigh. Kelleigh steals cars. In How to Steal a Car, National Book Award winner Pete Hautman takes teen readers on a thrilling, scary ride through one suburban girl's turbulent life - one car theft at a time.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Kelleigh Monahan, an atypically underprogrammed American teen, has just two assignments before the start of sophomore year: read Moby-Dick and write a “how to” essay of “acceptable quality.” She hangs at the mall with her best friend, Jen, and occasionally with their co-boyfriend, Will. Like a person who picks a fight in order to feel some emotion, Kelleigh starts stealing cars, first as a lark but quickly escalating to truly risky business. Kelleigh has no remorse; her introspection extends mostly to how her crimes compare to her lawyer father's use of a technicality to win the release of a serial rapist. “Who's the real criminal here?” Hautman (Godless) seems to be asking. Kelleigh is a sharp observer, especially of her parents' strained marriage, and she has an appealing wisecracker's wit: “Once you're a teenager, adults stop talking about the crazy stuff they used to do, and they start acting as if they were raised by the Amish.” Her worldview, however, remains bleak, as this what-I-did-last-summer story concludes: “Sooner or later everybody turns out to be a disappointment.” Ages 13–up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
Kelleigh Monahan, age fifteen, is a sweet, All-American girl. She does not drink or do drugs. Instead of getting into trouble, Kelleigh reads Herman Melville's classic novel, Moby Dick. One day Kelleigh sees a man drop a set of keys. Instead of running after the man and returning the keys, Kelleigh decides to take the car for a spin. She steps inside and enjoys the thrill of a stolen ride. What could be more exciting? Soon Kelleigh makes good money stealing cars and becomes part of the underworld of car thieves. Every now and then, Kelleigh steals a car until it becomes an uncontrollable addiction. Could she stop stealing now, even if she wanted to? Would her life be boring without this illicit hobby? One day Kelleigh takes the wrong car and the owner jumps on the windshield as she is driving away. In this fun and realistic story, young adults will enjoy taking a ride with National Book winner Pete Hautman. Readers will find Kelleigh to be an honest and appealing heroine who is trapped by her addiction—stealing cars. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—It's summertime in the Minneapolis suburbs, and 15-year-old Kelleigh doesn't smoke, drink (except a few times), do drugs, or do anything bad, really, except steal cars. Her career starts innocently at the mall when she sees a guy drop his keys in the parking lot. Kelleigh keeps them as a "souvenir" and soon discovers that the owner lives near her. One evening, she and her friend Jen take his Altima for a joyride. As the jam-packed plot unfolds, Kelleigh deals with unresolved issues regarding her best friends, Jen and Will; her lawyer father's adultery and decision to defend a known rapist; and her mother's use of alcohol and cigarettes to cope. She manages life by continuing to steal cars. Hautman packs a dense plot into this slim title and intermingles Kelleigh's story with two summer homework assignments: a reading of Moby-Dick and a "How-to" essay, for which the teen chooses the topic of stealing cars. Hautman's characters start off simple and likable, and Kelleigh has just enough sarcasm and teen angst to be endearing. However, as the story unfolds, the characters become inherently flawed with real human problems and vulnerabilities, and Kelleigh becomes an empty, judgmental girl who seeks to fill her life's voids with cheap thrills. Through her actions, the author allows readers to evaluate the protagonist's life and choices.—Adrienne L. Strock, Maricopa County Library District, AZ
Kirkus Reviews
Hautman channels the cynically smart voice of a teenage sometime car thief in this sly cross between Blake Nelson's The New Rules of High School (2003) and Peter Cameron's Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You (2007). Fifteen-year-old Kelleigh is bored. Her staid parents politely leave her alone, her two best friends talk about the same old things and she's stuck with Moby-Dick for her summer-reading selection. So she begins stealing cars, quickly escalating from joy riding in her elderly neighbors' Caddy to plotting the theft of a stranger's Mercedes. Teens will identify with Kelleigh's challenges to boundaries and attempts to see how many rules she can break before anyone in authority can be bothered to notice. Kelleigh soon decides that while "I stole a couple cars . . . It's not who I am." However, the illegal thrill causes her to realize she has outgrown her suburban-Twin Cities world, and an unrepentant ending behind stolen wheels suggests she is destined to leave it behind. A sharply observed, subversive coming-of-age tale. (Fiction. 13 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545231718
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
02/01/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
176
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
13 - 12 Years

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