Stuck in Neutral

( 89 )


Shawn McDaniel's life is not what it may seem to anyone looking at him. He is glued to his wheelchair, unable to voluntarily move a muscle—he can't even move his eyes. For all Shawn's father knows, his son may be suffering. Shawn may want a release. And as long as he is unable to communicate his true feelings to his father, Shawn's life is in danger.

To the world, Shawn's senses seem dead. Within these pages, however, we meet a side of him that...

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Shawn McDaniel's life is not what it may seem to anyone looking at him. He is glued to his wheelchair, unable to voluntarily move a muscle—he can't even move his eyes. For all Shawn's father knows, his son may be suffering. Shawn may want a release. And as long as he is unable to communicate his true feelings to his father, Shawn's life is in danger.

To the world, Shawn's senses seem dead. Within these pages, however, we meet a side of him that no one else has seen—a spirit that is rich beyond imagining, breathing life.

The paperback features an Extras section, giving readers even more insight into Shawn's life, and includes a Q&A with Terry Trueman, as well as a sneak peek at the sequel to Stuck in Neutral, Life Happens Next.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

Fourteen-year-old Shawn McDaniel, who suffers from severe cerebral palsy and cannot function, relates his perceptions of his life, his family, and his condition, especially as he believes his father is planning to kill him.

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Editorial Reviews

Horn Book
The invention of Shawn is compelling, evoking one of our darkest fears and deepest hopes — that a fully conscious and intelligent being may be hidden within such a broken body, as yet unable to declare his existence.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
First-time novelist Trueman raises ethical issues about euthanasia through the relationship between 14-year-old Shawn McDaniel, who suffers from cerebral palsy, and his father. In a conversational tone, narrator Shawn explains that when he was born, a tiny blood vessel burst in his brain, leaving him unable to control any of his muscles. What no one knows is that Shawn is a "secret genius" who, while unable to communicate, remembers everything he has ever heard. His condition, which includes violent seizures, overwhelmed his father, who moved out when Shawn was three years old; the man later won a Pulitzer Prize for a poem based on his experiences as parent to a victim of C.P. Weaving together memories with present-day accounts, Shawn describes the highs and lows of his day-to-day life as well as his father's increasing fascination with euthanasia and evidence that the man is working up the courage to personally "end [Shawn's] pain." The strength of the novel lies in the father-son dynamic; the delicate scenes between them carefully illustrate their mutual quest to understand each other. The other characters (Shawn's brother and sister, mother, teachers) lack this complexity. As a result, many of the scenes feel more contrived than heartfelt ("I always feel so guilty complaining about it at all!" says his sister). All in all, the book's concepts are more compelling than the story line itself. Ages 10-up. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
In this honest, touching story, fourteen-year-old Shawn McDaniel describes how his life is like a "good news-bad news" joke. The good news--he loves living in Seattle, he thinks his brother and sister are pretty cool and he has the ability to recall everything he's ever heard since the age of five. The bad news--his parents are divorced and he has cerebral palsy, a condition that leaves him motionless and unable to control his muscles or communicate with others. Everyone around Shawn believes he is retarded and has no understanding of his surroundings. However, this belief couldn't be further from the truth. Shawn's actually quite alive on the inside, and he finds pleasure in his dreams and everyday experiences such as driving around Seattle with his family and watching television. One day, when he overhears his father make comments about ending his son's pain and suffering, Shawn becomes afraid and anxious. His father loves him tremendously--in fact he writes a poem about Shawn's condition, which wins the Pulitzer Prize--but he's torn about whether or not to end his son's life. The debate about euthanasia continues throughout the rest of the book, and the abrupt ending leaves the reader wondering about his father's final decision. Although this topic is very controversial, the author handles it tactfully and provides an insightful look into the life of a physically handicapped teenager. This unforgettable, eye-opening book makes an excellent selection for both young adults and adults. 2000, HarperCollins, Ages 10 up, $14.95. Reviewer: Debra Briatico—Children's Literature
Shawn, age 14, lives in Seattle, and he tells us the "good news" about himself first: he has total recall of everything he has ever heard, a talent that makes him proud. But the "bad news" that follows is truly heart-rending; Shawn is confined to a wheelchair, so severely disabled with cerebral palsy that he can't control any of his muscles, and frequently experiences seizures—which he enjoys, as they help him feel like he can escape his body. He can't talk, walk or feed himself, can't even swallow or blink when he wants to. Worst of all, no one knows that he has a lively intellect, because he has no way of communicating. The stress of caring for Shawn has broken up his parents' marriage; Shawn says of his father, "He couldn't handle my condition, so he had to leave." But his writer/journalist father does love him; he even wrote a touching poem about Shawn that helped to win him a Pulitzer Prize. Now Shawn's father is interested in the case of a man who killed his brain-damaged son—and Shawn begins to strongly suspect that his father may be thinking of killing him. Even more heart-rending, this novel was written by the mother of such a child, as she explains in an author's note at the end. She holds out the hope that her young son, like Shawn, might be a "secret genius witty and funny and wise;" sadly, no one will ever know because he has no way of communicating. This book will provoke thought and discussion, as it ends without making it clear whether or not Shawn's father will kill him, thinking that he will be putting Shawn out of his pain and not understanding the bright, thoughtful person trapped inside a body that won't obey him. It certainly will help YAs understandsomething of what life might be like for the severely handicapped, and for their families. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2000, HarperCollins, 118p, $14.89. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; May 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 3)
From The Critics
With a voice tucked deep inside the lead character's psyche, not unlike Bruce Brooks' recent novel Vanishing, Terry Trueman has his protagonist, a young man with cerebral palsy named Shawn, describe his situation in this way: "I do sometimes wonder what life would be like if people, even one person, knew that I was smart and that there's an actual person hidden inside my useless body; I am in here, I'm just sort of stuck in neutral." Shawn lives his life in a wheelchair. He has total aural recall of everything he has ever heard, which gives him a unique perspective on the world. Sadly, he cannot share what he knows and feels. Shawn's father is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, who has written about his son in a blank verse poem (quoted throughout the book in snatches) that brings audiences to tears. In one poignant moment, we see Shawn listening to the poem read aloud, as people watch him and hear about him. The real dramatic focus of the novel is Shawn's divorced father's sudden interest in a real life case of a father who killed his son (who had been afflicted with a similar physical disability) in an attempt to bring an end to his suffering. Shawn wonders, "Is my own father planning to kill me?" What gives added tension to Shawn's predicament is his total inability to communicate with anybody and his total dependency on others. This novel could have taken a more plot-driven tack, creating a Hitchcock-like story with suspense and pathos. Instead, first-time author Trueman has made the events of the story take second place and written a wonderful inner dialogue, giving voice to a fully-aware, witty, bright, and normal young man who just happens to have cerebral palsy. The voice isamazingly true to any fourteen-year-old young man, lusty, funny, self-deprecating, and loving. Readers will be fascinated by Shawn's description of what it is like to be severely handicapped and what out-of-body experiences feel like when he has seizures. It is not clear at the end of the novel exactly what does happen. Does the father emulate the news story he has been studying and actually kill his own son, or does he face his frustrations and try to deal with the handicap in a more positive way? Stuck in Neutral will raise ethical questions and probably inspire some young readers to seek more practical knowledge about the handicapped. One thing is sure: readers will be fascinated by and care about Shawn. 2000, HarperCollins, $14.95. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Stephen Fraser — The Five Owls, September/October 2000 (Vol. 15 No. 1)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Shawn McDaniel has cerebral palsy. With no control of physical functions, he appears to the outside world, including his family, to be hopelessly retarded-a "vegetable." Because he narrates the story, readers know that he is, in fact, a near genius, completely aware of his surroundings, and able to remember everything he has ever heard. He has a rich inner life, full of humor and insight, and is capable of the most normal feelings of a 14-year-old boy. Most of his day is spent in a wheelchair where he is attended to by his mother and older siblings. His father, an author and celebrity on the talk-show circuit, left the family because of Shawn and his problems, but maintains a relationship with him. Shawn suspects that his father, in order to end his perceived pain and suffering, is considering killing him. With this intriguing premise, Trueman presents readers with thought-provoking issues. The character of Shawn, compassionately drawn, will challenge them to look beyond people's surfaces. His struggle to be known, and ultimately loved, is vividly captured, and the issue of euthanasia is handled boldly but sensitively. In the final scene, Shawn, alone with his father, waits vulnerably as the man struggles with his options. Readers must draw their own conclusions as his father's dilemma is left unresolved. This story is bound to spark much lively discussion.-Tim Rausch, Crescent View Middle School, Sandy, UT Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A teenager with profound cerebral palsy, who is utterly unable to give even those who know him best the faintest sign that he is sentient, narrates this devastating family portrait-cum-moral conundrum. Inside Shawn's twitching, drooling, seizure-racked body is a sane, intelligent teenager with an eidetic memory. A sympathetic observer of the effect his presence has on everyone around him, he leads a relatively rich, if vicarious, inner life. It is fueled by dreams (or perhaps more than dreams) of flight, total recall of everything he has ever seen or heard, and feelings as intense as anyone's: love, amusement, bemusement, frustration—and anxiety. He overhears comments about "ending his pain," from his doting, tormented father Sydney—who has begun research for a biography of a man convicted of smothering a profoundly disabled child. Trueman has a son with CP, and has obviously drawn in part from that experience, both for the story's events and for the issues he raises involving the social and emotional costs of caring for the physically helpless. Thematically, the story is built around Sydney's dilemma as he desperately searches for reasons not to end his son's life, and finds many seductive, compelling arguments otherwise; the abrupt, ambiguous ending leaves him on the verge of killing Shawn, or not, and so transmits his inner debate to readers. Though character is not the author's strongest concern here, like the similarly lucid brain-damaged teen in Joan Leslie Woodruff's The Shiloh Renewal (1999), Shawn will stay with readers, not for what he does, but for what he is and has made of himself. (Fiction. 12 )
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064472135
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/28/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 114
  • Sales rank: 120,143
  • Age range: 13 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Trueman grew up in the northern suburbs of Seattle, Washington. He attended the University of Washington, where he received his BA in creative writing. He also has an MS in applied psychology and an MFA in creative writing, both from Eastern Washington University.

Terry is also the author of Stuck in Neutral and its companion novel, Cruise Control; Hurricane; 7 Days at the Hot Corner; No Right Turn; and Inside Out.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

My name is Shawn McDaniel. My life is like one of those "good news—bad news" jokes. Like, "I've got some good news and some bad news–which do you wanna hear first?"

In the jokes, it's always the good news first, so here goes: I've spent my entire time on planet Earth, all fourteen (almost fifteen!) years I've been alive, in Seattle. Seattle is actually a hundred times cooler than you could believe unless you lived here too. Some people gripe and moan about the rain and the weather, but I love Seattle. I even like the rain.

Our house is about a mile from the Seattle Center, home of the Space Needle, Key Arena where the Sonics play, and the Pacific Science Center. And we're only about a mile and a half from Bell Town, the unofficial former Grunge Capital of the universe. I'm the youngest kid in our family, three years younger than my sister, Cindy, and two years younger than my brother, Paul, who, although I'd hate for them to know I admitted it, are pretty cool for a brother and sister.

Okay, that's good news, huh? Here's some more: I have this weird–I don't know what you'd call it–ability? Gift? Power? Whatever name you want to give it, the thing is that I can remember everything I ever hear, perfectly, with total recall. I mean Everything! Perfectly! Totally! I don't know of anybody else, anywhere, who can do this. Most people remember bits and pieces of things they've heard in life, but I've got it all, every sound, ever.

This started when I was three or four years old. At first I could only remembermost of what I heard. But by the time I was five years old, everything I heard just stayed in my head. I can remember people talking, TV commercials, every melody I've ever listened to from boring, brain-dead country Muzak to nasty rap lyrics, to the theme music from Jeopardy!, to–well–everything: lines from movies, overheard conversations that strangers were having in the street, like–"Well, do you still love him or not?" I heard one lady say this to another lady while they were waiting for the bus in front of our house, and swoosh came the sound of the bus along the wet road, and its brakes went squeal . . . eeeekkk and the other lady answered, "I don't know. I haven't eaten turkey since he left on Thanksgiving."

For all you know, I might remember, perfectly, what you said to your girlfriend two years ago when I overheard you two fighting outside the Orange Julius at Northgate, or what your dad said to you in Champs when you were ten, and you and he were shopping for a baseball mitt. Remember, you wanted that Ken Griffey Jr. autographed model but your dad said it cost too much. He wanted you to buy a cheaper one made in Taiwan. Your dad said, "Come on, I can write Ken Griffey Jr. right in here," and he pointed at a spot in the pocket of the glove, and you said, "Can you really do that?" And your dad said, "Has the pope got a bullet in him?" And you both laughed. I'm not making it up. It happened. And if I heard you again, even once, after all these years, I'd recognize you, I'd remember your voice, the sound of it, perfectly.

I hope I'm not coming off as conceited here. I'm sure I am. I mean, I do think that my hearing memory is kind of amazing, but it's not like it's made me rich or famous. I just happen to have this one talent that I know makes me gifted and special–yuck! I hate that word "special" when it's applied to people. As in "he's a very special person." Geez! Who isn't! But the other side of people is true too. Everybody has negatives about themselves, stuff they wish wasn't a part of them. The bad news about us.

I could go on about my good news for hours, but you probably want to hear the punch line, my bad news, right? Well, there isn't that much, really, but what's here is pretty wild. First off, my parents got divorced ten years ago because of me. My being born changed everything for all of us, in every way. My dad didn't divorce my mom, or my sister, Cindy, or my brother, Paul–he divorced me. He couldn't handle my condition, so he had to leave. My condition? Well, that brings us to the guts of my bad news.

One bad news deal is that in the eyes of the world, I'm a total retardate. A "retard." Not "retard" like you might use the word to tease a friend who just said or did something stupid. I mean a real retard. Real in the same way that total means total. As in total retard: Everybody who knows me, everybody who sees me, everybody, anybody who even gets near me would tell you I'm dumb as a rock. Let me illustrate through the wonders of science.

Every year the school district sends out a school psychologist (scientist) to test me for IEPs (Individual Educational Plans). And every year since I was six, the psychologist gives me a bunch of tests ("scientifically normed and standardized"), which are mainly intelligence tests filled with shapes and colors, square pegs and round holes, and "Who was George Washington?" and "What's two plus one?" And every year I sit there and miss every question, fling the blocks into the air or drop them all over or smack myself in the eye with one. Then the shrink goes in and gives my mom a number: I.Q. = 1.2, or mental age 3 to 4 (that's months, not years). Then the psychologist packs up his scientific garbage and moves on to the next dummy.

This has gone on for eight years now. Every year, year in and year out. Yep, according to the world I'm dumb as a fence post. I've heard the docs explain why they think I'm so stupid to my parents and my parents explain it to their friends about a trillion times. They think it's because my brain doesn't work. They don't know that is only partially true.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 89 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 89 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 3, 2012

    Stuck In Neutral

    Stuck in neutral is a great book about a kid with disabilities. It is very interesting to see what the world might be like in the mind of a disabled kid like Sean. When Sean was born his father left him but, when Sean was older his father came back and wanted to,” put Sean out of his pain”. You will have to read the book to discover the crazy twist in this interesting thriller.
    I really liked this book because, I think it is very interesting to picture the world through a kid like Sean’s eyes. It was also interesting to hear his comments and wonder if disabled people really think like that. I dislike this book for only one reason, because there wasn’t enough to read!
    I would really recommend this book because it is really a great book and has plenty of drama. It is really a fun book and I would recommend it to almost all readers.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2008

    Was really touched...

    Stuck in Neutral Have you ever taken the time to think about other people who are different than you? Some people might, but many probably really don¿t realize what others go through. I have just finished reading Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman. If you enjoy reading books that make you think, then I would recommend this book. I would really recommend it to everyone it¿s the type of book that once you start to read you don¿t want to stop. As I said before, many people don¿t realize what others go through. This book is about a fourteen year old boy named Shawn who has cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a condition where the person has no control over the body functions and cannot move, talk or do anything by themselves. In this book, Shawn¿s father is thinking about killing him, saying ¿[m]aybe you¿d be better off if I ended you pain (21).¿ This is what his father told him, without knowing that Shawn can actually hear him. The significance of the book¿s title Stuck in Neutral is that Shawn¿s life is as if he was literally ¿stuck in neutral¿ because he doesn¿t have control over his life and can¿t stand up for himself. I believe that the author¿s purpose in writing is to make people who read his book think. The writer wrote this book because he has a son who is in the same condition as Shawn. The author wanted to invent a character and a world which might be based on how life might be like for his son Sheehan. I believe that the author¿s intended audience in reading would be all ages, because he wants people to realize that others who are in the same situation as Shawn need to be treated with respect, even if they might not be able to understand or hear you. The author interpreted the character¿s situation in this story by showing what others think of him and what he thinks. This character was mainly based on the author¿s own son because they are in the same situation, but the author also added parts that he thinks could happen. The whole story seems like it could happen and just seems so realistic. The narrator¿s point of view is mainly that everyone thinks he is a ¿retard¿ because of intelligence tests that show his brain does not function properly. The person telling the story is Shawn, the one they say doesn¿t have a properly functioning brain. He¿s actually really smart, however he just can¿t talk and do things for himself. I feel that it is important that Shawn is telling the story because that is what makes it so interesting. It makes you think, ¿What if people who were in the same condition as Shawn really did know what was going on, but couldn¿t do anything about it?¿ In this book, I really couldn¿t connect to any of the characters. Paul, Shawn¿s older brother,sneaks him potato chips once in awhile behind their mother¿s back If I were in Paul¿s place, I could see myself doing that also. I think that the author was successful with his goals in writing the book. I believe that I did learn what the author wanted me to learn because it¿s true. We can¿t answer questions like, ¿Does he like potato chips and rock and roll?¿ We just don¿t know if people that are mentally challenged understand what we tell them or if they have the capability of feelings like we do. I think that the author wants his readers to realize these things. Hopefully, the readers will treat people who are in the same situation as Shawn with respect instead of treating them like they¿re a doll or something after all they are human beings. My final conclusions about the book are that it really makes you think and realize, ¿What if?¿ From when I started the book, I didn¿t want to stop reading it kept me thinking throughout the whole book. I do agree with the message that we don¿t know what others in the same situation as Shawn know, and we can¿t answer questions for them. We don¿t know if they understand us. We can just hope they do and hope they feel all our love for them. I did like the ending, but at the same time I would have liked if it

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2012


    This book may be the best book I've ever read in my entire life, and as an avid reader, I take this statement very seriously! I have never thought so much while reading a book as I did with this one. It's an emotional ride, but 1,000% worth your time! Don't pass this one up!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2011


    "My name is Shawn McDaniel. I'm 14 years old. I think my father is planning to kill me." As can be seen, Terry Truman's "Stuck in Neutral" is about a mental boy who thinks his father is planning to kill him. With believable as well as sensitive characters, a tragic plot, and a universal theme makes Terry Truman's "Stuck in Neutral" an over all great, attention grabbing, as well as emotional book.

    Terry Truman makes the main characters, Shawn McDaniel and Sydney E. McDaniel, believable as well as sensitive. To me, these characters are sensitive because Shawn loves everyone. The father, Sydney E. McDaniel, wants to kill his son because it was painful to see Shawn go through his misery.

    The author makes the plot of the book "Stuck in Neutral" tragic. In this story a mentally ill kid finds out his father might kill him but throughout the story he says he doesn't want to die. The father did not want to kill him, but seeing his child suffer throughout the day was painful for him to watch. KLIATT, a critique, said, "...heart-rending, this novel was written by the [father] of such a child, as [he] explains in an author's note at the end. This book will provoke thought and discussion..."

    Terry Truman's message for the book is universal. Generally speaking, the message Terry Truman tried to send was that people aren't as they appear. This theme is universal because it can affect anyone. I think that this is the theme because in the story the father appeared to be intelligent, passionate, and smart in front of everyone. Later in the story the father's grief got the best of him. The father didn't appear as he was in the beginning because in the beginning he didn't want to kill his son and now he does.

    Terry Truman "Stuck in Neutral" is a spell binding, mournful, five star books because of the tear-jerking plot, the cast of sensitive, characters, and a theme that applies to anyone. This book, by Terry Truman, would make readers want to cry and make them want to stay all night reading this book. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy emotional books because the way the boy talks about his father knowing his father will kill him is very sad.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2011

    Really gets you thinking! LOVE IT.

    Stuck in Neutral is a book about a 14 year old boy named Shawn, and he has Cerebral Palsy. He isn't capable of interacting physically or verbally to anyone. In reality, he considers himeself a genious. He knows how to do most of the things other people can do, but he has no one of letting anyone know. He lives with his Mother, Sister, and Brother. His father walked out on them a while ago because he wasn't able to cope with Shawn's problem. The story is set in Seattle. The book is quite depressing in the way it shows what his life must be like, trapped inside a body that won't let him express himself. However, it is also very enlightening, encouraging the reader to imagine what someone in that situation might feel. Shawn is almost posotive that his father, a poet, want't to put him out of his misery by murdering him. His dad feels like he would be doing the right thing, but Shawn explains in the story that he's not ready to die, and give up so easily. He want's people to know how educated he is, and what they see isn't really what he is. The books ends with Shawn being so sure that his father is about to kill him, then suddenly he gets a seizure and no ones knows exactly what happened. I thought it was a weak ending to an amazing book, which is a shame. Maybe the author wants the readers to create their own ending? Because I know I did. This story is very dramatic, and far to believable. I would recommend it to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2014



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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2013


    Had to read it for school

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2013

    Leader den

    Leader den

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013


    Right. But why is that?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2013


    No. You should be happy.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    Stuck in Neutral was a great book that got me thinking and gave

    Stuck in Neutral was a great book that got me thinking and gave me a new perspective on how I look at people who are mentally challenged. It makes me think that they are not just a person that is without a mind, but that they may be abnormally intelligent. The main character Shawn McDaniel has his own world in his head and wonders how it would feel to be “normal”. He gives you the insight on how a mentally challenged person thinks and lives. This is a great book and would recommend it to anybody.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 16, 2012

    Great Story

    I read how this book for summer reading because it has a smaller book. But this book showa how the life of a disabled person lives daily. Shawn McDaniel, who has Cerebal Polsy. He lives with his mom,brother, and sister. His dad walked out on him when he was six, because he couldn't handle taking care of disabled person. This book shows the reader what disabled people do day after day,and how hard there life is. Read the book to find out the rest of the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    stuck in neurtral book review

    Book Review Outline
    Book title and author: Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman
    Title of review: Stuck in Neutral book review

    A boy named Shawn has a disease to where he cannot move anything. He thinks his dad is making a plan to kill him.
    Description and summary of main points
    A boy named Shawn has a disease and cannot move or talk.
    I think this book is really worth reading. It is a very good book. I would highly recommend it.

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  • Posted February 3, 2012

    good but bad at the same time

    the book stuck in neutral is about a fourteen year old boy named shawn. he suffers from cerebral palsy.

    i liked the book because it made me feel like i was actually in the book experiencing what shawn was. i loved how the author made everything in real life.
    i didnt like that the ending at all and i thought that they should have taken more tests on him so they could see how smart he really was.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2012

    Stuck in Neutral is a Great Book

    Stuck in Neutral is a story about a kid that can not talk or express his feelings. He is like an aver age teenage boy and has the same thoughts, some of them are odd, but funny. He is in a wheel chair. He rides in a van. He also has a sister , that brings her friends over and he has a crush on some of them.

    It was a funny book it has a good meaning to it. I did not like the end you do not know what happens. Its great for teens or preteens. It is an over all great book and it you get the chance to read it do it.

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  • Posted December 21, 2011

    Heartbreaking, moving, amazing

    In my last class of the day, I finished this book. I read the last page, blinked, read it again, threw the book down (completely frusterated) and cried. My school's book club read this book together this month. My librarian reccommended it because she said it truely moved her. This book is about someone who has a very different perspective on the world than you and I. I could not imagine what it would be like, unable to speak, move, or control my eyes. Reading this book, however, made me think. The story was an emotional rollercoaster for me: there were parts where I was so disgusted with the father and sister that I wanted to throw the book across the room and scream at them for being so ignorent.. and there were parts where I cried from the love that his family showed to him, from his brother protecting him, to his mom patiently feeding him. I sincerely reccomend this book to the brave, who are not afraid to think.

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  • Posted August 20, 2011


    Stuck in Neutral was a great book and also an easy read. Terry Trueman did great job illustrating the mind of a 14 year old boy, which played a big part in this book. There were a lot of surprises and even some humor that made me laugh. Sometimes I felt bad for Shawn, it made me think about my life and how I should be thankful for what I have. Trueman makes you wonder if people like Shawn really do have thoughts about life or if they really are just "vegetables". Its kind of a scary thought that if people with cerebral palsy do have feelings, what gives us a right to choose whether they should live or not. I just could not put the book down, I read it in one night! The ending just kept me thinking I loved it. I really recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2011

    Stuck In Neutral

    Stuck in nuetral is a story about a teenage boy shawn who has cerebral palsy and loves life. Everybody thinks he's retarded but he is actually really smart. His dad has a gut feeling on killing shawn to release his "suffering." Wouldn't recommend reading it because it is very slow reading and focuses to much on his disesase. No real climax and characters are petrayed well (no individuality). Six traits did not match with the story line. Not enough dialogue more like a journal on shawn's thoughts. Overall I would recommend not reading it. I give it two stars out of five.

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  • Posted April 29, 2011

    Very Well Written Book

    Stuck in Neutral is a very emotional book. It makes you feel sad yet somehow happy at the same time.
    I found it very stimulating and it made me think. I imagined what the main character, Shawn, felt like living with cerebral palsy. Also that it must be horrible and very sad for him and his parents to go through that kind of life. But Shawn is special because he is very smart and his parents and friends think that he cannot comprehend and cannot understand. But what they don't know is that he can.
    Imagine how that would make you feel if you or one of your family members or friends had this same disease and could not communicate to you.
    This book will really catch your eye because it is something that goes on in everyday life. People have to deal with this kind of disease and it affects them just like how it affects Shawn. Stuck in Neutral is a very entertaining book. It has many key features that make the book stand above all the rest. Some people will relate to what Shawn's parents,and tot hose people this book will be emotional.

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  • Posted March 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Outstanding. Worth every penny

    An outstanding spine tingling glimpse into the underside of Cerebral Palsy.Shawn is a fascinating character, but beyond character. A real live breathing person.Something that will stick with me every waking day. I fell in love with Shawn and was astonished by his way of thinking, his way of expressing himself. This is truly an amazing story. Remarkable and worthy of your every minute and more to come.

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