Up Country

Up Country

by Alden R. Carter
     
 

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Carl knows he's playing with fire every time he fixes up a stolen car stereo to resell. But he needs the money; how else is he going to get away from his boozing mom and her endless parade of 'classy guys'? Then one night his mother's drinking gets out of control and Carl's plan to get himself a decent life takes a nosedive. Sent to live with distant relatives far

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Overview

Carl knows he's playing with fire every time he fixes up a stolen car stereo to resell. But he needs the money; how else is he going to get away from his boozing mom and her endless parade of 'classy guys'? Then one night his mother's drinking gets out of control and Carl's plan to get himself a decent life takes a nosedive. Sent to live with distant relatives far away from the life he has always known, Carl is faced with a decision: run away and stick with The Plan, or come up with a new one . . . fast.

'A strong central character . . . a well-placed, believable plot.'
—School Library Journal, starred review

'Carl's . . . turnabout is convincing enough to sustain the story's power.'
—Booklist, starred review

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A strong central character...a well-placed, believable plot."—School Library Journal

"Carl's...turnabout is convincing enough to sustain the story's power."—Booklist

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the tradition of S. E. Hinton, Carter unveils the sensitive side of a streetwise loner from a troubled background. Carl, 16, electronics genius and social outcast, escapes his alcoholic mother and her entourage of men by moving to the basement. He starts a business repairing stolen stereo equipment for Steve, a local hood. The operation comes to a halt when his mother is arrested and Carl is placed in his aunt's custody. Before he has time to clear the house of incriminating evidence, Carl is sent upstate to a town filled with ``ignorant hicks.'' Much of the novel devotes itself to Carl's adjustment to small-town life and the gradual breakdown of his defenses. From shattered pieces of old dreams, he formulates new plans; but life is disrupted again when his criminal past is revealed. The two locales of this novel, Milwaukee and Blind River, provide an effective contrast and allow fast-paced action to be balanced with quieter, more reflective scenes that focus on Carl's growth. Carter tends both to over-dramatize the evils of city life and to exaggerate the naivete of country people. Nonetheless, he renders an honest, detailed portrait of one young man's struggle to find himself. Ages 13-up. (June)
The ALAN Review - June Harris
Carl Staggers knows his life is a mess, but he has a plan to get out of his misery. His mother drinks too much, and she has been arrested on occasion. Carl is involved with a gang that steals car radios, which he repairs for resale. He hopes that he can make enough money so that, with a scholarship based on his excellent grades, he can get into college and make a new life for himself. His plan collapses when his mother is arrested again, and he is sent up country to Northern Wisconsin to live with his relatives. He doesn't want to go to Blind River, but once there, he's forced to admit there are some benefits-especially Signa, a girl for whom he comes to feel something. This book is a gritty, relatively unvarnished look at the life of a child of an alcoholic, and Carl is an engaging, believable character.
Children's Literature - Sheree van Vreede
Carl has The Plan. He's smart and definitely focused on getting away from his drunken mother and her "classy guys." From his basement, he is running a stolen car-radio business, hoping to earn enough money for college. Carl dreams of becoming an electrical engineer, marrying the perfect woman, and forgetting where he came from. But, it doesn't take long for The Plan to fall through. His mother is arrested for drunk driving, and he soon finds himself living with his country relatives up north. At first, it seems like a nightmare turned real, but he soon realizes that he has nowhere else to go.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142402436
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
09/09/2004
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.71(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A strong central character...a well-placed, believable plot."—School Library Journal

"Carl's...turnabout is convincing enough to sustain the story's power."—Booklist

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