Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Yellow Flag
  • Alternative view 1 of Yellow Flag
  • Alternative view 2 of Yellow Flag

Yellow Flag

4.3 12
by Robert Lipsyte

See All Formats & Editions

In any race, there are drivers. At the front of the pack, there are racers.

In the final laps, it's the racer who moves his car through the sweet spot, picks off the competition, and drives through a hole to win.

In Kyle's family, his older brother, Kris, has always been the racer, born and bred to it, like his father and


In any race, there are drivers. At the front of the pack, there are racers.

In the final laps, it's the racer who moves his car through the sweet spot, picks off the competition, and drives through a hole to win.

In Kyle's family, his older brother, Kris, has always been the racer, born and bred to it, like his father and grandfather and great-grandfather before him. And that's just fine with Kyle; he's got other things to do. Now Kris is out of commission, injured, and Kyle has no choice but to drive. Does he want to drive just long enough to keep Kris's seat warm, or does he want to race—and win?

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Ava Ehde
As the third generation of Hildebrand family racing, sixteen-year-old Kyle and his older brother, Kris, know that a NASCAR driver is either a wannabe or a true racer. Their grandfather, Sir Walter, a true gentleman of the sport, and Uncle Kale have steered the family on a mission to get a sponsor to support their endeavors. Kris thrives as the focal point, enjoying the fan's adulation while honing his racing skills, so Kyle concentrates on being the best trumpet player. When Kris gets hurt, Kyle is expected to carry on with racing, but once he does, he cannot decide if he should just keep Kris's seat warm or if he also wants to win. He has spent the last year focusing on his instrument, the quintet, and the tutelage of Mr. G. "It's Uncle Kale's possibilities against Mr. G's promise. There's a race. Me against me." To add to his dilemma, he is torn between Nicole, his fellow musician, and the new team mechanic, Jimmie, the red-headed daughter of Sir Walter's best friend. The battle over loyalties-family versus friendship-is one with which each reader can identify, especially the teens' perspective. The heart-pounding action, excitement, and detail of the sport are skillfully conveyed in this compelling book, which will appeal to young adults with any interest in racing and make it both an ideal pleasure read and great addition to public and school libraries.
School Library Journal

Gr 6-10
A Contender (HarperCollins, 1987) for racing fans. Born to a multigenerational racing family, 17-year-old Kyle Hillebrand gave up driving for his trumpet and his brass quintet. However, as his family struggles to get back into big-time racing, he is pulled between his love of music and his responsibility to his family. An injury to his brother, the heir apparent to the racing dynasty, puts Kyle back in the driver's seat in an attempt to continue the team's success in hopes of luring sponsorships that could lead back to NASCAR's Busch and Nextel Cup racing series. Kyle drives well in his substitute role and the team lands the sponsor, which leads to his family's planning a second car so that he can continue racing alongside the now-healthy Kris, forcing a decision by Kyle. His choice is complicated by pressure from his family and by friction with members of his quintet, who resent his time away to help out the racing team, as well as by two potential love interests, one in the quintet and the other an employee of the racers. Lipsyte maintains a good level of tension, leaving it unclear throughout most of the book which road Kyle will choose as he finds he enjoys both. Racing scenes are engaging and generally plausible, and they provide a good setting for the relationship issues and suspense inherent in a teen's choice between his desires and his family's expectations.
—Jeffrey A. FrenchCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Kyle Hildebrand isn't the chosen one in his racing family. He's a talented trumpet player and will always be little brother to Kris who is a born racer ready to advance to the Cup circuit. But Kyle isn't sure if he wants to completely separate himself from racing. When Kris suffers a concussion in a crash, the injury prevents him from being behind the wheel. It's all about keeping the car in competition, so the family powers have Kyle "keep the seat warm" until Kris is able to resume driving. He surprises everyone by placing fourth. Caught between two worlds, Kyle is unable to commit fully to either. Lipsyte has done his homework by describing track action that is spot on, and NASCAR fans will feel right at home. But off the track, the author's comparisons of racing to playing music come across as something of a moral lesson. Small complaints aside, this is one of the few current young-adult titles connected to on-track action and easily pulls away from other racing titles. (Fiction. YA)
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“Heart-pounding action”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.12(h) x 0.85(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Yellow Flag EPB

Chapter One

He was coming off the last turn, racing three wide for the finish, Dad on his left, Kris on his right, trapped between them. Through the roar of the engines he heard the metallic shriek of their doors scraping. Uncle Kale's voice came through the headphones: "Gas it, Kylie, get out of there."

Kyle thought, If we cross the finish line together, I will never get out of this car. I will be stuck in here forever.

Even as he dreamed, he knew it was a dream, the old one, the yellow caution flag dream, the early warning dream. Something's going to happen today.

He forced himself awake the way he always did, braking hard, letting Dad and Kris pass him to the checkered flag. He was unstuck, free.

But he was nowhere.

He woke up sweating.

Be careful today.

Kyle wasn't surprised at breakfast when Dad said, "We could use you tomorrow."

He felt the orange juice come back up faster than it went down, pure acid. "Got a trumpet lesson. Then the quintet's going to Charlotte for a master class."

Dad's long face looked tired. He sounded apologetic. "I need you. Billy went to Atlanta for some heart tests."

Mom said, "You can reschedule your lesson." Kyle thought that was her way of saying, I'm not on your side this time.

"I wouldn't ask if it wasn't important," said Dad. "The new sponsors'll be there. Kris comes in top ten, we can make this deal."

The orange acid went back down and pooled in Kyle's stomach. Dad didn't have to say how bad Hildebrand Racing needed to make this deal.

Mom said, "I think you should do it." As if she were pleading with him to make the right choice.

That made it worse, Kyle thought, putting it all on me, as if I really had a choice. It was a con job. Pleading had never been the Hildebrand way. Great-grandpa Fred ordered Grandpa Walter into the car, and then Walter ordered Dad into the car. Dad had never had to order Kris, who had jumped in when he was four years old. Never could get him out. Only reason I escaped.

"Need you up on the spotters' stand," said Dad. "Kris'll listen to you."

Yeah, right. Kris'll listen to me. And still push the pedal through the floor.

What could he say? "What time?"

"Knew I could count on you." Dad smiled. "We can drive out together after school."

No way. Miss rehearsal tonight and get stuck tomorrow three hours from home without my own car. "I'll go in the morning. Be there by nine."

Dad hesitated, but Mom said, "I'll make sure you're up." So she was half on his side.

Fridays in spring crept on forever at Goshen High. All day Kyle felt like he had one foot mashing the gas, the other standing on the brake. His motor was running hot while his wheels spun in the groove. Sweat ran down his back. He felt numb and horny and sleepy and jittery. He sleepwalked from English to history to geometry. He heard himself answer a question in environmental science, but it might as well have been someone else. Teachers droned on, trying not to let their eyes flick toward the windows, where the thickening yellow light banged against the glass, calling them outside. Kyle's eyes were stuck on the glass.

He didn't remember what he ate for lunch or who sat with him at the band table.

He didn't wake up until he tightened the thumbscrew on his music stand in the band practice room. He always woke up for practice. But he also started thinking about tomorrow. It wasn't fair. Racing is Kris's life, not mine. I've got other things to do.

"So why don't gorillas play trumpet?" He hadn't noticed Nicole sit down next to him. As usual, she was all in black. The little round face with big dark eyes peeked out of a cloud of curly black hair. She answered her own question. "Gorillas don't play trumpet because they're too sensitive."

"You know how French horn players say hello?" said Kyle. "They say, 'Hi, I played that piece in kinder-garten.' " He liked trash talking with her, even the dumb old jokes.

She laughed. A big, unself-conscious sound. Behind her back some kids called it her New York honk, but he liked it better than the constipated simper that usually passed for laughs in Goshen.

"What's the difference between a trumpet player and a terrorist?" asked Jesse, lowering the twin pillows of his gargantuan butt onto his chair with a fat plop. "Terrorists have sympathizers."

Nicole laughed louder and Kyle felt a twinge of jealousy.

Mr. G bounced into the room in his plaid pajama pants and throwback Skechers, wearing yet another T-shirt from an obscure band. Molly's Brain Fart. Jesse and Nicole had made up a band name for him...Terminal Hip. He loved it, said he was going to have T-shirts made.

"Let's perpetrate some sound," he shouted.

They warmed up with Ravel's "Pavane for a Dead Princess," a beautiful piece they had played at the Charlotte Classical Festival last month. Kyle and the other trumpet, Todd, led them into the melody with quick bright sounds that opened doors for Del's tenor trombone. Mr. G nodded and pointed his baton, and they were surrounded by the warm, rich tones of Nicole's French horn and Jesse's tuba.

Kyle felt good for the first time all day. He felt safe and sure inside the music, working together with friends. He felt . . . complete.

As usual, it was over too quickly. Mr. G rapped his baton on a metal stand. "Okay, before we get serious, some business. One, who's driving tomorrow besides me?"

For a moment, Kyle was confused. Kris is driving tomorrow, in the Relco 250 at Monroe Speedway, and I'm going to be spotting for him on the roof.

"I can't make it," said Kyle.

Yellow Flag EPB. Copyright © by Robert Lipsyte. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Robert Lipsyte was an award-winning sportswriter for the New York Times and the Emmy-winning host of the nightly public affairs show The Eleventh Hour. He is the author of twelve acclaimed novels for young adults and is the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring his lifetime contribution in that genre. He lives in Manhattan and on Shelter Island, New York, with his wife, Lois, and his dog, Milo.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Yellow Flag 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In my opinion this book is 4 out of 5 stars. The book starts out slow because it just talks about Kyle's confilict with racing and be in a marching band. He loves racing because his whole family is in racing and they make a living off amature racing, but he also loves being in a marching band. Then the first race of the season is on a day when the marching is supposed to march. So he goes to the race and spots like he is supposed to and only thinks about marching band. I think the concept of this over and over is boring. The meat of this book is that stuff. The only interesting part of the book is the end when there is a climatic race. The outcome is predictable, but after the race the finally part of the book is mediocre.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Yellow flag is a really captivating story about a teen who's stuck betweeen two versions of his life that he can live. Kyle the main character can either stay in his band or stick to racing but he doesnt want to choose, he's keeping his options opened. I think the author excelled in the action for this book, but the author lacked the conclusion. I can not stress how diasappointed i was to find out that the author never wrote the ending, but then i remembered back to another story similar to this and the author intended for the readers to conclude themselves, it just all depends on what type of person you are. You can conclude that Kyle sticks to racing and racing alone (and to Jimmie) or you can say that he goes back to the band (and nicole). Personally I think he races. I really recommend reading this book, its thought provoking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was pretty good. It ccould be a little more clear at the begging of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are two brothers that race cars. One is very good, and the other is too, but he is into music not racing. He has to choose between music and racing. Robert Lipsyte, the one that wrote this book, is an exciting writer. Mostly every review he gets is good and almost no bad ones. In the story Kyle has a problem to choose if he should race or play the trumpet. He starts out playing a lot of music, but Kris gets hurt so he has to race for him. He realizes that he's good so he tries to do both music and racing. It finally gets to the point where he has to choose and he chose racing so the family brand lives on and they family makes a new car for him to race with his brother Kris alongside him. Also, the author did a great job on this book. The plot never was boring at all there was always a purpose for everything. The characters were good but there were too many of them. It was hard to follow sometimes. I think the theme of it is that you should never give up and go for what you want in life. In the end the book was great. I would recommend it to all ages. It is action packed, and very interesting. At the end of the book where Kyle chooses racing it is a good thing but hopefully he doesn't give up music though. I would give this book a great review.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has alot of adventure and goes through journey of a boy seeking what he wants to do, band or racecar driving and it shows that at any momment a person can change their dreams. This was one of those books that is hard to put down after you start reading it. I especially recommend this book to people that like and follow NASCAR because he goes through similar things that NASCAR drivers in way also go through.
Guest More than 1 year ago
first off, i think the idea is of racing is cool. the main character, Kyle, can't choose if he wants to race or play the trumpet. i mean the author doesn't even make him choose!! in the book they clearly can't co-exist, so he's going to have to choose eventually, y not write his choice in the book??? another thing that annoyed me in the book was that Kyle kind of had two realtionships, he couldn't decide if he wanted to date nicole, a girl who is in the band, or Jimmie, a girl in the racing buisness. Other than these two things, the book was okay.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Do you like racing? Well, if you do then Yellow Flag is a great book for you. In the story, Kyle¿s older brother Kris gets injured in a racing accident. Kyle must take over to keep his brother¿s seat warm and to keep the steady money intake of their racing corporation. Even though Kyle isn¿t into racing and would rather stick to playing his trumpet, he decides to jump into the racing suit and make his family proud. During his racing experience, it finally comes to his that he loves to race and he belongs in the racing business.