Thursday, April 14, 2022

Wild Ride

Calabrese, Keith. Wild Ride
April 5th 2022 by Scholastic Press
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Charley Decker loves her older brother Greg, and knows that when he graduates from high school, she will miss him dreadfully. He's been very supportive after the death of their father, even if he has bonded a bit too much with their mom's new boyfriend, Derrick, who has a rare vintage Mustang the two work on together. When their mother and Derrick go on a vacation and leave the two home in Chicago together, Charley hopes that the two can have a movie and snack night with her friends Wade and Oona. When Greg decides to hang out with his girlfriend, Marisa, Charley is disappointed. Oona has "run away" from home yet again, since she tries to rebel against her perfectly nice parents, but the evening is tense because she heard Wade say something mean to another boy at school, and she doesn't want to talk to him. When Greg calls to say that Derrick's Mustang has been towed and he needs Charley to give Marisa some money to retrieve it from the impound lot, Charley sees this as an opportunity to have an adventure. She demands that Marisa bring them along, and things get strange. The impound lot keeps changing the rules, and demand to see the title to the car. Since Oona doesn't want her parents to think she's NOT at Charley's, she leaves her phone at Charley's house, and has to use Charley's phone to "narrate" her life, an annoying habit she has. Add to the mix a local corporation trying to blanket the world with the Pangea Ursula device, a stoway named Mitch, sibling difficulties, and a time deadline, and Charley and her friends are in for a wild ride indeed.
Strengths: Charley is a very fun character, and I loved her positive relationship with her older brother. There are a lot of children who have much older siblings, and it is difficult when they leave home to go to college. This is a great topic to address. The Chicago setting is almost like another character, and gives a great background for the adventure. Pangea's Ursula has a fun role. I'm always glad to see an upbeat adventure book with children being allowed to roam enough to get into a little bit of trouble. Quite fun. 
Weaknesses: Oona was really annoying. Reading about her was like hanging out with a friend who talks about herself in the third person. It also seemed like a better plan to the adult me to confess to having taken the car out and wait for Derrick to sort things out with the parking authority.
What I really think: Like reynold's It's the End of the World and I'm in My Bathing Suit, this pays homage to 1990s teen comic adventure flicks. The cover is great, the book had its moments, but I found it hard to connect with Charley or the adventure. I did like this much more than this author's Drop of Hope or Connect the Dots and will probably end up purchasing. Just read this on a February day when I hated everyone and everything. 

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