Road Trip
Road Trip
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Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen
ISBN 9780385741910
Wendy Lamb/Random House, 2013.
4 stars
Keywords: animal-rescue dogs family father-son-relationships friendship gary-paulsen-and-jim-paulsen road-trip

Road Trip
by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen

This collaboration by a father-and-son team starts as a rescue mission for a dog and winds up saving two teens as well.

Ben's father wakes him up on the first day of summer vacation, and by 5:17 a.m., Ben and his dad are on their way to rescue a border collie puppy. On the front seat between them sits Atticus, the border collie who's been part of the family since before 14-year-old Ben was born. There's another reason for the trip: Ben's dad quit his job as a v-p at an insurance company to "flip houses," and he breaks the news that the money's not there to send Ben to hockey camp. Ben slaved to get all A's--his part of their agreement. The air is thick between them as their pick-up truck heads toward their destination.

The Paulsens realistically convey how Ben's anger colors his actions. Ben surreptitiously invites along another passenger, Theo, whom his father calls "the hoodlum"--an 18-year-old "cool" guy Ben tutored so he could graduate. When their truck breaks down, Ben also invites along Gus, the mechanic whose bus they borrow to complete their journey. Mia, a teenage waitress they meet on the road, joins the entourage, too.

Ben and Atticus narrate in alternating chapters. Atticus's sections fill in details others miss and break the tension between father and son. Suspense mounts as Theo's past has an impact on their journey. This is a fun, breezy read for dog lovers and fans of Gary Paulsen's (Hatchet) other adventures.

This review first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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