American Road Trip

336p. Holt. Sept. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781627797412.
OrangeReviewStarGr 7 Up—This novel paints an emotional portrait of the highs and lows on the journey to young adulthood. The plot focuses on high school junior Teodoro and the Avila family as they enter a period of crisis and struggle to maintain a cohesive unit. Teens will encounter relatable issues of economic hardship, wavering academic self-confidence, feuding parents, and a sense of growing despair as family members continue to grow farther apart. Teodoro's sudden romantic interest in a childhood friend becomes a catalyst for taking charge of his future and improving his grades. Shortly after, his older brother, Manny, returns from several military tours with a difficult case of PTSD and depression. As the Avila family is pushed to the brink, Teodoro's older sister takes the reins and plans a road trip that may just save everyone. Flores-Scott sheds light on important issues of mental health and attempted suicide while exploring the emotions of first love. He also adeptly provides a window and a mirror of Latinx culture and reimagines the American road trip as an individual journey, one deeply anchored in sacrifice for those we love. While some aspects of the trip are predictable, this narrative offers a fast-paced plot, high readability, and guaranteed tears of joy and sadness.
VERDICT A must-purchase for fans of realistic fiction.

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