The Road to Wherever

Farrar. May 2021. 272p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374314057.
Gr 4-6–June Ball, an 11-year-old tween boy living in Sheboygan Falls, WI, is in for a rough summer. His mom is shipping him off to stay with his dad’s first cousins, Larry and Cornell Ball; “Ford men” who own Ball Garage in town and are Ford car fanatics. June has been having a hard time since his dad disappeared a few months prior. A war veteran, his dad struggled with drinking and PTSD. June would prefer to eat, play video games, help his mom at her hair salon, and watch YouTube videos of kids who are surprised by war veteran parents who have been away a long time. When he gets in the Ford pickup truck with Larry and Cornell, he has no idea where they are headed. He asks desperately, “Where are we going?” The cousins reply, “Wherever we are needed.” At its heart, this is an optimistic book about dreamers and goal setters who achieve their goals.
VERDICT Readers will be transported to summer days and nights where the air is warm and lifelong memories are made. A solid addition to realistic fiction books for middle graders.

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