Big Rig

Peachtree. Aug. 2022. 272p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781682632529.
Gr 4-6–Hazel’s mother died when she was a newborn, so it’s been just her and Dad trucking on the road together. Hazel is homeschooled by her truck driver father (who also has a PhD in English Literature), and even though he keeps talking about getting a home and Hazel going to school one day, she wants to put off that future for as long as possible. To Hazel, the road is home, and she wants other people to understand that, too. As the plot progresses, Hazel and her father find themselves in one unbelievable situation after another—encountering a teenage runaway, rescuing a van of school children, and saving a cat from an airplane crash to name a few—and Hazel uses them all for her trucker script she wants to send to Hollywood executives. While Hawes has a unique premise with lots of potential, it can feel like readers are on a very long trucking trip with a lot of curves and one too many rest stops. Many of the things that happen to Hazel and her father could happen individually, but it seems highly improbable that so many things would happen to them in such a short span of time. And while readers might be able to understand that all of these events bring Hazel and her father closer together while teaching important life lessons, it becomes too much to suspend disbelief.
VERDICT A fair purchase for libraries seeking books about father-daughter relationships or trucker life.

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