Molly is a girl who's not sure she can feel anything anymore, because life sometimes hurts way too much. Her brother Barry ran away after having a fight with their father over the war in Vietnam. Now Barry's been drafted into that war - and Molly's mother tells her she has to travel across the country in an old schoolbus to find Barry and bring him home.
Norman is Molly's slightly older cousin, who drives the old schoolbus. He's a drummer who wants to find his own music out in the world - because then he might not be the "normal Norman" that he fears he's become. He's not sure about this trip across the country . . . but his own mother makes it clear he doesn't have a choice.
Molly and Norman get on the bus - and end up seeing a lot more of America that they'd ever imagined. From protests and parades to roaring races and rock n' roll, the cousins make their way to Barry in San Francisco, not really knowing what they'll find when they get there.
As she did in her other epic novels Countdown and Revolution, two-time National Book Award finalist Deborah Wiles takes the pulse of an era . . . and finds the multitude of heartbeats that lie beneath it.
In this conclusion to Wiles's Sixties Trilogy, which riffs on the music of the era, two cousins, Molly and Norman, head from Charleston to San Francisco in June 1969. They're trying to locate Molly's missing brother, Barry, who left after a fight with their father over U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and has now been summoned by letter to report for his pre-draft physical. As in her first two volumes, Countdown and Revolution, Wiles's prodigious research informs the narrative, and each of five sections is introduced with photomontages, excerpts from news stories and speeches, and song lyrics. The jam-packed novel is long but adventurous as Norman insists on stopping frequently to feed his burgeoning interest in rock 'n' roll and jazz; along the way, the cousins meet the likes of the Allman Brothers and Elvis and deliver some cymbals to Capitol Records in Los Angeles. If readers can get past the idea that the cousins' mothers support Molly, 14, and Norman, 17, driving a rickety school bus cross-country to bring Barry home, they'll have one hell of a nostalgia-driven road trip in store. Ages 9 12. \n