In this romantic road trip story perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson, a teen girl discovers the value of ordinary objects while learning to forgive her absent father.
A lot can happen on the road from lost to found…
Ali Collins doesn’t have room in her life for clutter or complications. So when her estranged father passes away and leaves her his only prized possession—a 1968 Firebird convertible—Ali knows she won’t keep it. Not when it reminds her too much of all her father’s unfulfilled promises. And especially not when a buyer three hundred miles up the Pacific coast is offering enough money for the car to save her childhood home from foreclosure. There’s only one problem, though. Ali has no idea how to drive a stick shift.
But her ex-boyfriend, Nico, does.
The road trip gets off to a horrible start, filled with unexpected detours, roadblocks, and all the uncomfortable tension that comes with being trapped in a car with your ex. But when Nico starts collecting items from the quirky strangers they meet along the way, Ali starts to sense that these objects aren’t random. Somehow they seem to be leading her to an unknown truth about her father. A truth that will finally prove to Ali that some things—even broken things—are worth saving.
After 18-year-old Ali's absentee father dies, she and her mother learn that they are about to lose their house in Russellville, Calif., to foreclosure. Ali will do anything to keep their home, even after her mom has given up, so she decides to sell the 1968 Firebird convertible she's just inherited from her dad to raise money. Because Ali can't drive a stick shift, she leans on her ex-boyfriend, Nico, to drive her the five hours to Crescent City, to the dealer who will buy the car. Along the way, Ali and Nico place online ads seeking people who are willing to "trade up" one possession for something more valuable, and Ali has alternating flashbacks of her complicated father and her relationship with Nico. Brody (The Chaos of Standing Still) girds this novel with a lot of apparatus lists begin each chapter, pop quiz questions pepper Ali's thoughts, and song lyrics divide the sections. Readers may feel that they've been on similar YA road trips before, but things pick up in the second half, when the question zeroes in on whether Nico and Ali will earn enough money to keep Ali's house. The scavenger hunt structure adds a spin to a familiar story about a teen moving through loss and into forgiveness. Ages 12 up.