When I Hit the Road

Sourcebooks. May 2020. 304p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781492640257; pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781728226354.
Gr 3-5–When Sam’s mom puts her in charge of Operation Sunny Sandy Shores to rescue Gram from Florida and bring her back to Illinois, she is less than thrilled. She pictures a boring summer with old people. Plus, Gram was always particular about her old house, with her white carpeting and fine china. Then Gram shows up in a turquoise Mustang convertible and a loud T-shirt, and Sam is shocked. Even more surprising is what Gram’s been secretly planning: a Widow’s Bucket List Karaoke Bible Delivery road trip! Suddenly, Sam is on the adventure of a lifetime with a quirky cast of characters and hilariously disastrous situations. The narration is entirely in journal format, which may appeal to young readers. The characters, especially Sam, Gram, and Gram’s pickleball teammate Mimi, are enjoyable. Though Sam likes to use big vocabulary words in her entries, it is a fast read. The consecutive disasters keep the story going. There are a few serious moments, but for the most part, the tone is light and funny.
VERDICT A fun road trip that readers will enjoy, and a pleasant addition to realistic fiction collections.

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