In any race, there are drivers. At the front of the pack, there are racers.
In the final laps, it's the racer who moves his car through the sweet spot, picks off the competition, and drives through a hole to win.
In Kyle's family, his older brother, Kris, has always been the racer, born and bred to it, like his father and grandfather and great-grandfather before him. And that's just fine with Kyle; he's got other things to do. Now Kris is out of commission, injured, and Kyle has no choice but to drive. Does he want to drive just long enough to keep Kris's seat warm, or does he want to race--and win?
Gr 6-10-A Contender (HarperCollins, 1987) for racing fans. Born to a multigenerational racing family, 17-year-old Kyle Hillebrand gave up driving for his trumpet and his brass quintet. However, as his family struggles to get back into big-time racing, he is pulled between his love of music and his responsibility to his family. An injury to his brother, the heir apparent to the racing dynasty, puts Kyle back in the driver's seat in an attempt to continue the team's success in hopes of luring sponsorships that could lead back to NASCAR's Busch and Nextel Cup racing series. Kyle drives well in his substitute role and the team lands the sponsor, which leads to his family's planning a second car so that he can continue racing alongside the now-healthy Kris, forcing a decision by Kyle. His choice is complicated by pressure from his family and by friction with members of his quintet, who resent his time away to help out the racing team, as well as by two potential love interests, one in the quintet and the other an employee of the racers. Lipsyte maintains a good level of tension, leaving it unclear throughout most of the book which road Kyle will choose as he finds he enjoys both. Racing scenes are engaging and generally plausible, and they provide a good setting for the relationship issues and suspense inherent in a teen's choice between his desires and his family's expectations.-Jeffrey A. French, formerly at Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library, Willowick, OH Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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June 29, 2009
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