Thursday, November 18, 2010

How to Steal a Car by Pete Hautman

Title: How to Steal a Car
Author: Pete Hautman
Publisher: Scholastic
Hardcover, 170 pages
Date Published: September 1, 2009

Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Some girls act out by drinking or doing drugs. Some girls act out by sleeping with guys. Some girls act out by starving themselves or cutting themselves. Some girls act out by being a bitch to other girls.
Not Kelleigh. Kelleigh steals cars.

In How to Steal a Car, National Book Award winner Pete Hautman takes teen readers on a thrilling, scary ride through one suburban girl's turbulent life - one car theft at a time. 

Pete Hautman has a way with words that is so blunt, so matter of fact, that you can’t help but be interested. How To Steal A Car isn’t all that action-packed, despite the subject matter, because of Hautman’s writing style; yet I was wholly intrigued by it.

Kelleigh Monahan is a 15 year old smart girl with a nice best friend who she sort of shares a maybe gay boyfriend with. Her life doesn't appear to be too complicated. She has a nice mom and lawyer dad who works constantly, but then, out of nowhere, she starts stealing cars.

Hautman’s foray into Kelleigh’s thoughts about her life and her new hobby are funny, and somehow make perfect sense. In a way, Kelleigh’s newfound desire to boost cars is understandable. She gets an odd rush from it even though it has no purpose for her. And it lets her escape the things in her life she would like to avoid.

How To Steal A Car is a short read that kept me interested, but it was lacking in direction. I was hoping there would be some kind of conclusion to Kelleigh’s story and her car thievery, but it just ends. No conclusion, no solid ending. I want to know what happens next. What happens to Kelleigh? What happens to her family (who really aren’t as great as they first seem)? And does she ever get caught? Does she even care?

This was still a good read, though maybe directed at a younger YA audience. Kelleigh is 15 and there is talk of alcohol, drugs, and sex, but nothing of the sort is ever explicitly discussed.

Opening line: The way this whole thing got started was completely coincidental and not like I planned it or anything. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines: “You going to law school too, Kelleigh?”
“Actually, I’m thinking of becoming a criminal. To give the lawyers something to do.” ~ pg. 88

More like 3.5
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Pete Hautman online:

Buy it online:


Willa said...

Cool, thanks for the review. I like the title of the book!

Pete Hautman said...

Hey Nikki, Thanks for the nice review! I made a video of myself reading from How to Steal a Car. You can find it on my YouTube channel here:

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Thanks for sending me the link, Pete. I'm going to add it to my review because it's hilarious to watch and great for readers who may be interested in the book :D

Bere said...

I love the title of this book, Nikki! I have actually never heard of this one before but it does sounds interesting. I might just check it out. Excellent review, Nikki, as always. Thanks so much! =)

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