How to Steal a Car

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					November/December 2009                                                  675

discussion of strong emotions they’ll be sure to relate to. The book’s
only shortcoming is that it doesn’t come with a complimentary bag of
potato chips. So grab your own (mango chili–flavored, anyone?) and fol-
low Grace’s advice to have lots of water on hand, as “chip eating makes
you very, very thirsty!” j.m.b.

Pete Hautman How to Steal a Car
  170 pp. Scholastic 9/09 isbn 978-0-545-11318-2 $16.99
  (High School)
In this joyride of a novel, suburban Minneapolis teen Kelleigh Monahan
chooses a unique subject for her extra-credit five-hundred-word essay:
how to steal a car. Even more unique is that she’s writing from personal
experience. Hautman’s charismatic first-person narrator recounts a con-
vincing tale of a good girl stumbling upon her wild streak. Impulsively
pocketing a stranger’s lost keys at the mall leads to the first escapade,
an after-midnight spin in a Nissan Altima. She doesn’t get caught but
imagines trying to explain her motivation to her lawyer father if she
had. “The thing that he would never understand was that it only had to
make sense for about one decision-making nanosecond. Later it might
seem moronic, but at the time it all made perfect sense.” Subtly drawn
supporting characters, including “nearly perfect” parents who start to
exhibit cracks in their veneers, give Kelleigh’s story texture; and the sus-
pense rises with each heist. How does practically the last 
Description: Heppermann reviews How to Steal a Car by Pete Hautman.
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