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Cadillac Chronicles

School Library Journal

 1 Stars
Alex Riley is friendless and spends most of his time drawing, ogling girlsí breasts, or imagining his absent fatherís reentrance or metaphysical guidance in his life. His motherís sole focus is climbing the political ladder in Albany, New York. Thus, she allows an elderly African American man, Lester Bray, to live in their home, but this inauthentic gesture of goodwill is short-lived. After Alexís 16th birthday and a few unsavory comments by Lester, she tells him that he must find another place to stay. Having enough of his motherís antics, Alex convinces him that they should skip town and drive to Fort Lauderdale in Lesterís pristine Cadillac Deville so that Alex can see his father and then go on to Alabama, where Lester can visit his sister. During the trip Alex learns to drive, reconnects with his father, somewhat graphically loses his virginity, and pledges to become a stronger person. While the story of a teen meeting and learning from an elderly adult of a different ethnicity has been done before, Hartmanís effort is fresh and gritty. There are some odd moments in the plot, such as Alex stumbling upon a homeless woman with a cell phone and calling his mother to ask if his father is gay, but overall it is well woven. The mix of humor, gravity, and angst will keep readers engaged, and this debut novel has enough of all three elements to appeal to reluctant and eager male readers alike.Ė
- September 15, 2012 

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