Road tripped

Pete Hautman, 1952-

Book - 2019

Seventeen-year-old Steven "Stiggy" Gabel tries to cope with his father's suicide, his mother's depression, and his girlfriend's departure by taking off down the Great River Road from Minnesota to Louisiana.

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New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers [2019]
First edition
Physical Description
330 pages ; 22 cm
Main Author
Pete Hautman, 1952- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Steven Gabel, aka Stiggy, should be at school. Instead, he's hit the open road in his deceased father's Mustang, with no particular destination in mind beyond following the long and winding Mississippi River. The drive is supposed to stave off all thought—the girl who ghosted on him, the father who took his own life earlier that year on Groundhog Day, the lack of real friends—but all that time alone only achieves the opposite. That isn't to say that Stiggy doesn't stumble upon intriguing folks and adventures along the way—from friendly hitchhikers to grocery-store-robbing Renaissance-faire workers to meth addicts—only that his internal journey is just as engaging, if not more. In Hautman's skilled hands, Stiggy's grief is fully embodied, ebbing and flowing as the days and events pull him back to memories of his dad and the questions that linger. Stiggy himself lies somewhere between curmudgeon and misanthrope, and yet readers will be hard-pressed not to root for him as he comes to discover the ways he's made things harder for himself and the ways in which he is and is not like his father. True-to-life conversations, a keen sense of Midwestern topography, and sharply detailed supporting characters round out this superb road trip novel. By turns introspective and humorous. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Stiggy, 17, has a lot of questions about why his girlfriend, Gaia, dumped him, and why his father committed suicide, and he's not finding any answers in his Minnesota suburb. Wanting to think about "other things—or better yet, not think at all," he impulsively embarks on a road trip in his father's Mustang (which he isn't supposed to drive), carrying little more than $407 in cash and a Visa card stolen from his mother. He has no idea where he's going or how long he'll be gone, but he's ready to explore new territory as he heads through the Midwest. This story, enlivened by witty dialogue and offbeat characters, contains flashbacks set against Stiggy's often hilarious, sometimes profound encounters with strangers. Hautman paints a true-to-life portrait of a bitter, cynical teen who undergoes a gradual transformation as he makes discoveries about Gaia, his father, and himself. Stiggy's many mishaps (being left carless after falling for a lie, getting cornered into buying meth supplies) provide comic relief, while his epiphanies offer food for thought. Ages 12–up. (May) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Seventeen-year-old Steven "Stiggy" Gabel tries to cope with his father's suicide, his mother's depression, and his girlfriend's departure by taking off down the Great River Road from Minnesota to Louisiana.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Embarking on a road trip in the wake of his father's suicide, his mother's descent into depression and his girlfriend's abandonment, Stiggy encounters unanticipated challenges and struggles to decide if he should return home. By the National Book Award-winning author of Godless. 3, first printing. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

In this captivating story about loss, love, and changing your ways, National Book Award­'winning author Pete Hautman imbues the classic road trip novel with clever wit and heartfelt musings about life and death.Steven Gerald Gabel'a.k.a. Stiggy'needs to get out of Minnesota. His father recently took his own life, his mother is a shell of the person she used to be, and his sort-of-girlfriend ghosted him and skipped town. What does he have left to stick around for? Armed with his mom's credit card and a tourist map of Great River Road, Stiggy sets off in his dad's car.The only problem is, life on his own isn't exactly what he expected and, soon enough, he finds himself at a crossroads: keep running from his demons, or let them hitch a ride back home with him.