Review Blog

May 29 2012

Drive by by Jim Carrington

cover image

Bloomsbury 2012. ISBN 978 1 4088 2278 4.
(Age: Teens) Recommended. Johnny and his friends are returning home from the park on a hot summer's day messing around and kicking a football which accidentally lands in the house of an old lady who punctures it before returning it.
Later the boys have their revenge when they shoot her with water pistols as they ride past her open car window. After they learn she has had a heart attack and she dies, Johnny feels extremely guilty as it was his idea. He wants to confess but his friends are not so sure. Things go rapidly downhill from there as Johnny finds it increasingly difficult to deal with the guilt. It is all complicated by his meeting up with a girl that he is attracted to, but who turns out to be the old lady's granddaughter.
Johnny is an essentially decent person, so the consequences of his prank weigh heavily on him. The author manages to convey this without preaching and the relationship between him and the granddaughter is convincingly done.Whilst giving a balanced view of the realities of the situation the author manages to resolve it satisfactorily and believably. This allows the story to end positively but does not diminish the issues involved.
Recommended for teenage readers who will identify with many of the issues raised such as taking responsibility for your actions.
David Rayner

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