Parents of tweens and middle graders are always on the lookout for quality reading material to share with their kids. They want a book with a good message and a book that speaks to the issues that are important or rather relevant to their youngsters. Drive Me Crazy by Terra Élan McVoy is a sensational book with a great message that both parents and tweens/middle graders will adore. It deals with so much and yet it is not preachy or pushy. This story would be an excellent faith and family read aloud or faith and family discussion facilitator.
Title: Drive Me Crazy
Author: Terra Élan McVoy
About the Book: “Buckle up…
Lana and Cassie have met only once before, at the wedding of Lana’s Grandpa Howe and Cassie’s Grandma Tess two months ago. They didn’t exactly hit it off—in fact, depending on who you ask, that first meeting was either an embarrassment or a disaster—but they’re about to spend an entire week together, just the two of them and their honeymooning grandparents, road-tripping in Cassie’s grandmother’s Subaru.
Lana thinks a summer road trip sounds like fun, but the backseat is a crowded place for two tween girls with two huge secrets to hide, and this bumpy road to friendship is full of unexpected twists and turns. Like it or not, they’re in this together, full speed ahead on the adventure of a lifetime.”
A Phone Tree Review: What an incredible book for middle graders and tweens! Targeted toward those ages 8-12 (grades 3-7), Drive Me Crazy was filled with the up and down emotions and the back and forth thought processes of two very different girls who were brought together for a super special adventure. I loved it!
Initial Meeting ->
Lana: From the start, I adored this character. Lana came across as a brave and wise old soul. She was bright, optimistic, intuitive, and compassionate. I loved the fact that she was so family-oriented. She seemed to care a lot about making memories and cherishing what she had been given. She had a great relationship with her parents and her grandparents. She had integrity and strived to do the right thing, even in difficult situations. I felt very protective of this character.
Cassie: Almost immediately upon meeting Cassie, I have to say that I did not necessarily like her. She was almost the exact opposite of Lana. She seemed superficial and shallow. She lacked substance and tended to care more about the opinions of others. She complained a lot. She subscribed to the social clique mentality. She came across as selfish and competitive.
As the Story Moved Forward ->
Lana: Boy, oh boy! Who knew Lana was dealing with all of that? Her strength was noteworthy, especially for one so young. I found it interesting how aware she was of the circumstances at home, but I also found it interesting how she held back a part of her truth regarding what was going on at home. For one so courageous and expressive (of sorts), it was hard not to notice that she did not take the direct path. That was interesting. I could not help but think how peculiar. Dealing with what she had to deal with on top of dealing with Cassie on top attempting to make this trip the best trip ever was…whew. This young girl was on the cusp of maturity, while still trying to navigate that delicate place of in between, where you are still considered to be a little girl and yet you are not.
Cassie: The pressures and emotions that go along with being young while growing older, this was Cassie’s story. Already at her tender age, she has had to deal with loss, betrayal, social tension, academic rivalry, sibling angst, and more. Not to excuse her behavior, but as the story progressed, I can say that I definitely understood her more. Wow! She too, much like Lana, was at a major point of transition in her life. Not a girl, but not yet a woman (:-), she had a lot coming at her. She did not want to sink under it all. Yes, she tended to be more concerned about herself than others at times, but she was, in my opinion, still trying to figure out who she was and what she wanted while attempting to gain ground in the popularity dance that goes with growing up.
By the End of the Story ->
Lana: From the cupcakes on, I was totally crying.
Cassie: Who knew Maine could be so magical? (in more ways than one)
Supporting Characters: I loved Grandpa Howe and Grandma Tess so much! They were three different kinds of a hoot and a holler. Lana’s parents were dealing with a lot and my heart went out to them. Lana’s friends seemed genuine and comfortable in their own skin. (Although they were not mentioned much, they still had a presence that helped to shape Lana’s story.) Cassie’s parents were a hard read, but her brother was…a typical brother. Cassie’s “friends,” on the other hand, were so NOT! I was extremely curious about Fiona though. (Good or bad, this character had something that captured my attention in a big way.)
There is so much more that I want to say and that I could say about this story, but I don’t want to ruin it for the readers. This book has substance and depth. It speaks a language that middle graders and tweens will be able to relate to. It also presents itself in such a way that parents can be assured that there kids are not being exposed to tainted fluff.
I am elated that such a clean and meaty book is available for this age group. I would highly recommend it.
Audience: Ages 8-12, Grades 3-7
Family/Life Lessons: Yes
Relevant for Targeted Age Group: Yes
Other: Family Read Aloud, Tween Talk Group, School Library, Middle Grade Book Club, Gift
Series Worthy: Yes