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Car Trouble Hardcover – July 26, 2005

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; 1 edition (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060736720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060736729
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,131,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up–Computer whiz Duff Pringle, 17, has a used car and six days to get from Virginia to California where a job awaits him creating computer games. When he breaks down shortly after he sets out, he finds someone who has a car that needs to be driven to St. Louis. He picks up Stu, a seemingly harmless drifter, who turns out to be a blessing and a curse. During the ride, Duff explains that he doesn't have time for girls, but in reality he simply doesn't know how to talk to them. In St. Louis, Duff meets Bonnie, the teenage daughter of the vehicle's owner, a con artist hospitalized in Virginia. She decides to travel with the guys to California where she can stay with an aunt. Slowly Duff begins to break out of his shell and to have a relationship with her. His transition does not occur with the push of a button; instead it takes place over real-time, and even though there's no job when he reaches California, readers know that his life is on the right track. Ending with hope, Car Trouble is a good read that is kept moving by strong characters who steer the flow of the story.–Tracy Karbel, Glenside Public Library District, Glendale Heights, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. Recent high-school grad and computer-whiz Duff Pringle is on a cross-country road trip, headed from home in Richmond, Virginia, to a California job designing the next-generation something or other for a company that modestly calls itself "Incredibility, Inc." Alas, real life doesn't run as smoothly as a computer program, and, in short order, Duff's battered old Ford breaks down, he meets a fast-talking hitchhiker in a wild shirt, loses his wallet in a scary biker restaurant, finds himself stranded in St. Louis, and, well, that's just the tip of an iceberg of troubles. The author of the well-received sf novels The City of Ember (2003) and The People of Sparks (2004), DuPrau also shows a nice flair for humorous, character-driven, realistic fiction. Although there are more smiles than guffaws in this sometimes slow-moving story, teens will find Duff good company and will be glad to go along with him for the ride. Michael Cart
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

I enjoyed the book with my students.
Carilyn Rouyer
I rarely fall in love with a fictitious character from a novel, but Stu captured my attention right away with his lovable personality.
Kool Fool
Compared to other books I have read this one just doesn't stand out in my mind.
Teen Reviewer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Linda Joy Singleton on August 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
CAR TROUBLE is the title of Jeanne DuPrau's newest book. Since she wrote CITY OF EMBER and SPARKS, I've been a huge fan. CAR TROUBLE is a totally different genre than DuPrau's fantasy realism books, more of a teen comedy with secrets, bad guys and a little romance. I LOVED it!

CAR TROUBLE is a funny light YA about the misadventures of a 17 year old computer genius who is driving cross-country to start a fabulous job in CA. Not only does he encounter "car trouble" and share the trip with two interesting friends, but he gains an awareness of alternate fuel types and a growing desire to change the world, which brings about positive changes in himself.

This book offers a fun, surprising road adventure that will appeal to fans of Gordon Korman, Joan Bauer and David Lubar.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reviewer on May 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I read this book recently and I found it to be okay. I rather enjoyed the original characters. Each one was unique in their own way. Each character had their own spot in the story and none of them were pushed to the back of the spotlight. The overall plot of the story is very interesting and humorous. I disliked one thing with the plot; a really weird series of events would have to happen in real life for it to ever occur. The sense of humor is great throughout the entire story and I found myself laughing in the middle of reading it. The main character Duff changed a lot through the story and gained a lot of wisdom in a short time span. The stories that have characters changing over time I think are the easiest to relate to. I also think the book is okay because of its length. I think the book is too short to make a huge impact on the reader. Compared to other books I have read this one just doesn't stand out in my mind. It is a good book to read in your spare time but don't take a lot of time to explore any more of the book. In conclusion I gave this book 3 out 5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
For some reason my wife has gotten into a groove of reading YA (young adult) books lately, and as a result, I end up reading some almost by accident. I dipped into the first few pages of this one to vet it for her, and over the course of a few days, ended up reading the entire thing (it's a quick read, about two or three hours at most). The story is pretty simple and gentle, unlike so many "issue" YA books that appear these days, which seem to draw their inspiration from cautionary afterschool specials and then amp them up.

Here we meet 17-year-old computer geek Duff Pringle (is it just me, or does sound more like Homer Simpson's favorite brand of potato chips than a real person's name?), as he embarks on that quintessential American rite of passage -- a road trip. He's passing up college for a dot-com job in San Jose, and has a week to drive his decrepit Ford Escort cross-country from Richmond. Of course, things don't go as planned, and wacky antics ensue, involving a '57 Chevy, a surfer-dude hitchhiker, a cute girl and her vomiting dog, a biker bar, and a couple of goons.

Duff is a pretty one-dimensional character, the classic supergeek who's good with computers and bad with people. Over the course of the story he's forced to deal with people, and of course, as a result, grows up a bit. It would have been nice if he were a bit more nuanced -- computer geek kids are so thick on the ground these days that it's hard to buy him as a totally friendless loser. That archetype worked better back in the '80s, but is much less plausible now. Hitchhiker Stu is a charmer, but clearly bad news, so the reader spends most of the story waiting for the shoe to drop with him.
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By Zachary Kahle on February 24, 2015
Format: Paperback
Zac Kahle
Hour 4
Book Review
I read the book Car Trouble by Jeanne DuPrau. It was published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in New York and was copyrighted in 2005. I would recommend reading this book because to any teenager because it is connected to your life and makes you think about what you are going to do after high school. I like how there are many exciting events that keep you interested and how well you get to know the characters.
Car Trouble by Jeanne Duprau is about a boy right out of high school named Duff Pringle. Duff is a computer geek and was offered a high paying job without having to go to college. He is a bit of an introvert and does not enjoy talking to other people. For that reason he is glad he doesn’t have to go to college because he thinks it will be just like four more years of high school, which did not go well the first time. The job is in San Jose, California and Duff lives in Richmond, Virginia and only has 6 days to drive the roughly three thousand miles across the country. Very early in the trip, only about an hour or two in, Duff’s car that he bought especially to get him to California breaks down and is unfixable in 6 days. The rest of the book, Duff is trying to find ways to get himself to California without a car and meets two people who he shares much of his journey with.
The two people Duff meets on his journey are Stu and Bonnie. Duff meet Stu in a diner right after his car breaks down. They both are traveling to California and decide to travel together. Stu is a very likeable guy and is going to California to surf and live by the beach. Although he is a very nice person, he seems suspicious to Duff and Bonnie. “This is where Stu hid the money. He never meant to keep the bargain he made with me.” (P.
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More About the Author

Jeanne DuPrau is the author of The New York Timesbestseller The City of Ember and its companion The People of Sparks. She lives in Menlo Park, California, and drives a hybrid car that runs on a combination of gas and electricity.

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