From Publishers Weekly
Sixteen-year-old Luke Fulmer gets an education in misbehaving in Hudgens's raucous, Southern-fried bildungsroman. Luke hasn't had the greatest role models: his gorgeous mom, Claudia, needs her soaps like a wino needs his Thunderbird; his deadbeat dad, Lyndell, gets Luke involved in a B and E within 24 hours of seeing him for the first time in a decade; and his older brother, Nick, has done time twice for dealing drugs. It's Georgia in 1979, where Luke steals his brother's nickel bags for pocket money and his neighbor's car for errands—that is, until he smashes it into a tree. He loses his license, is forced to take a job as a busboy at the Holiday Inn, and has to move in with his brother—after all, isn't Nick walking the straight-and-narrow these days? Not hardly: he may have a landscaping business, a decent golf game and a band, Puss N' Booze, but he's also got a nice cocaine trade. Then Luke falls for a kleptomaniac, Nick lands in jail, and Luke has to play pick-up man in a drug drop. Hudgens's sharp dialogue sparkles throughout, and the cat-and-mouse confrontations between Luke, Nick and the local lawmen are particularly funny. Hudgens's takes on car racing, Claudia's dating, Luke's first love and Nick's attempts to teach Luke his dubious keys to success also shine in this shaggy but thoroughly enjoyable debut.
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When Luke Fulmer was just 10 years old, his father--an amateur stock-car driver--taught him to drive, saying, "It's best to learn young." Luke turns 16 in 1979 and finally gets his much-anticipated driver's license, but he immediately steals his neighbor's car and smashes it, so the local magistrate suspends his license. His overwhelmed mother, Claudia, has had enough: her oldest son, Nick, is already a two-time felon. She decides to spend the summer elsewhere, and she sends Luke to live with his brother Nick, hoping he'll learn from Nick's mistakes. So begins an endless summer during which Luke works pit crew for a stock car driver, dates a kleptomaniac, meets Jack Nicklaus (the golfer), and retrieves a duffel bag of cocaine for his brother. He also does a lot of illegal driving and learns that there is nowhere in the world he feels more in control than behind the wheel of a car. It's a good thing, too, because young Luke must keep it together while his family, his girlfriend, and maybe even his future are all taking a dive. Jerry EberleCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved