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Driver's Ed Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1996

3.9 out of 5 stars 117 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"With evocative, vigorous prose," Cooney writes of a night of thrill-seeking gone wrong when a young mother dies as a result of a prank by three teenagers. "As convincing as it is believable," praised PW in a starred review. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up-Disinterested driver's ed teacher Mr. Fielding views his class as indistinguishable brainless clones. In order to keep them straight, he distributes name tags, and then calls out three lucky participants each day to go out on the road. Of course, the students are way ahead of him, and just exchange name tags whenever anyone wants a chance behind the wheel. Remy loves to drive, and she constantly trades tags with other girls. One night, she and a perspective love interest, Morgan, accept a class challenge to collect road signs, recruiting an older boy to drive. The expedition goes without a hitch- until they learn that a young mother has been killed at the intersection from which they have stolen a stop sign. The whole community is up in arms, and the grieving widower appears on TV with his son, offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the vandals. Remy and Morgan are filled with remorse and guilt as their lives are turned upside down. Mr. Fielding, in a rare act of awareness, nearly accuses a different student of the crime because of the switched name tags. Both young people realize that they have to take responsibility for their actions and confess. Cooney uses her familiar fast-paced, conversational style throughout the novel. As the action intensifies, the sentences get shorter and more pointed. This stylistic device intensifies the drama and underlines the horror of the situation. Great literature this is not. However, the simple plot, told from Remy and Morgan's alternating viewpoints, is in no way simplistic, as it takes on sensitive issues and deals with them in a compelling manner. The overriding tension and the theme of an innocent prank backfiring into tragedy will attract teens and heighten the book's appeal.
Susan R. Farber, Chappaqua Library, NY
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf (January 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440219817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440219811
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a book I read some years ago. I'm reviewing it now because I was thinking about it this morning. And any book that makes you think years after you've read it deserves a review, I think. I don't remember a thing about the structure of the story or the style in which it was written. I do remember feeling a certain distance from the story as I read it. Cooney is a fairly dependable writer; perhaps the distance had to do simply with my own particular taste. Regardless, the book has tremendous impact. If you read the other reviews, you will get the spoilers; I see no need for me to outline the plot here. What I want to discuss is the very effective, very real tension that arises out of what could seem like a very simple decision--a choice kids make, thinking it's going to be funny, thinking that what they do tonight has no connection to anyone else's life, or to their own futures. I have very good kids - I'm not at all worried that they'll do something easily definable as wrong. But I am afraid of their youth and inexperience, which has to result in a fair amount of short-sightedness, and of the level of silliness the best kids can hit when they are out together and egg each other on.

I still remember the horror I felt as this story unfolded. As a mother, way past any such temptations myself, I still became the kids as I read. Cooney creates in the reader that sort of nightmare experience: in your dream, you have done something terrible, something really terrible and your life will never be the same. From the dream, you wake. The impact of this story is that there can be no waking. The terrible thing is there, and will always be there. My reaction to the story still lingers, after all these years.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Caroline Cooney's Drivers Ed is about several high school students experiencing all the ups and downs of learning to drive. As teenagers they are very mischievous and just enjoy a good time, but when a mother is found dead as a result of something they are guilty of, it seems like there lives will change forever.
Remy, Lark, and Morgan are mischievous friends who plan to go out to steal certain signs one night. None of them have their licenses, so Nicky Buddy drives. He is one year older than all of them, and he lives by Morgan so he is a friend with him. Remy decides that she want a Morgan Road sign, they get a "Thickly Settled" sign for Lark, and Morgan takes a Stop sign. Also, Remy and Morgan kiss when they are in the car. When Remy comes home, Mac starts to question her and she has to hide the Morgan Road sign in the bushes to make sure that Mac doesn't tell their mom what she did.
That night, Morgan is watching the news and he sees a thing on about how a stop sign was taken off of Cherry Road and some mother was hit by a truck and died. Morgan then realizes that it was the sign that they took. Morgan's dad then says, "Whoever took that sign should be shot."
It was Friday, so she didn't have to worry about school, but all she could think about was the sign. What if her class found out? Saturday passed, and still, she couldn't think of anything but the sign. Then Morgan's family decides to start going to church, and this makes Remy think that Morgan told. But then she realizes they only went because his dad is running for governor. After church, everyone went to the basement to have cake and coffee, but Morgan couldn't eat because every time he put cake in his mouth, he thought of the lady never eating again.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a university student, I chose to read this book as part of a Young Adult Literature class. I enjoyed it for several reasons. First, the characters in the book are realistic and ones that readers can easily relate to. The book took me back to my teenage years when driving and dating seemed to be the most crucial aspects of life. The characters are not fluffed up to become some heroes they aren't. For example, even when Remy and Morgan, the protagonists, get into trouble beyond anything they could expect they still worry about their newfound relationship. These are real kids trying to make the best of a bad situation.

Another aspect I enjoyed was the way Caroline Cooney built up the suspense throughout the book. I experienced the same anticipation as the main characters and was never quite sure what they would ultimately decide to do. The ending is such that it leaves you meditating because the story does not feel quite finished. While some may view an unfinished story as irritating, I see it as an opportunity for the reader to make the story his or her own by personalizing it with his or her opinion of how the characters' lives will play out.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has experienced the torture of keeping a secret or has done something wishing no harm but later regretted the action. If you like this book, I would also recommend The Face on the Milk Carton by the same author.
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A Kid's Review on February 12, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the book Driver's Ed by Caroline B. Cooney, three teens, Remy, Morgan, and Nickie are having the time of their lives. Lark, Remy's best friend, has asked them to take a Thickly Settled street sign. So they did. They also took two more signs, a Morgan Ave. sign, and a stop sign. It is all fun and games till someone got hurt. Seriously hurt. She died. Denise Thompson died in a crash all because of the missing stop sign. She didn't stop and she crashed into a truck. Does one stop sign really make a difference?
Over all the book was fairly good. I did like the realism of the life of a teen: the pressure of friends, crushes, teachers and parents. I didn't like the realism of Denise Thompson death. This book was very different than all the books I ever read. This is a book many people can look at and see how it relates to their life or somebody else's life. It keeps you on edge, and makes you ask questions like. What will they do next? What is going to happen? It is obvious Caroline B. Cooney enjoys writing very real books. If you don't like realistic fiction, or dramatic books, this book isn't for you. If you do like these type of books, try it.
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