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Girls in Trucks Paperback – April 7, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; a edition (April 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316002127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316002127
  • ASIN: 0316002127
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #555,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Katie Crouch's debut novel, Girls in Trucks, is the hilarious, heartbreaking tale of Sarah Walters, a Southern debutante whose endless quest for love and fulfillment takes her around the world and back again. Orbiting Sarah is a cast of characters whose misadventures keep the story moving, even as readers grow frustrated with our heroine's inability to rise above her self-destructive tendencies and see the proverbial light.

We first meet Sarah and her friends Charlotte, Bitsy and Annie at the Charleston Cotillion Training School, where you're not allowed to dance with your cousin under any circumstances, and students are strictly forbidden from dancing the Shag. Sarah, who lives in the shadow of her brilliant, beautiful sister Eloise, is a reluctant debutante at best, and unsurprisingly heads East for college. She eventually lands in New York City, where she slaves away as an editorial assistant and ruins an impressive number of relationships with nice, and not so nice guys. Woven into Sarah's tales of romantic woe are Bitsy, Charlotte and Annie's struggles with infidelity, addiction and low self esteem, respectively. What saves this novel from becoming a cliched tale of failed romance and Southern excess is Crouch's amazing wit, which magically appears every time her characters' self-loathing threatens the affection we inevitably develop for each woman:

I loved the neighborhood: tiny streets peppered by angry painters with peacock-colored fingertips and sturdy women from Sicily clutching armfuls of warm bread. It took us a while to shed our Southern ways, but after a few months we figured out that one's natural height should not be enhanced by one's bangs.

Crouch's sharp wit and keen insight into the dynamics between mothers and daughters, sisters, friends and lovers make her an exciting newcomer to the Southern fiction genre. --Gisele Toueg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

An unenthusiastic Southern debutante copes with the cruelties of postcollege New York life in Crouch's amusing debut. Sarah Walters is neither a misfit nor the queen of the Camellia Society cotillion scene growing up in Charleston, S.C. But when she and her fellow Camellias try to make a life in New York City, they find themselves coping in unexpectedly dangerous ways—from standard substance addictions to Sarah's fixation on preppy ex-boyfriend Max, a smooth and sadistic child of wealth. While the formula of young women in the big city seems destined for cliché, Crouch subverts most expectations; Sarah almost purposely misses an opportunity for happiness and stability with the gentle lover she met in Europe, and her ploy to ignite sparks with a college friend goes painfully awry. When Sarah goes back to Charleston and faces a perhaps too over-the-top family crisis (it involves suicide and lesbianism), the reader's left with the hope that the worst is over. Though this feels almost like a collection—each chapter its own story with its own narrative technique—Crouch's portrayal of a young woman's self-sabotage and the pitfalls facing young women in a cold world is wise, wry and heartbreaking. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Katie Crouch is the New York Times bestselling author of Girls in Trucks. Her other novels include Men and Dogs, two young adult novels, and Abroad, a literary thriller set in Italy. Julia Glass wrote of Abroad: With uncanny psychological precision and a dark, dead-on wit, Katie Crouch explores how the casual follies of youth all too quickly turn tragic" Katie covered the Amanda Knox appeal for Slate magazine, and has also written for The Guardian, the New York Times, McSweeney's, Tin House, and Salon, and she has a regular column on The Rumpus called "Missed." A MacDowell fellow, Crouch teaches at San Francisco State University and lives in Bolinas, California with Peter Orner and their daughter Phoebe.

Customer Reviews

There is writing talent here, but not enough sense of story or character.
Heather A. Conrad
Sarah is a really pathetic character at times and I kept hoping for a happy ending but I didn't even feel like I was given that.
Tempest Storm
I'm pretty easy to please on books and I highly recommend not reading this.
keep it simple

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Heather A. Conrad on May 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Good writing, a page-turner, but there is no there there. After reading this book I feel I finally understand what the word slacker means. Sarah Walters, from Charleston, South Carolina, narrates this story about her girlhood through to her early thirties. She's into substance abuse and unkind men. The contrast of her affluent southern belle upbringing with her down and dirty lifestyle is handled with clever wit. But, the story is told too much on the surface, for me. It is a solipsistic tale, except there is no real tale--more a series of seemingly workshopped vignettes, or like a decoupage--a collage of scenes with a veneer of shellac. There are no interiors. It's as if Crouch takes the fiction writer's maxim "show don't tell" over the top and we have no idea, ever, what anyone is feeling. I found a riff on the Chinese to be offensive, even if it was triggered by Sarah's ex dating an Asian woman. One hopes it was meant to be ironic but because there is no reflection or interior expression, one can't know for sure. Equally, when Sarah and her boyfriend think it's hilarious to rent a car and drive onto the highway when they are both stoned, drinking beer and neither of them has driven in a year, it appears the reader is supposed to find this funny, too. There is writing talent here, but not enough sense of story or character. I'd be interested to see what Crouch does next, unless it's more of the same.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Rocket on May 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
The author did an excellent job of bringing the reader into her world in the beginning of this book. However, about half way through, things started to fall apart, to the point where I had to wonder if I was indeed reading the same book, from chapter to chapter. I was disappointed that the freshness and pace dwindled into an aimless, disjointed mess of an end. Bottom line: I couldn't care less about any of the characters after reading the first half. Disappointing.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on April 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Sarah Walters grew up in Charleston trying to follow the rules. She attended Cotillion Training School to learn the dances and etiquette required of a debutante. As a member of the Camellia Society by birth, she will use these rules and skills all her enchanted life.

Sarah hears this from all directions, from her mother who drinks too much, from the Camellia Society mamas who always seem to be around, and from the other Camellias who attend Wednesday night classes.

Sarah's older sister, Eloise, is valedictorian and the most promiscuous girl in class, something she feels the need to share with Sarah. When Eloise goes away to Yale, Sarah's education also broadens. Charleston is no longer the place for her.

While Sarah learned how to serve tea, she never learned to respect herself. Sleeping around seems to be the norm, and while she feels like everyone knows the rules to this game but her, she stills wants to play.

A move to New York City with her friend Charlotte makes the game tougher as there is now more time to drink and party. Sarah spends time with the wrong men; men who are sick, or just cruel, and will let her turn herself inside out in order to keep them happy.

Tragedy in her family calls Sarah home where she realizes being a Camellia isn`t as pretty, or as safe, as it once seemed. Never the less, it is a constant-something and someone to depend on. Do the rules still apply? Can she be happy if she picks up where she left off in Charleston?

Told in a humorous voice, this is a dark tale of a young woman's endeavor to find true love and happiness. Women of all ages will identify with Sarah, if not in deed, at least in theory.

Armchair Interviews says: Well told, Girls in Trucks is a story that will keep you turning pages.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Saadia on April 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book was perfect. I was enthralled and entertained from the title page to the last word. Katie Crouch's writing is truly next level. This is a book I will give as a gift, recommend to friends and read over and over again. As a poet, it is rare that I find prose that appeals to me the way "Girls in Trucks" did. The work is brilliant and accessible. In a word, it is perfect.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on March 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I LOVED this book. What a debut! Sarah Walters: hilarious, heart-broken, searching. She's just a beautiful, deep character. Her disappointments and her struggles and the solutions she finds are so intriguing. This book was addictive for me, partly because the writing is just fantastic (it has the two essential elements in fiction for me--humor and sadness) and partly because it is hard, I think, for any woman in America not to relate to some of this. It's like talking to my sister.

What is Katie Crouch writing now? That's what I want to know. Clearly this is a writer we haven't seen the last of, not by a long shot.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. Kastl on June 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
This was an odd and compelling book. On one hand I couldn't put it down, I had to know what was going to happen - on the other I was so tired of Sarah and her stubborn self-destruction; I couldn't figure out where it came from. It would have been nice to find out what finally caused the end of her relationship with Max. What happened to her sister's first marriage - that was an interesting episode. I was left with a lot of questions, like the book wasn't quite complete, some of the situations needed closure. When all is said and done, I honestly can't decided if I liked the book or not; I find myself thining about it though, so I guss that means that something about it worked.
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