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Running Wide Open (Full Throttle Book 1) by [Lisa Nowak]

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Running Wide Open (Full Throttle Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 173 ratings
Book 1 of 4 in Full Throttle (4 Book Series)

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Length: 330 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Age Level: 13 - 18

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Editorial Reviews


From Kirkus Reviews

A coming-of-age story about a teenager who, despite a rough start, starts to find himself thanks to stock car racing and an uncle who actually cares.

Nowak's (Redline, 2013, etc.) novel centers on Cody, a sensitive, artistic 15-year-old kid from Portland, Oregon, whose mild rebellious streak has left his distant and uncompassionate parents extremely unenthused. At the start of the novel, Cody, who secretly wants to be a writer, gets caught by the police spraying graffiti at the zoo. Cody's father gives him two options: go to military school to get his act straight, or go live with his "black sheep" uncle Race, who lives a few hours away in Eugene. Cody chooses to move in with his uncle, and when he arrives, he is less than pleased with his new living situation--the "bedroom" of a trailer. While Cody and Race get off to a rocky start (e.g., Race catches Cody drinking some of his beers, then stealing a street sign), Cody grows to like his uncle when he introduces Cody to his passion--fixing and racing stock cars. The troubled teenager's life begins to rapidly improve, with new interests in things like cars and karate as well as new friends such as Race's mentor, Kasey. Then something unexpected happens: his uncle gets into a bad wreck on the racetrack, suffering a traumatic brain injury that lands him in the hospital. His future uncertain, Cody is left wondering if he'll be forced to return to live with his folks or grandmother or if he can find a way to stay in the new environment that has been making him happy. Nowak capably depicts a realistic, likable teenager with typical teenager flaws. Cody is moody and rebellious, disobeying his parents and uncle; yet he's also sweet and bright with a great sense of humor--and a great T-shirt collection. One reads: "I have animal magnetism. When I go outside squirrels stick to me." Nowak also paints a vivid, thrilling portrait of the stock car racing world, which will surely be enjoyed by racing enthusiasts.

An endearing story about a teenager, his mentor, and what a difference true, unselfish love can make.


I thoroughly enjoy Lisa Nowak's books and have especially enjoyed using her Full Throttle series in working with my students. The characters are all so believable and definitely relatable to adolescents. I find that the lessons they learn are valuable and at times similar to things my students are dealing with. In one student's case, I was able to draw from situations in the books to use as comparisons and possible solutions. It was great to not have to "lecture."

I really cannot put in words how much I enjoy Lisa's books. I'm constantly suggesting them to teachers in our school and always look forward to getting a student interested. The characters feel so real you can't wait to read the next book to stay involved with them. I am anxiously awaiting more books from Lisa!

~ Linda Ryan, School Counselor, Londonderry H.S.

About the Author

In addition to being a YA author, Lisa Nowak is a retired amateur stock car racer, an accomplished cat whisperer, and a professional smartass. She writes coming-of-age books about kids in hard luck situations who learn to appreciate their own value after finding mentors who love them for who they are. She enjoys dark chocolate and stout beer and constantly works toward employing wei wu wei in her life, all the while realizing that the struggle itself is an oxymoron. Lisa has no spare time, but if she did she'd use it to tend to her expansive perennial garden, watch medical dramas, take long walks after dark, and teach her cats to play poker. For those of you who might be wondering, she is not, and has never been, a diaper-wearing astronaut. She lives in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her husband, four feline companions, and two giant sequoias. --This text refers to the paperback edition.

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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
173 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on December 4, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on March 21, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on February 5, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on June 24, 2016
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