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Saturday Night Dirt Hardcover – April 1, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Motor Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“If you have a young car-racing fan in your family, this book is the perfect summer reading choice: It’s a face-paced story about a struggling speedway in northern Michigan and features a great cast of characters, all car-obsessed teens. Great for boys and girls.” —Good Morning America

“For rugged reality, pick up Saturday Night Dirt by Will Weaver, a high-energy story about cars and small-town racing.” —Parade magazine

“In small-town Northern Minnesota, the place to be on Saturday night is Headwaters Speedway, a dirt racetrack. Local teens gather to race, work on the pit crew, watch the action . . .  Lots of car talk and racing, some rivalries and a bit of romance keep the pace fast and enjoyable, even for non-race fans.” —The Providence Journal

“Weaver fleshes each [character] out enough to leave a lasting impression on readers and make them curious to know what happens next.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Thoroughly enjoyable...this book presents a fascinating look at small-time racing where the love of it gives the glitz of NASCAR its roots.” —School Library Journal
 
“Compelling...It is the atmosphere of the track that is the real star here.Young racing fans, particularly those familiar with the small tracks that dot rural parts of the country, will find much that rings true.” —Booklist
 
“Librarians need to steer boys who tinker with internal combustion engines to Weaver's latest work. Short chapters and a brisk pace...may attract those reluctant readers who can recite the firing order of a V-8 and know how to tighten down a valve cover.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“The racing lingo moves the story along, while the reader's interest remains piqued wondering how all the characters will fit together, who will end up with whom, and who will win their heart's desire. This book is a winner in a sports event rarely dealt with by young adult authors.” —VOYA
 
“I was pleasantly surprised when I began reading Saturday Night Dirt. I was completely absorbed. I really felt like I could identify with the characters. I read the book in one day. It was impossible to put down.” —Ben, 17
 
“The book Saturday Night Dirt has been one of the best books I've read.” —Hannah, 13
 
“I loved the book Saturday Night Dirt. Anyone who reads this book will change the way they look at dirt tracks forever.”—Bethany, 13
 
“Saturday Night Dirt is a great book. I have never been a big racing fan, but even so, this was an awesome book. I can't wait for the next one.” —Kyle, 14

About the Author

Author of Red Earth, White Earth and A Gravestone Made of Wheat, Will Weaver grew up in northern Minnesota on a dairy farm. The sometimes harsh and beautiful landscape of farm and small town life figures strongly in his writing. Sweet Land, an independent feature film adaptation of his story “Gravestone Made of Wheat”, and starring Ned Beatty, premiered in October of 2006.

Weaver is also known for his young adult fiction. His character Billy Baggs, a teenage farm boy baseball phenom, earned his way into the hearts of teen readers in the series Striking Out, Farm Team, and Hard Ball. Each novel has won numerous awards, including being named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Memory Boy, a post-apocalyptic novel based on environmental collapse, is used across the curriculum in many junior and senior high schools.

Claws, a novel set in northeastern Minnesota­ (Duluth and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness) features outdoor survival with a strong family back story. Weaver’s Full Service won starred reviews (Kirkus Reviews and The Horn Book) for its focus on a young man struggling with matters of religious faith and doubt, all complicated by his first “real” summer job, at a gas station, where he “meets the public” in all its variety. Defect, a novel about a teenager born with a miraculous birth abnormality, highlights what one reviewer from The St. Paul Pioneer Press called “the humanity and decency that runs through all of Weaver’s work.”.

As an author, Mr. Weaver is particularly concerned with youth literacy and keeping kids reading. His new MOTOR series addresses a group of underserved young adult readers: kids who love cars. His new novel Saturday Night Dirt and its sequel, Super Stock Rookie, focus on dirt track stock car racing. The series starts with a close focus on a small town speedway and the cast of colorful characters who come there to race on Saturday nights. One of the characters, sixteen-year-old Trace Bonham, is a natural driver with dreams of racing professionally. The MOTOR series follows Trace’s on his path toward getting a “ride” (a sponsored race car) and competing at the highest level he can. While these auto racing novels will certainly appeal to boys, Weaver’s novels always contain a diverse cast of characters. Auto racing is one of the few sports that gives no gender advantage, and the MOTOR series also includes a positive and realistic portrayal of young women involved in racing.

Along with the MOTOR series of novels, Weaver has formed a stock car racing team with a teenaged driver. His black No. 16 Modified race car, co-sponsored by Farrar, Straus & Giroux publishers, is driven by Skyler Smith of Bemidji. Team Weaver races in the WISSOTA circuit in the upper Midwest.

An avid outdoorsman, Will Weaver lives with his wife on the Mississippi River in northern Minnesota.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Series: AWARDS: Maud Hart Lovelace Book Awards 2010-2011 Grades 6-8
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374350604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374350604
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,101,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It's not NASCAR or the Indy 500. It is small town, dirt track racing. There's dust in the air, and colorful characters racing their cars around the track. There's plenty of competition, an intense desire to win, and enough mystery and intrigue to keep even non-racing fans on the edge of their seats.

SATURDAY NIGHT DIRT is set at Headwaters Speedway in Minnesota. Mel Walters and her father, Johnny Walters, are struggling to keep their little race track in business. Johnny, once a driver himself, is now confined to a wheelchair after a tragic accident years ago. Mel's mother needed only a few short weeks to determine she couldn't stay married to a man in a wheelchair, so Mel and her dad have been on their own for quite some time.

Still in high school, Mel acts as track manager, and she is probably the sole reason for the track's continued success. The story begins and ends on one Saturday. Because of Mel's drive and determination, it's a Saturday that makes history for the track and just might breathe some new life into it.

Other members of the cast of characters include several young racers like Trace, Amber, and Beau hoping to make their mark in racing. There's Patrick, who handles parking and sings the national anthem before the night's racing begins. Maurice is a retired navy man who handles the signal flags like a pro. There are also the down-and-out racers like Sonny from the local reservation who lack the funds to really be taken seriously by the other competitors. Even the ever present threat of bad weather becomes a player in the non-stop action at the track. Each plays a part in the Saturday night excitement and helps make the story a real page-turner.

SATURDAY NIGHT DIRT is billed on the cover as "A Motor Novel.
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Format: Hardcover
Auto racing is the number one spectator sport in this country not because of NASCAR or Indy, but because of the hundreds of short tracks that run weekly programs from Pennsylvannia to Kansas to California. The drivers are hometown heroes -- the guy or girl who bags your groceries, runs the auto body shop, sits next to you at school. From the pits to the popcorn seller, the ensemble cast in this young adult novel is spot on accurate and real. Crashes, intrigue, romance -- a good story and no better way to get young people, even "motorheads," to read!

Marsh Muirhead - author of "Key West Explained - a guide for the traveler
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Format: Paperback
Dirt track racing. It's the one thing keeping this community together, but yet, apart. Headwaters Speedway is the place to be, but some haven't seen gloomier days.
With weeks of rainouts and scarce employees, Mel Walters and her father Johnny are financially tight and on the brink of foreclosure. Adding on to the problems, Johnny was recently involved in a car wreck, keeping him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Soon after, Mel's mother deserted them because she couldn't deal with having a crippled husband.
With the help of Trace Bonham, a smooth-talking clever young man, and some former racing champs like Cal Hopkins, there is still hope to be found. With this hope and some unexpected help, mysteries will unfold and emotions are tossed.
With Sonny, a great racer in desperate need of respect, and Tudy, a young woman wishing for a new start, this book is action packed as well.
Colorful characters like Amber, a competitive yet caring racer, the former Navy officer, Maurice, as the flagman, and the superstitious Beau make this book thoroughly enjoyable to read. Futures will be determined on this sacred dirt track, and every speck of dust holds some magic of its own. These characters are very well written and they fit together perfectly, or maybe it's the fact that they clash that's so perfect.
Full of unexpected love, and fights breaking out, it's hard to determine if tranquility can be found once again in this peaceful town, but with some dynamic events, you can be the judge. With family and crew tensions at an all-time high and deceitful people in the shadows, just maybe they can pull through. The suspense is real and the wait is worth it.
After getting caught up in all of these elements, this book can't be put down. If you are a race fan - or just someone who wants to read a wholesome book - this book is for you. So pick yourself up a copy and unravel some mysteries for yourself, you won't be disappointed; I know I wasn't.
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Format: Paperback
Purchased as a gift for a grandson who is very into machines, especially cars and motorcycles. An excellent book by an excellent author!
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