Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Guest Blogger- Jeffrey Taccetta

Publisher: Harper Collins, 2001


       Hello all!! My name is Jeffrey Taccetta and I am currently a Graduate student in the Literacy Education Program at Nazareth College of Rochester. I am an avid reader that constantly looks for that new book to pick up and delve into. I recently read Terry Trueman’s novel Stuck in Neutral for an assignment in my Young Adult Literature class and really enjoyed it. Upon finishing the book, I told myself that I had to read the next book, Cruise Control to find out how the rest of the story unfolded. I really enjoy reading Young Adult Literature because of the way the genre opens your eyes as a reader to understanding how challenging and rewarding life can be for a young adult. In my future career as an educator, I plan on using and implementing more and more young adult literature novels into my curriculum because I believe there is a Young Adult Novel waiting for every student in every class, waiting to be read and enjoyed. 

 "I watch his chest rise. It's as though he is lifting himself up one last time. A final stand? I see the pillow in his lap. He pauses and takes a deep, slow breath. Has it all come down to this?"
                                              -Stuck in Neutral

These quotes have been cemented in my brain, just as they are now a fixture to this blog. I feverishly finished Terry Trueman’s Stuck in Neutral and needed more than what was offered (Thanks, Mr. Trueman). Fortunately, my voracious appetite would be soothed by the companion book (not the sequel) Cruise Control.
*Monroe County Library link for Stuck in Neutral- http://classic.libraryweb.org/carlweb/jsp/FullRecord?databaseID=720&record=5&controlNumber=869758

For those of you that have not read Stuck in Neutral, the story of Shawn, I highly suggest reading this incredible perspective of a young man that has a severe brain condition, cerebral palsy, which leaves him without any muscle movement or ability to communicate. The ending will leave you wondering, and Cruise Control has been tasked with satisfying you, or so I thought.

      I really enjoyed reading Stuck in Neutral, so when I started the second book I naturally anticipated it to be a good read. Cruise Control follows the same storyline but throws a curve ball and puts the reader in the point of view of Shawn’s brother, Paul, the high school senior that happens to be the best athlete in his neck of the woods. Paul’s perspective will open your eyes, grip your heart, and inspire you as he tells you about his struggle as the stud basketball player and the brother of a disabled younger sibling. Not only does Paul battle with himself, he also has to deal with his father, who he refers to as “a piece of butt fluff named Sydney McDaniel.” As you may be able to tell from this lovely introduction, Paul hates his father for leaving the family years back. By the way, silly of me to forget to mention the “anger management problem” Paul has. In order to find out how this volatile concoction will blend, you will have to pick up a copy of Terry Trueman’s Cruise Control.

      I have to be honest, I was hoping for more from this book. Maybe I ask too much of the books I read and this is just another example of that. My original hope was that Cruise Control would pick up where Stuck in Neutral left off, but it tells the same story, only through the eyes of another character. Although, I did enjoy reading the novel and appreciated reading the same story from two different character’s perspectives. Having admitted this, it is important that I recommend reading Stuck in Neutral, Cruise Control, and the actual sequel, Life Happens Next to maximize your enjoyment of this incredible tale of family and the sacrifices we make for it.

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