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Paul is an all around great
guy. He's a great student. A great athlete. A great brother.
But he sometimes finds it hard to be a great brother. You see, his
brother is a veg. A lump in a wheelchair, drooling, incoherent veg.
Paul won't let anyone else call Shawn that but he can. He really
does love his brother but it is really hard to love someone like that.
And that makes him very angry. Paul has a terrible temper.
He gets into fights for no reason. Someday he will surely go too
far and hurt someone seriously. He is mostly angry at his father
for leaving the family when the going got tough. Now he makes a living
writing about Shawn and how hard it is to live with someone who is severly
disabled. How would he know? He is never around. A companion
to Trueman's earlier novel, Stuck in Neutral, this book is Paul's story.
Have you ever thought about
how impossible it might be to love someone with no idea if they love you
back, can feel your love, or even care that you love them? Cruise Control
is a dramatic new novel written by Terry Trueman about the trials and tribulations
with this very type of love. Paul, the main character, is a rising basketball
star in high school. His brother, Shawn, has cerebral palsy and doesn't
speak or acknowledge his family or surroundings. Paul’s dad has left the
family and now Paul is faced with the challenge of trying to hold everyone
together, while still maintaining his “normalcy” as a gifted teenage boy.
The book is set in a small town and involves the lives of Paul’s dynamic
family and their struggles. Paul is a very talented basketball player and
seems to take his frustrations with his family to the court.
Fueled by rage at what has
happened to his family, Paul is ready to explode. And he is haunted by
something even worse -- something he can never tell anyone. While Cruise
Control is a companion to Terry Trueman's book, Stuck in Neutral, it is
the completely independent story of a family's "other" son -- the one who
is healthy, gifted, and normal. This book would be a great read for upper
middle grades students who have struggled with the role of taking care
of their family while trying to experience things a typical teenager would.
Cruise Control would be an obvious choice for sports fans as well, as there
are many scenes about basketball and the connections that Paul makes between
the sport, his family life, and the absence of his father as a role model.
I would recommend this book to all young adults as it is truly a book about
real choices we are forced to make in our lives. A book about the ultimate
selfless act, Cruise Control should be on the top of your reading list
this year. I will leave you with a quote from Paul about his views on taking
care of Shawn:
“I'm trapped here taking care
of everyone, trying to protect everyone, especially my brother. All of
us give our lives away, everyday, for Shawn. All of us except my dad.”
Would YOU have the courage
to give your life away for someone you loved? (Alyse C. Tait,
Appalachian State University)