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About The Book

While bullies are beating up Charlie, his ex–bestfriend Jake pulls up in a bright red ’67 Mustang—the principal’s car—and tells him to get in. It’s a choice between a broken nose and the risk of a lifetime, and Charlie, a self-described straight-A student and grade-A geek, decides to take a chance. Now the two teens are on a mission to find Charlie’s absent father and avoid arrest for car theft. An eventful journey puts Charlie in the middle of a court case 1,000 miles from home. And in the courtroom, he will have to make the ultimate choice of his life.

About The Author

Photograph © Heidi Carter

Scott William Carter is the author of Wooden Bones and The Last Great Getaway of the Water Balloon Boys, which was hailed by Publishers Weekly as a “touching and impressive debut.” His short stories have appeared in dozens of popular magazines and anthologies, including Analog, Ellery Queen, Realms of Fantasy, and Weird Tales. He lives in Oregon with his wife and two children. Visit him at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (April 27, 2010)
  • Length: 208 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781416982500
  • Grades: 7 and up
  • Ages: 12 - 99
  • Lexile ® 780 The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

"In his touching and impressive debut novel, Carter tells the story of two teenagers coping with the fallout of broken families...Jake and Charlie come across as believable characters with interesting stories to tell."--Publishers Weekly

"Well-developed characters and twists and turns along the way reveal the complexity of friendship, the redemptive power of second chances, the importance of looking past preconceived notions, and the lasting effects of choices (major and “insignificant” alike) and the responsibility one takes for them. This is a good choice for reluctant readers."--School Library Journal

"There is surprising nuance in the shades of gray behind the good-kid/bad-kid duality that has pigeonholed Charlie and Jake...readers [will] appreciate the laugh-out-loud moments and the insights into the teen-guy sensibility, its camaraderie, and its codes of honor."--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Awards and Honors

  • Oregon Book Award Finalist

Resources and Downloads

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