Monday, July 10, 2006
Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick
Laugh-out-loud humor will draw readers into this second novel by eighth grade English teacher Jordan Sonnenblick. The story is simple--16-year-old Alex, angry at his divorced parents, gets drunk and crashes into a neighbor's yard, decapitating a lawn gnome. The judge sentences him to 100 hours of community service, which he serves as a companion to an elderly man in a nursing home. As Alex develops a relationship with Sol, the threads of the plot come together and it is clear why the teen and the older man were placed together. The brilliance of this book is in the characters. Alex, a self-centered but likeable teenager who needs to take responsibility for his actions, and Sol, the cantankerous and sly old man with the wisdom of Solomon and a life story that needs to be told. Throw these characters together with jazz music, a strong friendship, a budding high school romance, and divorced parents who are dating each other, and you have an engaging story with a poignant resolution. Highly recommended for middle school readers.