Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

Main Page
Author List
Title List
New This Month
Interest Level
Subject List
Booktalking Tips
Book Review Sources
Reading lists
Nancy Keane's Children's Website
Trueman, Terry.
New York : HarperTempest, 2004.
ISBN 0066239613

(2 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews


Booktalk #1

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.

Booktalk #2

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)

SUBJECTS:    Brothers -- Fiction.
                       Cerebral palsy -- Fiction.
                       People with disabilities -- Fiction.
                       Anger -- Fiction.
                       Fathers and sons -- Fiction.
                       Basketball -- Fiction.


Permission is granted for the noncommercial duplication and use of this resource, provided it is substantially unchanged from its present form and appropriate credit is given.