Todd & Jedd Hafer
Think (NavPress), Aug 2006, $12.99
In Kansas, eighteen years old Griffin Smith has just graduated from high school. He looks forward to going away from home where his parents divorced and new relationships in two states have left him confused. His mom married Max the “Mediocre” author while his father is engaged to Rhonda the Cliché a woman closer in age to Griffin than his dad. Griffin plans to fly to Lewis College in Southern California to meet his pen pal Carrot (who he prays is the female of his dreams) and his running teammates.
Dad has other ideas. He decides father and son need to re-bond like they did before the extended family soap opera so he insists on a road trip. However, before Griffin can object, his father includes Rhonda so she too can bond with his son. Also on the drive are Griffin’s five years old brother Colby (a partial bond project for dad and fiancée as he is to be dumped in Topeka at his aunt’s house) and Griffin’s best friend Cole; one stop is to see mom for more bonding.
Griffin knew as soon as the Cliché suggested the road trop that it was a BAD IDEA. However, he soon learns five key life lessons that will stay with him forever so he reassesses the road trip as still being a bad idea worth doing (except for the dead coyote biting him). Readers will enjoy his teen lit commentaries on extended families divided all over the country, going to college, and prayer as he learns through some hallowing experiences what grace under fire truly means. This is a well written at time amusing yet always serious young adult inspirational tale, starring a sensitive high school grad trying to experience the world.