Hit the Ground Running

Fueled by beef jerky and Skittles, 16-year-old Dee and her seven-year-old brother, Eddie, set off on a road trip from Arizona to Canada to track down some family. Their mother died years earlier and their freespirited--though depressed--father has been missing for six weeks. He's disappeared before on antique-hunting expeditions, but never for so long, and social service agencies are starting to sniff around. Desperate, Dee, who doesn't have a driver's license, decides to get out of town, framing it as a fun adventure to her younger brother. On the edge of hysteria as she loads up the car, Dee finds herself packing an aloe plant she calls Vera and Eddie's various nature collections alongside necessities: "Let's see--a plant, lots of dead bugs, rocks, snake skin... yeah, I think we've got it all. We're all good for this psycho-family road trip."

Anyone who has ever felt alone and overwhelmed knows what Dee means when she gazes up at a condor soaring over the Grand Canyon and thinks, "That bird, with a brain probably the size of a peanut, is exactly, precisely everything I'm not. I'm incompetent. I'm afraid. I'm scared to get back in that car, scared of the highway, scared of the coming night...." But readers will cheer her bravery, loving integrity and competence as she and her brother Hit the Ground Running. Alison Hughes (Poser; Kings of the Court; Lost in the Backyard) weaves a touching, thrilling and wryly funny story of an "anchorless family" seeking a safe home port. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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