Thursday, October 21, 2010

I had the privilege to meet Terry Trueman today, author of Stuck in Neutral and Cruise Control, among others. He's a straight-talking, down-to-earth author of books that get in your brain and stick there for days. His are stories that, months later, will come back as clear as if you just read them an hour earlier. And they will haunt you.

Truly, I mean that. Haunt you. I read Stuck in Neutral several years ago and have found it pops into my head at odd times in stray thoughts that drive me to distraction. I re-read it not once, but two times in September. I didn't count it in my "books read this year" because I'd read it before. And I'd have to count it twice since I read it out loud to two separate groups of students who became as entranced as me -- and who are equally as haunted by it.

Or by the ending, rather. You see, the story's told in first person from Shawn McDaniel's point of view. He's a fourteen-year-old kid who, to the outside world, is a non-functioning, drooling, noise-making mental vegetable with cerebral palsy. Inside, however, his brain functions quite well -- to the point where the reader might consider his talents bordering on true genius. There's only one problem: Shawn thinks his dad is planning to kill him, and because of the CP, Shawn can do absolutely nothing to stop him.

If you haven't read so. Stuck in Neutral is an incredible book and I guarantee, you will never look at a disabled, wheelchair-bound person the same way again. Cruise Control is the same story from his brother Paul's point of view and the two books work together beautifully as companion stories. Since I just read Cruise Control last month, I am counting that one in my tally! :)

I should tell you these books are sometimes shelved in the Young Adult sections of bookstores and libraries, but I assure you, there is nothing young adult about them. These are hard-hitting stories that pull no punches. You won't be sorry you read them.

Terry, it was great to meet you and I look forward to your next books!

Play safe,

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