Drive By by Jim Carrington

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Drive By by Jim Carrington

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: What would you do if you thought you had killed someone? Own up? Run away? Would you feel guilty? Jim Carrington explores the consequences of one impulsive act with devastating consquences in a genuinely absorbing, thought-provoking novel.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: March 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1408822784

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It's hot. Johnny and his friends tire of the park and ride their bikes to the local shop for an ice cream. Sitting outside in her husband's car is the Poisoned Dwarf, the miserable old lady who burst their football when it landed in her garden. Armed with water soakers, the boys just can't resist. But this "drive-by soaking" has catastrophic consequences. The Poisoned Dwarf has a heart attack and is carted off in an ambulance. And a few days later, she dies. Johnny is overwhelmed with remorse but is too afraid to come forwards. But are the weird things that start happening - waking up at the same time every night, a feeling of being watched - just tricks played by a guilty conscience? Or is the Poisoned Dwarf haunting him?

With her mother at work all day and her sister away at uni, Summer is feeling lonely. Her thoughts increasingly turn to her father, who died when she was just a baby. What was he like? Why does no-one ever talk about his death? Is there something she hasn't been told? Summer is determined to discover the truth, but she isn't going to like everything she finds.

Johnny and Summer meet on the bus and are instantly attracted to one another. But with so much else going on in their lives and a connection neither of them know about, how will it all end?

What would you do if you thought you had killed someone? Own up? Run away? Lose the plot? It's a frightening question and one Jim Carrington explores with great insight in this genuinely absorbing novel. Told in alternate chapters by Johnny and Summer, this is a story of taking responsibility for your actions, no matter how unintended their consequences were. It's also about leaving the past behind and how this is really only possible if you understand it.

I like Carrington's books. They're quite easy to read with a first person narration and a direct style. But they are very thoughtful and capture teen issues perfectly. His characters are well-rounded and immediately recognisable with faults and virtues readers will see in themselves. I felt sorry for both Johnny and Summer - both good kids at heart - and hoped all the way through that things would work out for them in the end. If you want to see if they did, read the book.

You might also enjoy In the Bag, also by Jim Carrington, which also deals with rapidly-multiplying consequences flowing from one impulsive act. Quarry by Ally Kennen takes one impulsive decision and builds a thriller from it.

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Buy Drive By by Jim Carrington at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Drive By by Jim Carrington at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Drive By by Jim Carrington at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Drive By by Jim Carrington at


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