Clean Getaway

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William, or as he is known to his G'ma, Scoob, has hit bottom.  He's suspended from school, no trip to the islands for spring break and his father is more distant and disapproving than ever.  So, when his G'ma rolls up in her RV and tells him to get in, they're going on a road trip, his suitcase is packed and he is ready to roll.

The RV is amazing and his G'ma is his favorite person in the world.  He'll go anywhere with her and he knows it will be a great time.  And it is ... at least for a while.

G'ma, it turns out, is retracing the stops of a trip through the South.  Her trusted copy of the Green Book is now in the hands of Scoob and they are hopscotching from one RV park to another through the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas .....

The trip is about history.  Scoob is looking at the path of the Civil Rights movement with all its struggles and tragedies at the same time he is witnessing the places where his grandparents stopped on the road trip they took years back.

Odd things start to happen.  G'ma is changing the license plate on the back of the RV.  Scoob hears her at night groaning and moaning and calling out in her sleep.

Bit and pieces of the past are starting to swirl around Scoob and are making him uneasy and anxious.  What's really happening?  Where is G'ma taking him and who is this person he has known all his life?

One part history lesson, one part father/son struggles and one part accepting others at their worst.  This is about a boy who is finding his place in the world that isn't always perfect or accepting of him.

Nic Stone has written a thought-provoking story about accepting the imperfect in ourselves, in the people we love and in the world around us.   This one sneaks up on you and sends you reeling.  What are you willing to accept?

240 pages                                              978-1984892973                           Ages 9-13

Keywords: road trip, acceptance, accepting others, grandmother, multigenerational, prejudice, racism, American history, Green Book, African American, African American author, mistakes, stealing, thief, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, regrets

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge,


From New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone comes a middle-grade road-trip story through American race relations past and present, perfect for fans of Jacqueline Woodson and Jason Reynolds.

How to Go on an Unplanned Road Trip with Your Grandma:   Grab a Suitcase: Prepacked from the big spring break trip that got CANCELLED.   Fasten Your Seatbelt: G'ma's never conventional, so this trip won't be either.   Use the Green Book: G'ma's most treasured possession. It holds history, memories, and most important, the way home.

What Not to Bring:   A Cell Phone: Avoid contact with Dad at all costs. Even when G'ma starts acting stranger than usual.

Set against the backdrop of the segregation history of the American South, take a trip with New York Times bestselling Nic Stone and an eleven-year-old boy who is about to discover that the world hasn't always been a welcoming place for kids like him, and things aren't always what they seem--his G'ma included.


Richie’s Picks: CLEAN GETAWAY by Nic Stone, Crown, January 2020, 240p., ISBN: 978-1-9848-9297-3

“The killer waited by his home hidden by the night

As Evers stepped out of his car into the rifle sight

He slowly squeezed the trigger, the bullet left his side

It struck the heart of every man when Evers fell and died”

-- Phil Ochs and Bob Gibson, “Too Many Martyrs” (1964)

“As he grabbed the drink for G’ma and saw that the fridge was fully stocked, Scoob realized he’d never again play on the old tire swing in G’ma’s backyard or kick back on the old window seat in this, this bizarre truck that contained everything a person needs to live, this thing was now G’ma’s house?


G’ma’s fingers do a tap dance on the steering wheel, pulling him back into the present, and he takes a deep breath and lets his eyes continue to roam around the open space behind him, It’s so weird to him that if he has to pee, all he’s gotta do is walk like fifteen feet to the little bathroom. And it flushes? Where does the stuff even go? It’s not like they’re connected to the sewer. And what about the dirty dish and shower water?

G’ma’s house has one of those old-school bathtubs with the fancy metal feet, and Scoob secretly loved to go in with one or two of the lemon-sized balls G’ma would buy that would fizz up like Alka-Seltzer and turn the bath all kinds of wild colors. Plop! Fizzzzzz...and the water would be blue and kind of shimmery. Like taking a soak in the galaxy.

This RV doesn’t have a tub. So no more galaxy baths.”

William “Scoob” Lamar has been handed a rotten deal: Teachers had repeatedly failed to see the physical bullying of an epileptic student by a football player. Scoob knows the epileptic student--he’s the little brother of the girl Scoob likes. Scoob got himself in major trouble for tackling the football player in the cafeteria after one of the abusive episodes.

Due to this incident, and another, Scoob’s father has him on lockdown. When his grandmother then asks him about going with her on a road trip, he leaves his father a note that he’s off with his grandmother overnight, and leaves his cell phone behind, turned off. G’ma has issues with her son, Scoob’s dad, and she’s only heard about Scoob’s problems from him. She and her grandson are going to have an entire road trip to discuss what is going on with Scoob, this young man who G’ma feels is so much like her late husband.

Scoob’s G’ma is one of the most intriguing and complex old people I’ve met in children’s lit in a while. The more you read of her tale, the more amazing, and memorable this story becomes. The road trip G’ma is bringing Scoob along on retraces a trip she had mapped out in 1968. But she and Scoob’s late G’pop had to miss a lot of the sites that she and Scoob are going to visit. The problem--back in the Sixties--was that she is white and Scoob’s late G’pop was black, just like Scoob is. She and G’pop couldn’t even get married until after a 1967 Supreme Court ruling.

The sites Scoob will get to see as G’ma drives them across the South include the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and Medgar Evers’s house. And G’ma has brought along the same Green Book that she and her late husband used in 1968.

So buckle your seatbelt: This coming of age story is quite an adventure, and features a grandmother you won’t soon forget.

Recommended by: Richie Partington, MLIS

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User reviews

1 review
The star of this excellent story is William “Scoob” Lamar, a biracial, black-presenting 12-year-old boy, son and grandson. It seems he and his beloved grandmother, G’ma, who is white are about to go on an unexpected road trip In the Winnebago she just bought after selling her home. scoob agrees to goes with her to escape a punishment from his father.

Along the way through the South, Scoob learns more about the grandfather he never met. G’ma and grandfather, an interracial couple, made this same trip in 1963, but never completed. Now, G’ma is bound and determined to complete the trip. She has a cell phone and uses it for the first part of the trip but discarded it in a campground saying she didn’t need a phone back then and doesn’t need it now. Therefore there is no communication with Scoob’s very worried father. As they make their way toward Juarez, Mexico, Scoob begins to suspect that G’ma might be up to something more suspicious than recreating a vacation and becomes torn between contacting another adult and protecting his grandmother.

The story takes the reader through pre– and post–civil rights movement America while confronting the country’s difficult past. For example the fact that travel was dangerous for the average black citizen, while raising questions about what has and what hasn’t changed. G’ma has a a Green Book which she brings on the trip.
This is a fun, heartwarming, heart wrenching family-centered adventure. The ending made this reader a bit teary eyed. Ages 8–12
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