Sometimes you pick up a book and meet the characters and you want to live near them, know them and make friends with them. That's exactly how I felt about Dewey and VInce Mariss. In the Mariss family Dad drives a truck and Mom has gone on the road with him leaving behind Lil the eldest, Dewey and Vince, teens, and the five year old twins. Fuel has become in incredibly short supply and Dad doesn't have enough gas to get home. The kids are left to manage on their own. As cars become useless, bikes become important. The stores begin to have "black holes" on their shelves and the Mariss family bike repair business starts to boom. Everyone's plans for the summer have had to change. So, there's the plot line. Now, the magic in this book is in the characters and their approach to life. Dad has a list of Eight Rules that can see you through any repair job. Dewey is determined to take on all the work he can. Vince is people phobic. Lil is taking on all the responsibility of being the parent and to make up for the disappointment of the fuel shortage cancelling her art class, she's creating a mural on the wall of the barn. Various wonderful human beings with a real zest for life wheel in and out of the story line and even when it appears there is a thief in their midst, the positive energy and sense of the world being a good place just beam out of the pages. It's a fascinating contrast between the possibility of not having that basic commodity that makes our society run and the resources that people have in themselves or can create around them. Thoroughly enjoyed it the humor and the warmth. 336 pages
Katherine Tegen Books, Harper Collins, 2010
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