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YA Review: American Road Trip by Patrick Flores-Scott

Title: American Road Trip
Author: Patrick Flores-Scott
Year Published: 2018

Genre: YA fiction 
Pages: 323
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2019 Google Reading map)USA (WA, NM)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): With a strong family, the best friend a guy could ask for, and a budding romance with the girl of his dreams, life shows promise for Teodoro "T" Avila. But he takes some hard hits the summer before his senior year when hsi nearly perfect brother, Manny, returns from a tour in Iraq with a devastating case of PTSD. In a desperate effort to save Manny from himself and pull their family back together, T's fiery sister, Xochitl, hoodwinks her brothers into a cathartic road trip.

Review: This novel had me by the end of the first chapter, which ends on page 8. We already know that Teodoro's family has fallen on difficult times, his brother is fighting in Iraq, his sister rocks, and his parents fight. Oh, and he has a best friend with whom he plays video games. Great set up.

It's an inspiring story as T begins to work toward college and gets his act together academically. He begins to believe in himself as well as wanting to do it for his parents. It is also sad to see how easily he can be derailed from these dreams and makes me think of many of our students who have goals--whatever they may be--but get distracted by life's obstacles.

Manny is a pivotal character as he returns from Iraq a disturbed man. He tries to get past the PTSD, but it seems to be there, boiling beneath the surface, at all times. Flores-Scott did a great job of showing how each family member deals with it differently: some by rallying round and others by distancing themselves. This storyline feels very real and raw.

There is so much to praise in this book. The characters are real, the story is both harrowing and lovely, the relationships made me cry and smile. Flores-Scott brings PTSD front and center, showing how it can be overcome with a lot of work and time and understanding.

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