author’s website: Patrick Jones
release date: July 27, 2007
appeals to: older Young Adult readers
genre: contemporary fiction
length: 304 pages
overall rating: 4.5 stars
*the inside flap*
Christy loves to stand on the highway overpass, watching the tail lights of traveling cars and imagining where they could take her. Her father used to tell her that whenever he got lost, he’d chase the lights of the car in front of him and they’d always lead him home. But since her father died, home is the last place Christy wants to be. Instead of providing a haven from a troubled city, her family suffers from its own form of urban decay, blighted by alcoholism, violence, and despair.
Christy’s always searching for someone – a guy, a friend, a stranger – to lead her anywhere, as long as it’s out of Flint, Michigan. But until she realizes she’s looking for that beacon of light in all the wrong places, she’s going to stay stuck on the bad side of the tracks in this dead-end town.
This book truly captures the raw reality of Christy’s life, and while that life isn’t beautiful, the story is beautifully written!
Christy has lived her life on the wrong side of the tracks. She has one brother in jail, one on the way, and one (amazingly) trying to get out. Her mother seems pretty useless as a mom, except to Ryan (the favorite child, but least favorite sibling). Then, there is Anne – Christy’s best friend and total opposite. Anne is the rich girl rebelling against her parents, but she isn’t really as “bad” as she wants to appear.
Alternating current chapters with flashback chapters helps to paint a picture of Christy’s life and it really helps you to understand her past. The theme of “chasing tail lights” continues throughout the book as a metaphor for escaping reality, and once you realize what Christy’s reality contains, escaping it seems like quite a good idea. This book covers difficult topics in a way that doesn’t sugar coat them, but at the same time, nothing is too graphically described.
I’d recommend this in a minute, but with the warning that there is some content that is more appropriate for older audiences.
*short and snappy*
writing: raw – Jones captures the essence each character
plot: dark – Christy has to go through some dark times even when she’s experiencing good things
characters: deep – Jones really captures the essence of each character through descriptions, memories, and conversations
judging by the cover: an interesting cover - it ties directly to the title & that theme is woven throughout the story
miscellaneous: This website has information just about Chasing Tail Lights, and there is a great FAQ available here that answers questions specifically about Chasing Tail Lights and about writing in general.
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