Friday, December 29, 2006

Review: See You Down The Road by Kim Ablon Whitney

Review: See You Down The Road by Kim Ablon Whitney

Bridget and her family are Travelers. They’re a little-known group of people in America who travel around the country, making money in usually illegal ways, and keep to themselves, with their own traditions and way of life. People who aren’t Travelers are called Country, and Travelers usually isolate themselves from these people. They don’t trust them, and only interact with them to scam money off of them. Travelers only go to Country schools for a few years, just long enough to know what they need to.

Bridget is a little different from many Travelers in that way. She works Country jobs, as a cashier, and she’s been going to Country schools years longer than most other Traveler teenagers. Still, though, she keeps to the Traveler was most of the time. She and her friend Ann make their money by ripping off the local Kmart in whatever town they’re in. Her parents have arranged a marriage for her, with Ann’s brother Patrick. Her brother, Jimmy, has grown up helping their father fix driveways and roofs with watered-down sealant to make a better profit by scamming Country people.

Bridget doesn’t always like her life as a Traveler, but she doesn’t see a way out of it. She isn’t sure she wants to marry Patrick, even though he’s a nice guy and she does like him, but she’s never see any way out of it. Then, her uncle, Big Jim, takes Bridget, Jimmy, and Patrick with him all the way to Arizona, where they’ll pull off the biggest scam that Bridget’s ever been involved in. They’ll sell condos that don’t meet the building codes, and then run off with the money. The beauty of it is, the contractor won’t dare tell on them, as he’s the one who hired them to sell condos that don’t meet building codes.

In Arizona, Bridget has some time to think about a lot of things, maybe even figure out what she wants. But then she makes another discovery about her family, one that could change everything for Bridget…The choice is hers, but what will she decide?

Before reading SEE YOU DOWN THE ROAD, I had never heard of Travelers. I don’t think many people have, but they’re real people, and reading about them was very interesting. Their way of life is very different from the way most of us live, and this is an eye-opening book. Many of us don’t realize how differently some people live from us, not just in far away places but right here in the United States.

On top of that, SEE YOU DOWN THE ROAD is full of amazing characters, and is very well written. All of the characters are well drawn, realistic, and three-dimensional; even the very minor characters seem alive. The ending is not what we might expect from this sort of book, but it fits well, and is one that I really liked. It wasn’t predictable, and it was still a happy ending. In that way, it reminded me of the ending of POP! (though the two stories have little in common…although Bridget and Marit reminded me a little of each other at times), except Kim Ablon Whitney pulled it off better than Aury Wallington was able to. Whitney’s ending, I felt, stayed true to the story and characters, and flowed with the rest of the story wonderfully.

Rating: 10/10

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