“Girls 2 Women,” a feature article by Margot Harrison about modern “Cinderella stories,” including Erik E. Esckilsen’s The Outside Groove that appeared in Seven Days newspaper, Burlington, Vermont — June 27, 2006, issue. Read more of Erik’s pieces in Seven Days.
Seventeen-year-old Casey LaPlante thinks she wants nothing to do with racecar driving, but she begins to tire of the invisibility she feels next to her brother Wade, a stock-car hero. Casey also faces the frustration of not being able to attend the college of her choice and pursue a career as a conservationist because her family pours so much of its money into Wade’s racing. Casey shocks her brother and father when she announces that, with the help of her Uncle Harvey, she is going to be the first female driver at the Demon’s Run racetrack. Racing puts Casey on a full course of self-discovery, in which she realizes important things about herself and her family. Strong descriptions of racing action and the well-integrated story of Casey’s own internal conflicts make for both an entertaining and interesting read that helps fill the void of good sports fiction with girl protagonists.
—Ed Sullivan, Booklist
Recommendation: Grades 7-10
…Even with exciting racing passages, the focus is on Casey and her family dynamics…. [E]ither gender will find a story with good sports activity along with hidden family hostility, revelation, and self-understanding.
—Jane Van Wiemokly, VOYA
…It’s a vintage plot, but Esckilsen customizes it with a sliver of romance, a touch of family mystery, and a likable narrator that lends plenty of appeal. Prop this one up right under the new ALA Dania Patrick READ poster.
—EB, The Bulletin
Recommendation: Grades 6-9