Lana and Cassie have met only once before, at the wedding of Lana’s Grandpa Howe and Cassie’s Grandma Tess two months ago. They didn’t exactly hit it off—in fact, depending on who you ask, that first meeting was either an embarrassment or a disaster—but they’re about to spend an entire week together, just the two of them and their honeymooning grandparents, road-tripping in Cassie’s grandmother’s Subaru.
Lana thinks a summer road trip sounds like fun, but the backseat is a crowded place for two tween girls with two huge secrets to hide, and this bumpy road to friendship is full of unexpected twists and turns. Like it or not, they’re in this together, full speed ahead on the adventure of a lifetime.
Title: Drive Me Crazy
Author: Terra Elan McVoy
Publication date: April 28, 2015
I received an ARC of Drive Me Crazy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
When Lana’s grandfather marries Cassie’s grandmother, the newlyweds decide to take their granddaughters on a cross-country road trip. They barely know each other but Lana hopes the two girls will become good friends. Cassie is outgoing and popular, while Lana is more reserved and has just one close friend. Although the girls don’t live in the same town or attend the same school (and therefore Cassie’s popularity can’t help Lana socially), in a way Lana looks up to Cassie. Unfortunately, Lana soon learns that Cassie doesn’t feel the same way. Cassie’s more interested in keeping in touch with her friends back home and trying desperately to cling to her place in the popular group than she is in spending her summer with Lana.
Cassie’s pretty hard to like. She seems so shallow and distant when Lana only wants to be her friend. Cassie is determined not to have a good time on the trip. She sees herself as much cooler than Lana and doesn’t want to get to know her better. At the same time, Cassie never wanted to go on the trip in the first place, and time away from friends at that age is hard. It’s not the end of the world, but it can seem like it.
Lana is a much more sympathetic character right from the start. All she wants is a friend but what she gets is sullen Cassie, who wants nothing to do with her. She’s also dealing with some things at home and could really use the distraction of the trip and a new friend. Her mother is clearly very ill, but her parents don’t explain anything to her, instead sending her off on the trip and pretending nothing is wrong. Cassie’s social “problems” are nothing in comparison, which makes it even harder to see things from Cassie’s perspective.
In the end, though, it all works out. Cassie isn’t a monster, just a middle school girl dealing with the things middle school girls face. Sometimes kids get told what they’re going to do and are expected to suck it up. It happens to adults too, but most of us have the maturity to handle it and get through it. Cassie doesn’t have that yet, but the trip is an opportunity for her to grow, and hopefully she will look back on it fondly in later years.
The grandparents are my favorite characters. The focus isn’t on them, of course, but they seem like such fun people and it’s really sweet of them to take their granddaughters along on their honeymoon. I feel bad for her grandmother that Cassie is such a pill the whole time. It must hurt her a lot.
Drive Me Crazy is a quick middle grade read dealing with friendship and blended (extended) families. The road trip aspect adds a fun element, with all the unique places they stop along the way.