Book/Author: Greyhound by Steffan Piper
Publisher/Year: AmazonEncore, 2010
Where I got this: bought from Amazon
Why I read it: I love road trip stories and I heard this was a good one.
Rating: 4 stars
Summary (from Goodreads): Ushered out from his Stockton, California home by his emotionally detached mother and her latest boyfriend, twelve-year-old Sebastien Ranes must fend for himself and travel two thousand miles across the country. He is on his way to live with his grandmother and sister in Pennsylvania. Along the way, he will learn that sometimes caring, guidance and understanding can come from some unlikely people.
Marcus, a fellow bus passenger, is a man who has been neglected more by society than his family. As a young black ex-con, he is not the epitome of the person most would pick as a chaperone for their child's cross country trip. Yet rather than be held apart by their differences, Marcus and Sebastien are drawn together by the things that make us all alike.
Along the way, he acts as both guide and protector, as Virgil was to Dante and Jim to Huck Finn. Imparting his own style of wisdom, he shows Sebastien that, despite the darker parts of the human condition, people can and do care for one another. This is a modern day journey not just from one house to another. This is a journey taken by a young boy into manhood, and by the reader into his world. Like every trip, there are many stops along the way. But this journey differs in the way young Sebastien arrives at his destination. Greyhound is the story of this journey.
My thoughts: I love reading about cross country road trips so when I heard about Greyhound, I was definitely interested in giving it a try. Then when I saw the book design featured an old cassette tape, I just knew I was going to love this. Sebastien Ranes was such a loveable leading character which made it all the more enjoyable to read his story. A day before his 12th birthday, his mother puts him on a bus to travel from California to Pennsylvania all by himself. Throughout the four days of his trip, Sebastien encounters more excitement and drama than many people do in a lifetime and also manages to do a lot of growing up in such a short amount of time.
Along the way, he befriends the ex-con Marcus, who takes Sebastien under his wing for the remainder of the trip and actually saves his life at one point. The adventures these two men have kept me on the edge of my seat and had me laughing out loud quite a few times. They may have been an unlikely pair but I thought the friendship they developed was so cute. I admired the way Marcus looked after Sebastien and let him in on some of life's little secrets. It was touching and sad thinking that this was the most genuine friendship Sebastien had ever had. For someone who came from such terrible parents, he was amazingly level headed and curious. If Sebastien's story had continued, I could definitely see him doing some wonderful things with his life.
In Greyhound, Piper did a great job of eliciting emotion from the reader. One minute I was so angry about the way Sebastien's mother treated him, the next I was disgusted by the creepy guy in the suit and then right after that I was oohing and ahhing at how adorable Sebastien was. I felt as though I was occupying the third seat in the back of that bus, right next to Sebastien and Marcus. I found myself very protective of him as well. Anytime there was a hint of danger, my senses were heightened, like I knew something bad was coming but I had the ability to keep him safe.
This was a nice change of pace from what I've been reading lately and I would highly recommend it to anyone who needs a quick fix for their wanderlust!