The Beetle and Me: A Love Story

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9780380732951: The Beetle and Me: A Love Story

Fifteen-year-old Daisy Pandolfi wants more than anything to rebuild her parents '57 Volkswagon Beetle. For Daisy the Beetle has always been special, almost magical. It must run again, and it will be her very own set of wheels if it does. But she's determined to fix the Beetle herself, with no assistance from concerned family or friends who recognize that Daisy's got a lot more invested in her project than elbow grease and midnight oil. And then there's Billy. He wants to help, but should Daisy let him into her heart -- or let him go?

A singular first novel about an unforgettable family and the blossom of first love.

01-02 Young Hoosier Book Award Masterlist (Gr 6-8) and 00-01 Tayshas High School Reading List

2000 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA)

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About the Author:

When Karen Romano Young was growing up, she and her sisters and brother spent most of their time exploring the wetlands down the road. The mill there was home to a woman who taught her about the wetlands and only once yelled at her for destroying frog eggs by stepping on them. These days the author lives near a marsh full of frogs in Bethel, Connecticut, with her husband, three children, two guinea pigs, a dog, and a cat.

In Her Own Words...

"My first published writing was a poem called My Secret Place. I wrote it in fourth grade, and it appeared in my local paper and in a book of 100 poems written by children in our school district. The place in the poem was a shady spot under trees, but more important was what I did there: write!

"I've kept a diary since I was nine, and as a child I wrote poems and stories and lots of letters. If I wasn't writing, I was reading. Everyone around me read-to themselves, to each other, to me. My grandmother has this saying framed on her wall: "Richer than 1, you will never be, for I had a mother who read to me." I'll add to that: My mother took me to the library-the Fairfield Children's Library in Fairfield, Connecticut, where I grew up. Once I was too old to have a child's card, I even worked there, looking after the picture books and children's novels all the way through high school and even on vacations home from my school, Syracuse University.

"Part of my college education was a semester in England, where I did an independent study of storytelling and folklore (especially, different versions of "Rumpelstiltskin") that took me all over the country reading and telling stories to children. At the end of college my English boyfriend, Mark Young, immigrated, and we got married in Connecticut.

"My first job was writing for Scholastic's news magazines-the ones kids use in their classrooms to learn about the news and lots of other things. What a cool job: interviewing all sorts of people, doing tons of research, writing on a very short deadline. It was hard and colorful and lively and exciting, and I spent every day in New York City. I had gone to college to learn to be a teacher-but now I was hooked on writing for a living and never went back to teaching.

"After our daughter Bethany was born, I decided I didn't need a New York office--or even a spot under the trees--to be able to write. I stayed home and worked in the spare bedroom. I wrote for all kinds of children's magazines, covering everything from rock climbing to rocket science.

"Around the time Sam was born, I began writing nonfiction books. I've written about so many different things, but I especially love writing about people and all the different ways they live their lives: high-wire artists, Arctic scientists, a lady who tap-danced across the Golden Gate Bridge, and a man who walked all the way around the world.

"When Emily was born, writing time was tight. But I had lots of time to think. During high school I had written a picture book called The Blue Volkswagen. Now I began thinking about where that old Beetle might be these days. One day I took the kids to the library. Outside, a woman was selling prints of her photographs. One of them showed an old Beetle sitting in the doorway of a barn. I bought it, took it home, and began writing a story in the twenty minutes a day I had to myself. I didn't write about my real self or about anything that had really happened to me, but I tried to think of my story as I would have felt or acted if I were Daisy living in that farmhouse at that time. After The Beetle and Me came Video, and more and more stories after that.

"My husband, children, dog, cat, guinea pigs, and I have a small, noisy, weird house in the Connecticut woods. Our lives are full of books, and we all read every chance we get. I write everyplace: in the kitchen, in the car, in the barn, in the school parking lot, in the Reading Room at the New York Public Library, at the beach. I write and write and write...."

From School Library Journal:

Grade 6-10-There's just one thing Daisy Pandolfi wants to do before her 16th birthday: restore her father's abandoned 1957 Volkswagen and claim it as her own. While observing the ups and downs of her older sister's love life, she suddenly finds herself interested in a new boy in town. Angered when her beautiful cousin captures his attention, Daisy focuses again on the car, but it, too, seems an impossible goal. Then, while working backstage during a school play, Daisy is surprised by a kiss delivered by a fellow stage-crew member. Billy may drive a neat Thunderbird, but she's still grossed out. As she struggles to figure out what is wrong with the Beetle and becomes aware of Billy's family situation, she comes to appreciate her family's love and support. Although the book starts off slowly, patient readers will be rewarded with an entertaining romance. Young shows many types of love: mature love; intense and unrequited teen love; and steady, slow-growing someday love. She also knows her way around an automobile engine. Obviously interested in fighting the stereotypical view about mechanics being reserved for men, the author comes close to pushing it a little too obviously, but she does establish strong, likable female characters who still find men very attractive. Readers will like Daisy and be amused by the way she reflects her father's stubborn streak.
Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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