When sixteenyearold Jenna Boller, the star employee at Gladstone's Shoe Store in Chicago, is hired by Madeline Gladstone to drive her cross country to save her business, she learns the rules of the road, as well as the rules of life. ALA Notable Book. Reprint.
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Funny young adult writers are a rare treasure, and Joan Bauer is one of the funniest. Critics and young readers rejoiced at her three previous novels--Squashed, Thwonk, and Sticks--and with Rules of the Road, she has written a story that is wise and touching as well as comical. Jenna Boller is too tall for a sophomore and she's not much good in school. Her sister Faith got all the looks in the family, but boy, can Jenna sell shoes! She's supremely happy at her after-school job at Gladstone's, where the big white sign over the door says "We're Not Just Selling Shoes, We're Selling Quality." When elderly Mrs. Madeline Gladstone, the crusty president of the company, chooses Jenna as her driver on a business trip to visit other Gladstone's stores, Jenna goes reluctantly--with trepidation at driving the huge Cadillac, and at the prospect of leaving her alcoholic father behind. But on the road, Jenna learns "great road truths" such as "Never eat at a place called Mom's, because it's a safe bet Mom's been dead for years." She also proves to be indispensable (possessing an eagle eye for shoddy quality and sloppy service), and soon learns to admire and love the irascible Mrs. Gladstone as well as her old friend, "World's Best Shoe Salesman" Harry Bender. When Harry dies suddenly, Jenna realizes that she wishes he had been her father. Trouble looms in the form of a company takeover by Mrs. Gladstone's sleazy son, Elden, "Shoe Rodent," but Jenna summons courage from Harry's memory and saves the day for quality shoes. Rules of the Road is a treat that will utterly delight readers. (Age 12 and older) --Patty CampbellFrom the Back Cover:
Jenna Boller is the best employee at her branch of Gladstone's Shoes -- she can sell anybody anything. But her family problems are harder to handle, and there are times when Jenna wishes she could just get out of town and take a break. So when Madeline Gladstone, the elderly president of Gladstone Shoe Stores, hires Jenna as her driver for the summer, Jenna leaps at the chance -- right into the driver's seat. And that begins a cross-country adventure from Chicago to Dallas, where she and Mrs. Gladstone learn a lot about the rules of the road . . . and the rules of life.
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