Take a trip with Nancy J. Cavanaugh’s When I Hit the Road

When I Hit the RoadWHEN I HIT THE ROAD, by Nancy J. Cavanaugh, Sourcebooks Young Readers, May 5, 2020, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 8-12)

I don’t know many girls who didn’t have a journal at some point in their tween/teen years. It seems like a right of passage. When I Hit the Road, by Nancy J. Cavanaugh, celebrates that tradition.

Samantha is not exactly excited to spend what was supposed to be an awesome summer vacation with her grandma all the way in Florida. Or to be testing out her mom’s “Dear Me” Journals ― writing to her future self just feels weird. But it turns out Gram has some not-so-boring plans up her sleeve…

Gram and her friend Mimi are going to audition for the Seniors Have Got Talent Karaoke Contest!

A road trip in Gram’s new Mustang turns into a series of hilarious mishaps that flip Samantha’s summer on its head. And to make things more awkward, Brandon, Mimi’s totally handsome grandson, is also along for the ride.

It looks like those journals just might be worth keeping after all. Because this summer will be one Samantha will never want to forget. —Synopsis provided by Sourcebooks Young Readers

When I Hit the Road is chock full of great characters. Gram and Mimi are a total hoot. It’s not hard to picture them bantering about things important and not. Samantha is that girl who is just trying to find where she fits in the world. She just needs the confidence to back up her skills. Brandon is a nice foil to them all. He starts out a little one note, but quickly develops into someone worth reading about.

There was one character, though, who I couldn’t stand. I really, really, really disliked Samantha’s mom. She leaves Samantha in Florida and tells her to spy on her grandmother. Samantha’s also supposed to keep Gram safe. A child should get to be a child. And I know many don’t have that option. By the end, there’s sort of a method to Mom’s madness, but in this scenario, I was just irritated with her. (I fully believe that my view of her as an adult reader will probably not be as big of an issue for younger audiences.)

When I Hit the Road is a fast and engaging read. It reminded me of past road trip/vacations I did with my own grandmother. It’s also a great look at the joys and sorrows of moving forward.

© 2020, Cracking the Cover. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted, all books — digital and physical — have been provided for free by publishers in exchange for honest and unbiased reviews. All thoughts and opinions are those of the reviewer.


About Author

Jessica Harrison is the main reviewer behind Cracking the Cover. Prior to creating Cracking the Cover, Jessica worked as the in-house book critic for the Deseret News, a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. Jessica also worked as a copy editor and general features writer for the paper. Following that, Jessica spent two years with an international company as a social media specialist. She is currently a freelance writer/editor. She is passionate about reading and giving people the tools to make informed decisions in their own book choices.

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