Carly is working late, again, at her job at the Breeze Mart, and in comes her most faithful customer, Mr. Shackleford. He’s got to be in his 70s and each night Carly just prays he won’t die on her watch! He is a kind old guy though, and always wants to talk philosophy with her. Only on this night, when he wants to get into a discussion on the rich and poor, it just seems to hit a little too close to home. After all, Carly is only working till 2 in the morning each day because her family needs the money. She’s living with her older brother and they are both scrimping and saving to get enough money to pay someone who will bring her parents and her two younger siblings back illegally into the United States. Her parents were deported three years ago, and every moment since they’ve left has been hard. So when Mr. Shackleford wants to argue that the poor have it easier tonight, Carly just isn’t buying it. After he purchases his vodka and goes outside, Carly gets back to trying to work on her homework. It’s after a minute or two that she realizes she hasn’t heard Mr. Shackleford’s truck start up, and so she looks out the window.
What she sees stops her heart. There is a man holding a rifle up to Mr. Shackleford. He’s being robbed! Carly only reacts and grabs the mini mart’s rifle and charges out the door to stop this from happening to Mr. Shackleford. It turns out to be a young man holding the gun and Carly won’t back down. Nothing goes as according to plan during the robbery, and Carly is left pondering what on earth just happened.
It’s not until the next day at school that she begins to get a clue and when she realizes she actually goes to school with the would be robber, things get very interesting.
Joyride by Anna Banks is a wonderful romance between two people who probably never would have interacted if it weren’t for the unusual circumstances of their forced meeting. The trouble in Carly’s life though is something that many people in our country are forced to deal with, and make sacrifices for each day. This book does a good job of highlighting that real and troubling aspect of our country.
Recommended for 8th grade and up.