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Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite
Eat and Get Gas by J.A. Wright is a coming-of-age story. Evan Hanson is 13 and feels like she never knows what’s going on. Her father is often absent, and when her brother is drafted, her mother, totally anti-war, takes him to Canada – she doesn’t return, leaving Evan with her father and special-needs brother. Her father, Gene, leaves Evan and Teddy at his mother’s gas station and café, Eat and Get Gas, in Washington. Evan gets to know her family – her grandma, Aunt Vivian, and Uncle Frankie. She also meets the next-door neighbors, a draft dodger, and Luanne, her uncle’s sister who lost her family in a serious car accident. Here, Evan discovers freedom. She starts working in the café and helping her uncle with his postal route, but things aren’t quite as rosy as they seem. Family secrets begin to emerge, and it comes to a head when she reads a letter she wasn’t meant to see. Evan is about to discover the biggest family secret of all, and it will turn her life upside-down.
Eat and Get Gas by J.A. Wright is a wonderful coming-of-age story, a thrilling, captivating tale that grabs you from the start. It’s all about life with the message that even those who love us can let us down. The main protagonist is well-developed, a likable teenager who meets every challenge head-on, no matter what it is. The other supporting characters are equally well-developed, the kind of people you’d love to sit down with and pass the time of day. This is a fascinating tale offering a mixture of humor, lightheartedness, and hard truth, and you’ll feel every emotion Evan experiences. The ending is perfect; you won’t see it coming, but it’s so worth the wait. The author has done her research. Set in 1970s America, the story perfectly describes the era, and her characters fit right into it. This is a wonderful story; if you want something different to read, I highly recommend it.