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Hendrix's grandpa, Gpa, is losing his memories to Alzheimer's. To help Gpa remember, Hendix is filling a notebook with his family's history. There's lots of gaps. Photos and talking can help Gpa remember. But what helps best is sensory things--actually being in a place.
To help Gpa have the ultimate memory, Hendrix decides to sneak Gpa away from the care facility and take him back to the place he fell in love with Grandma: New York.
The main problem is it's all the way across the country. But Hendrix finds solutions. He doesn't have a license? Well, his Mom does have a car. And Hendrix's new friend, Corrina, has reasons of her own to get to New York.
So, off the three of them go.
Kiely has a unique angle on the YA staple of the road trip novel. He doesn't just pay attention to the quirky pit-stops and ruminations changes of place bring--although, he doesn't leave that out, with his own characteristically gentle humor and fun--he lets their movement across land lend itself to their realizations of privilege. Whose land it actually is and was and how that lingering violence is manifested in the micro ways nowadays. His characters don't just move across scenery, they steep in the history both dead and alive.