Cover image for On the road to find out
Title:
On the road to find out
Author:
Toor, Rachel.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 2014.
Physical Description:
311 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
Alice Evelyn Davis, seventeen, has generally gotten all she wants from life but when her college of choice rejects her, problems with her best friend arise, and she faces an unexpected loss, her new-found interest in running helps get her through.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
830 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.4 10.0 166657.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.4 16 Quiz: 63921.
ISBN:
9780374300142
Format :
Book

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On Order

Summary

Summary

On New Year's Day, Alice Davis goes for a run. Her first ever. It's painful and embarrassing, but so was getting denied by the only college she cares about. Alice knows she has to stop sitting around and complaining to her best friend, Jenni, and her pet rat, Walter, about what a loser she is. But what she doesn't know is that by taking those first steps out the door, she is setting off down a road filled with new challenges--including vicious side stitches, chafing in unmentionable places,and race-paced first love--and strengthening herself to endure when the going suddenly gets tougher than she ever imagined, in On the Road to Find Out by Rachel Toor.


Author Notes

Rachel Toor is the author of three previous books. She was an admissions officer at Duke University, a high school cross country coach, and a teacher of SAT prep classes. A senior writer at Running Times magazine, she teaches at Eastern Washington University in Spokane.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Alice hasn't ever felt obliterated by rejection before. That is, not before the letter came from Yale saying that, despite her stellar GPA, the university wasn't accepting her to be part of its freshman class. Just like that, her lifelong dream is trampled. After much wallowing in pity to her parents; her best friend; her pet rat, named Walter unathletic Alice takes what for her is a truly uncharacteristic step: she starts running. At first, the pain of getting started compounds Alice's self-doubt and makes her pine for an Easy-Mac date with Walter. But with time, seriously strained muscles, and a cute local racer cheering her on, she starts to hit her stride until a series of painful bumps in the road help her realize how resilient she really is. In Alice's cheeky first-person narrative, Toor explores how easy it can be to simply sprint away from defeat and what might go undiscovered if we do. This sweet coming-of-age story is a fun, swift read not just for runners but for anyone who has had to unwillingly redirect his or her course.--Walters Wright, Lexi Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

All Alice Davis-"champion taker of standardized tests, favorite of teachers, and only child of two achievement-focused parents"-wants is to get into Yale. So when the Early Action rejection comes, it sends her into a downward spiral that even her beloved pet rat, Walter, can't shake her from. Alice vows to start running as her New Year's resolution, which turns out to be both a challenge and a lifeline. Through running, she meets Joan, a former top-ranked marathoner who shows Alice how to find joy in life, and Miles, a homeschooled, shaggy-haired guy who wins local races and Alice's heart. Even though Toor doesn't throw in any real surprises-except, perhaps, for Alice's lengthy discourses on the many upsides to rats-her heroine's rejection and doldrums are relatable, as is her winding journey to figuring out who she is. For many readers who are just starting to feel the pressures of college apps, as well as those who love running (and maybe rats) as much as Alice does, this is a road worth taking. Ages 12-up. Agent: Elise Capron, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-In this debut novel, readers met Alice as she goes for her very first run on New Year's Day. Two weeks prior, Alice, very much a perfectionist, was thrown into shock and depression when Yale rejected her early action application. For her entire life, Alice has focused solely on academics, assuming it would be enough to get her into the college of her choice. When not studying, she prefers to spend her time with her pet rat, Walter. Through her rejection and subsequent decision to begin running, she meets Miles and Joan at the running store, both of whom help her grow as a runner and as a person. Alice could potentially rub readers the wrong way, but teens who are feeling the pressure of college applications will relate to this character who finds that she is tougher than she thought she could be.-Stephanie Charlefour, Wixom Public Library, MI (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

1 I pumped my arms and covered ground with almost no effort. I was Superman. I was Nike--not the shoe company, but the winged goddess of victory. I could practically hear Bruce singing that tramps like us, baby--well, you know. For one and a half blocks. That's the part he left out. We may have been born to run--but not very far. After two blocks, everything started to hurt. I couldn't get enough air and each leg weighed about eight hundred pounds. Great Lake-sized puddles lurked at every corner and I stepped in all of them. When I tried to leap across, I landed-- splat! --in the deepest part. I hadn't expected to see so many people out on this dreary holiday morning. It took only a few minutes for me to realize my New Year's resolution was typical, ordinary, and uninspired--just like me. The boulevard was buzzing with runners, all trucking along in their tight tights and sporty vests, their long-sleeved shirts with the names of marathons or colleges or clothing brands plastered across the front, their baseball hats from professional football teams and their nondescript black beanies. Some had on backpacks and belts studded with water bottles, as if they were going to be traveling for days. Some people ran alone, and some were in groups. Those in groups chatted as if they were using no more energy than it would take to hoist a latte to their lips. When they came toward me they'd nod and raise a gloved hand. Which reminded me I was not invisible. I hadn't realized--when I squeezed into the jeggings my mother had bought me years ago (but that I only got to wear to school twice before my best friend, Jenni, told me they were already tragically unhip), donned a long-sleeved T-shirt from an unfortunate family trip to Disney World, and layered on one of my dad's plain old slightly tatty sweatshirts--the superpower I would most want when I set out for my first run would be invisibility. Each time someone ran past from behind, splattering me with dirty sidewalk water, I straightened up, went a little faster, and tried to hide how hard I was breathing. And each time someone came toward me I'd look up only for a second, raise a paw in acknowledgment, and think: Don't look at me. Please don't look at me. My feet hurt because I had secretly borrowed a pair of never-worn, slightly too-small running shoes I found in my mom's shoe room. Yes, my mother has a room just for her shoes. Other people might call it a closet. But then, as Dad likes to point out, other people live in houses with less acreage than the space dedicated to my mother's footwear. She's a material girl, my mom, a doctor who earns enough jack to pay for everything she needs and wants, and a bunch of things that I neither need nor want. My eyes never stopped watering and I had to constantly wipe my face with my sleeve. I'm sure I looked like I was sobbing throughout the whole thing. It might have been the wind, or maybe I was really crying. My calves cramped up and I felt dizzy. On the other side of the street I could see a huddle of teens smoking cigarettes. Or something. They yelled an insult, or maybe it was just a whoop, a holler, and I thought again: Make me invisible. My feet were furious. It felt like my arches had flattened into the shoes. Some jerks drove by in a pickup truck adorned with a Confederate flag and honked their horn. It scared me so much I jumped and landed funny and that made my feet hurt more. I wanted to scream, Go back to your cave, you howling trolls , but I didn't say anything. Then came the panting. I was breathing like a prank caller. My arms were so heavy I could hardly swing them. And then a guy with long legs, floppy hair, and a dog that looked like Toto with trashy blond highlights passed me. Hear this, people: I got passed by a dog who was off to see the Wizard. The little dude trotted fast on his abbreviated limbs. He held his head high--as high as you could hold a head on legs only about four inches tall. He wore a harness with a camo design, and his leash had rhinestones on it. His mini-legs were going like crazy. The guy took graceful strides and did not seem like someone who would have a little dog dressed in camo at the end of a sparkly leash. Toto dogs go with blue-haired old ladies who smell like Cashmere Bouquet body powder and maybe the faintest hint of pee. People and their animals usually look right together. These two didn't. The guy was around my age. He was attractive. He was so attractive Jenni, a small girl of big appetites, would have referred to him as a tasty morsel. He glided along, his head straight, his arms tucked in neat by his sides. I struggled to try to keep up with them and did. For about ten seconds. Then they pulled away. I had been chilly when I left the house, but my body soon equilibrated (yes, I paid attention in honors chem), and I sweated through my layers. I stopped for a second to wrestle out of the sweatshirt and tie it around my waist, and looked up to see another pair of runners coming toward me, a guy and a girl. The girl had her hair pulled into a long ponytail and as she ran it swung from side to side, a blond metronome. She was smiling and he was smiling too and he said something and she laughed and she turned and socked the guy with a playful punch to the belly, and he bent over--all while they were still running--and when he stood up straight again I saw the sweatshirt he wore. It said, "YALE." The burn rose from my stomach and settled in my throat. I could feel my face flush. I choked up. The happy couple passed without a wave, without even noticing me, and I thought: Right. In some ways, I am invisible. I am nothing. I slowed to a walk. My nose was full of snot and I didn't have a tissue. I felt like throwing up. On this day, January 1, I had kept my New Year's resolution and gone for my first run ever. It was over in eight minutes. For about seven and a half of those minutes, around 450 seconds, when I had been concentrating on running--on how much my body hurt, on what other people saw when they looked at me, and even on wondering what that hot guy was doing with a Toto dog--I had been able to forget that I, Alice Evelyn Davis, top student in my class at Charleston High School, champion taker of standardized tests, favorite of teachers, and only child of two achievement-focused parents, had been rejected Early Action from Yale University, the only college I ever wanted to go to. Copyright © 2014 by Rachel Toor Excerpted from On the Road to Find Out by Rachel Toor All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.