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Stuck in Neutral (Shawn McDaniel #1)

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,289 Ratings  ·  980 Reviews

Shawn McDaniel is an enigma and a miracle except no one knows it, least of all his father. His life is not what it may seem to anyone looking at him. Not even those who love him best have any idea what he is truly like. In this extraordinary and powerful first novel, the reader learns to look beyond the obvious and finds a character whose spirit is rich beyond imagining an

Paperback, 114 pages
Published July 24th 2012 by HarperTeen (first published June 30th 2000)
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Sarah I actually met this author in 2005. He admitted to an entire auditorium of teenagers that he had a son like this and fantasized about him dying, to…moreI actually met this author in 2005. He admitted to an entire auditorium of teenagers that he had a son like this and fantasized about him dying, to relieve him of the responsibility. Then he told us how he left his wife and disabled son, married someone else, had a perfect 'golden boy', and wished that was his only son. (less)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I have to think for a while about how to rate this book. I am definitely adding it to my "most disturbing" list. The plot of this book involves a boy who can remember everything he's ever heard. He's clever and mostly happy and loving, but he's trapped. Trapped inside his body, unable to exercise control over anything but his brain. The book is interesting from the POV aspect, wondering what it would be like to be so intelligent but for everyone else to think you are retarded. To be privy to con ...more
Aug 17, 2007 Colin rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 24, 2008 Andrew rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Stuck in Neutral Terry Trueman, ISBN 0-06-447213-2, 114 pg. $6.99

This book, Stuck in Neutral, by Terry Trueman is one of the best books that I have ever read.

It’s about a teenage boy named Shawn McDaniel. He has cerebral palsy; a condition where you can’t move a muscle in your body and can’t communicate with anyone other than yourself. Shawn can only say things through his thoughts in a first person view. Shawn thinks of himself as dead-like, yet intelligent. Shawn’s dad can’t see him sufferin
Jun 04, 2008 Alyssa rated it really liked it
Recommended to Alyssa by: Mrs. Lawton
Stuck in Neutral is the story of a young, disabled boy who suspects his father of trying to kill him. The boy has absolutely no means of communication, and is unable to express to his family how he really feels. Although he is brilliant and smarter than most, his family thinks he has no idea what is going on. He feels trapped in his own body, stuck in neutral. His father struggles with the thought that his son could be suffering, and contemplates killing him in order to end that suffering. I lov ...more
Jubilation Lee
There’s something creepy about Stuck in Neutral, friends. I read an interview with the author where he said that initially the book was going to be straight-up horror, and I can totally believe that. A smart (well, genius), funny, fourteen year old boy, fully conscious and aware, trapped in a CP-wracked body, knowing that his father is becoming more and more obsessed with the idea that he should Release His Son From Pain… and that there’s no way he can communicate to Daddy Dearest that no, reall ...more
Destinee Sutton
This is a short book, but I still didn't finish it. I was too disturbed by the fact that the real author maybe wanted to kill his own son and was using this novel as a way of working through that.

Also, and this is kind of strange, the first few chapters reminded me of Bud, Not Buddy because the narrator in both is a little kid in a terrible situation who's just so darn upbeat about everything. And by "upbeat" I don't mean optimistic, I mean uses a lot of whimsical expression punctuated with ex
Ellen Hopkins
Jul 08, 2008 Ellen Hopkins rated it it was amazing
Incredible book! Terry Trueman is a REAL author.
Apr 03, 2009 Esmeralda rated it it was amazing
Stuck in neutral is a short but moving book. although this book might not be the hardest or the longest the meaning of this book is very strong. this book can be read by adults, teenagers and children. this book is for all ages becuase it shows us the importance of life to a person that you may think is useless.
the book is about a young boy named Shawn who has cerebral palsy. although many people think that he can't do anything or think for himself they are wrong. Shawn is actually a very smar
David Dietering
Oct 02, 2008 David Dietering rated it really liked it
Stuck in Neutral takes an uncomfortable subject and tries to shed some light on what might be happening. It is about a boy who is so severely retarded that all he seems to be able to do is have seizures. And yet he loves his seizures because they are his chance to get out of his body and visit other places. He also is upset with his father for winning an award for writing about dealing with a severely retarded son, yet not really wanting to have the son. It allowed me to see life from a very dif ...more
Aug 14, 2008 Kendra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A fantastic book that really makes you think! Shawn has cerebral palsy and can't communicate with anyone. Told from his viewpoint, the reader learns about Shawn's feelings, dreams, and also his fear that his father wants to kill him. I couldn't put it down and read it in one sitting. I will be recommending this one to any and all.
Amy Rae
Sep 26, 2015 Amy Rae rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult
Stuck in Neutral is a weird book to read--it's essentially a happy-go-lucky boy named Shawn wondering if his dad's going to murder him for however many pages it is. (I read it on Futurebook, so all I can tell you is that it's a very short book, and 20% of it is made up of non-novel content.) Shawn has severe cerebral palsy that causes seizures and ensures he has no control over his body. He cannot express himself, verbally or nonverbally, and he requires significant assistance from others each d ...more
My Name is Shawn McDaniel.
I'm 14 years old.
I think my father is planning to kill me.

In a phenomenally personal story Terry Trueman takes us into the mind of a profoundly, developmentally disabled cerebral palsy sufferer who's also a quirky, insightful, vibrantly alive 14 year old. However this kid is pretty much input only. Who can tell what goes on in the mind of a child who cannot even control his own eye blinks?

While the protagonist in this story is unable to communicate with anyone in his
Sep 05, 2007 Ericka rated it it was amazing
This book can have a profound impact on you if you have any emotional connection to someone with a disability. I really liked the first person narration from a teenage boy whose disability has left him mute and with no way to communicate with anyone or anything. The ending of this book can be highly emotional and due to the "possible" outcome of the end I would reccommend a dialogue and discussion if teenagers are reading it.
Aj Sterkel
Jun 30, 2016 Aj Sterkel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I didn’t know that this book was so controversial until I Googled it. People actually believe that this novel is proof that the author wants to murder his disabled son. I’m sorry, but that seems idiotic. If authors were as twisted as their characters, Stephen King would have been in prison 30 years ago. Books can’t be written in a vacuum. All authors are inspired by real life. Just because there are similarities between this book and the author’s life doesn’t mean that somebody’s going to get mu ...more
Jun 03, 2008 Zach rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everybody
Recommended to Zach by: Mrs. Lawton
I liked this book because it would be hard to realize what Shawn sees and can't do nothing about anything. I would recommend this book to everybody. At first I didn't like reading and once I started it became easier to read and get a book done but still this book is a very good book and it made me realize that my messed up life isn't really messed up because I can do alot more things than Shawn every could and thats all I have to say about this book.....oh and the book is curious as you read thr ...more
Mar 29, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: age-ya, realistic, 2014
Shawn might be a genius. But no one knows, because he also has severe cerebral palsy, which doesn't allow him any control over his movements. All anyone sees is his vacant stare and seizures. His father became famous for a poem about Shawn, but now Shawn believes his father wants to kill him...

This was a really interesting point of view. Shawn was very likable and his explanations gave a new awareness of what someone trapped inside such a body might be experiencing. I also liked that Shawn's fat
Kelsey Sullivan
Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman is a realistic fiction novel about a boy, named Shawn who is mentally disabled. He cannot speak, move nor talk. Although he can do none of these things he is actually very intelligent. He can remember each conversation he has had, and things he has looked at. He can recall the slightest detail of information from that past conversation or image that he saw. Shawn has a really hard time going through this, but what really helps him is his family; his sister Cindy ...more
Kaitlyn Hickey
Mar 31, 2016 Kaitlyn Hickey rated it it was amazing

Personal Response- I cannot put into words how amazing this story was. The amount of detail made me feel as if I was involved within the story. Shawn had a very interesting life. Terry Truman did a phenomenal job on creating another world. This story really had me stop and realize, that under a paralyzed body, there was a person who might be the next Einstein.

Plot- Shawn McDaniel was a teenage boy with Cerebral Palsy, he had no control over his body, actions, or no way to express his feelings.
Nicholas Zerrudo
Oct 19, 2014 Nicholas Zerrudo rated it really liked it
In Terry Trueman’s story, Stuck In Neutral, he tells a story of a 14 year old boy, named Shawn McDaniel. Shawn has a disorder called Cerebral palsy, which gives him no control of his own muscles. While Shawn’s body may not be totally functional, he knows very well what is happening around him. He also has the special ability to remember anything he hears word for word. One thing he remembers hearing is his father talking about ending Shawn’s suffering by killing Shawn. Throughout this story we r ...more
I was expecting to cry. I did.
I was expecting to feel depressed while and after reading this. I was not.
If you're expecting a sappy dramatic novel about a boy who is strapped to a wheelchair and can't do anything for himself... you are not very far off, but the difference is that the story is not sappy at all, nor is it particularly dramatic. I mean, it is, hello, boy trapped in his own body and all, but Shawn is an optimist and the author is very original in the way he decide to present his sto
Jan 14, 2010 Talia rated it it was amazing
Shawn McDaniel is supposed to be retarded and to anyone on the outside he’s as dumb as they get. Shawn suffers from cerebral palsy and he can’t move a single muscle in his body voluntarily, he can’t write, or jump, or even look where he wants to. But regardless of what his family sees the real Shawn is stuck in his useless body unable to communicate in any way to the outside world. His one saving grace is his daily seizures, where he is released from his body; his spirit is able to roam fre
Kelly Herta
Oct 22, 2011 Kelly Herta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Shawn McDaniel, a teenage boy with cerebral palsy (CP). He has no muscle control. He up to a dozen grand mal seizures a day. They aren't so bad as the seizures allow him to feel peaceful and free. To others he, doesn't have a life but Shawn has a does have some talents, for he can think and hear and recall everything he hears. Unfortunately, no one will ever know it. He lives with his mom, his sister Cindy, and brother, Paul. His father, Sydney, and his mother divorced becau ...more
Ryk Stanton
May 27, 2015 Ryk Stanton rated it it was amazing
052715 - I read this again, this time with students (which is why I am counting it four times in my yearly book count: once to make the study guide and then three times aloud with my low-level readers). I liked it even more as I got to analyze a bit more how the story is structured. I had given it four stars before, but now I have raised it to five. The kids were very engaged in Shawn's dilemma and were able to formulate some deep thoughts about what he was describing, and I was impressed by how ...more
Feb 21, 2008 UAPLteens rated it it was amazing
What if you woke up one day from a terrible accident trapped inside a body you could no longer control? Your mind is still in working order and you can think quite clearly, but you have no power over the smallest of movements. You can’t move or blink or swallow except by reflex. Imagine never being about to tell your family that you love them. Imagine watching helplessly as doctors and experts compare your mental capacity to that of a 3 month-old baby.

On the bright side, Shawn begins his story
Kelsey Trinkner
Mar 18, 2013 Kelsey Trinkner rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-junior-year
This book is very interesting. It didn't start off slowly, like many other books. It started out right away with information the reader wanted to know. The story is about a boy named Shawn who has cerebral palsy. He cannot control a single thing he does, except think. Throughout the 110 pages, you will learn about Shawn's intelligence and about his ability to remember every single thing he has ever seen or heard. This book is all from Shawn's point of view. The conflict in this story rises right ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Me for

I'll it, right off, that I'm a very opinionated person. I believe that's why I love books that have endings that leave it open to personal intrepretation--I can use my own belief system, my own views on the rights and wrongs of a situation, to concoct my own ending. Whether it be a happily-ever-after or a tear-jerker, whatever ending you prescribe to STUCK IN NEUTRAL will, no doubt, leave you pondering the book for days.

That being said, Terry Trueman is the ki
Michael Humphrey
Jan 19, 2012 Michael Humphrey rated it really liked it
Now this book I really enjoyed. I actually pulled INSIDE OUT off the shelf first and saw that it was by the author of the printz honor book STUCK IN NEUTRAL. I checked the shelf and sure enough, saw the book. I sat down and started reading and had read the first 60 pages before I walked out of the library. At only 114 pages long, the book reads quick, helped by lots of humor and some poignant, almost painful, moments.

The main character, Shawn, is a witty, wonderful young man who is a smart inter
Jessica Flores
Apr 25, 2012 Jessica Flores rated it liked it
You stop the car, shake the stickshift. You're Stuck in Neutral. Terry Trueman's novella Stuck in Neutral describes the sad story of fourteen year-old Shawn McDaniel who suffers from the life limiting cerebral palsy. This story is told through Shawn's perspective of a genius i.q. and a pristine memory.

Shawn McDaniel is anything but the ordinary fourteen year old, cerebral palsy, a genius i.q., and the ability to remember every. Single. Thing. He encounters. To everyone he looks like a vegetable
Apr 12, 2013 Pandas rated it really liked it
Stuck in Neutral is a novel about a boy named Shawn Mcdaniel. Shawn was born with physical and mental disabilities. Shawn cannot tak, cannot move or even control any of his muscles. He also has seizures everyday. His father views Shawn's life as hell for him and his seizures are hard for his dad to watch. Little does Shawn's dad know that Shawn loves his life, and loves his seizures because he finds it as a way to get away from his life. However, Shawn cant speak to let his father know this, so ...more
Aug 13, 2016 Michelle rated it liked it
This was a difficult book to read because of uncomfortable language and subject matter. It comes from such a raw, honest place that I couldn't help but appreciate it. The idea of a non-verbal boy who has no muscular control being a secret genius who still has a zest and appreciation for life is a theme worth exploring in a YA novel, however, this book will be too disturbing for some.

Golden line: "Life can be great, even for me. Even for me."
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Class of 2015: Stuck in Neutral 2 6 Dec 16, 2014 03:13PM  
Class of 2015: Stuck in Neutral 8 11 Dec 12, 2014 01:13PM  
Class of 2015: Stuck In Neutral 2 3 Nov 15, 2014 04:41AM  
Class of 2015: Stuck in Neutral 1 3 Nov 14, 2014 01:46PM  
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“A big seizure just kind of grabs the inside of your skull and squeezes. It feels as if it's twisting and turning your brain all up and down and inside out. Have you ever heard a washing machine suddenly flip into that bang-bang-bang sound when it gets out of balance, or a chain saw when the chain breaks and gets caught up in the gears, or an animal like a cat, screeching in pain? Those are what seizures felt like when I was little.” 11 likes
“Think about it: Why should we care whether what makes us happy is just an electrical impulse in our brain or something funny that we see some fool do on TV? Does it matter what makes you smile? Wouldn't you rather be happy for no reason than unhappy for good reasons?” 2 likes
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