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Destroy All Cars

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  510 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
From Blake Nelson, a fantastic and topical novel about idealism and finding the ideal girl. James Hoff likes to rant against America's consumerist culture. He also likes to rant against his ex-girlfriend, Sadie, who he feels isn't doing enough to change the world. But just like he can't avoid buying things, he also can't avoid Sadie for long. This is a fantastic, funny, se ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Scholastic (first published May 1st 2009)
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I literally haven't given up on a book since I tried to read The Little White Horse years and years ago when I was probably too young for it. (I ought to go back to that book, since I still own it.)

I guess it's not that the books are getting progressively worse so much as the fact that I've been reading so many crummy ones lately. I can't force myself through another one. Besides, I have Liar's Moon on my shelf and you don't hahahahahah! so it's not like I'm without other options.

Before I put th
Aug 28, 2015 Ciara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

It's good to read something lighthearted and funny once in a while. I really fancy the way Destroy All Cars was written, especially the way James Hoff thinks - his ideas are quirky and witty. They will make you think and at the same time, laugh.

Here let me cite some:


Your Best Physical Feature:
Pointing finger.

Your Bedtime:
When I can't take it anymore.

Your Most Missed Memory:
Being so young I did not understand
what was happening to to the world.

Pepsi or Coke:
Is that a ch
Nov 19, 2011 Marisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: boybooks, ya
Okay, this one grew on me. At first, I was all like, "Gawd, get over yourself! You take everything so seriously! Lighten up, right!!" Then I was kind of like, "Okay, you're not a total douche, I guess." Then I was kind of like, "Oh, actually, that was kind of funny. Alright, you're okay, bro."

Sorry, this book was so VERY teen, it's hard to talk about it like an adult. Disclaimer that if I had known James when I was a teen, he would have either been my boyfriend, or my best friend, or I would hav
Aug 24, 2011 kb rated it it was amazing
This did not only destroy me. It killed me. Right off the bat. Perhaps it was because I am in the same lane as James Hoff, the 17-year-old anti-Consumerist American who wanted to change the world by first eliminating the cars off the road but his own consumerist desires were getting in the way. You'd think something so serious and socially and economically attached wouldn't work in a YA novel, but Blake Nelson did it, and did it successfully so. The story had the usual YA issues like girl proble ...more
Mar 21, 2010 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, this is the story of ranting teen James Hoff and his complete hatred of cars and all things car. However, it's also the story of a young man coming to terms with first love, his place in the universe, and seeing (Holden Caulfieldish) the phoniness of modern American. At the end of the book, in his essay, "Thoughts of Assholism," James states,

"We are taught the greatness of the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King. But who do we really stand in awe of? Not those people. We prefer w
Apr 22, 2009 Yan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Destroy All Cars was quite a liberal piece of work. James is irrational and rational at the same time, with his cut-off sweaters, he reminded me of the kid in the back row. The one that makes you wonder, is he doing that on purpose or just for the heck of it? And with his ways of not shampooing his hair, and talk about the corrupt nature of humans you tend to shy away from characters such as he.

One of the strongest points of this book has to be James's essays. The reader gets a great sense of h
James Hoff cuts the elbows out of his sweaters to make them look older, he's a nihilist, and he believes that cars will be the ultimate downfall of human society. But he's also a typical teenager, meaning that he just wants to get laid, he can't get over his first love, and he frets about his acne. The novel is written in ranting anti-consumerist anti-car essays on various assigned topics for English class, mixed in with James' personal journal, primarily chronicling his stages of grief over the ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

A junior in high school without the burning desire to possess and drive his own car? Yep, that's James Hoff.

He believes cars are part of what is wrong in this world focused on consumerism and material wealth. He'll walk to the mall and bike to school, and he doesn't understand how everyone else can't see how they are contributing to the destruction of the planet.

James is a bit of an outcast. He shuns consumer goods as much as possib
Jun 01, 2009 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up “Destroy All Cars” because I recognized Blake Nelson’s name from back when, in the mists of the early 90s, excerpts of his first teen novel, “Girl,” were published in my much-beloved (now much-missed) Sassy magazine. The chapters were a sharp and vivid exploration of the emotional wasteland of adolescence, which I was traversing at the time. “Destroy All Cars,” Nelson’s latest novel, mines the same tumultuous territory, now (for me) bittersweet nostalgia. (Nelson also wrote “Paranoid ...more
Jul 09, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
High school junior James Hoff thinks he is the next Karl Marx. He hangs out at the library, doesn’t shampoo his hair, and he is going to grow a huge beard as soon as he can. He spends hours writing manifesto-like essays for his AP English class, mostly railing against what he refers to in all caps, CONSUMER AMERICANS. Hunched over a notebook until late into the night at a 24-hour coffee shop, James writes about his big ideas for changing the world. Not because he loves the world or the people in ...more
Aug 16, 2011 Alexis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I want to start by saying I'm totally bought into reading whatever I can find written by Blake Nelson; I loved Recovery Road, and I love Destroy All Cars. In fact when I picked up Destroy All Cars at the library, I didn't really even know much about it at all, aside from the fact that it happened to be written by Blake Nelson. And it didn't disappoint me.

Destroy All Cars begins like some bad documentary, ranting and raving about how cars are evil, people are stupid, and basically the world sucks
Steph Su
May 02, 2009 Steph Su rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Told in English essays, screenplay dialogue exchanges, and diary-like entries, DESTROY ALL CARS is a unique approach to the development of a young and interesting pessimist. This book’s strengths lie in its writing and its protagonist. The variety of writing formats perfectly yet uniquely captures the confused, angsty, and passionate mind of a teenage boy and makes for great reading.

To avoid falling into the pit of believing that the supporting characters are underdeveloped in this novel, it’s i
Steve Duong
I really enjoyed this book for all that it's worth. The main character is a very authentic character, the kind of people that live reclusively in vain of their society (he'll probably aspire to move to canada and relish and god-knows-what traditions they have that we don't...). Despite his lack of charm, he is a good character and you'll learn to sympathize for him.
The story was however, way too short. I enjoyed it, and it was a decent ride but it was an abridged version of what it could have b
Jan 30, 2009 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, finished-in-2009
Winsome first-person of a young man who rages against the machine -- Detroit's machine, to be exact. That and Consumer America (good luck, lad!). But this angry young man (James Hoff, by name) has a sense of humor, and the diary format of the book allows us to see the many papers he writes for his grizzled old English teacher, Cogsweiller. Some papers end with the words "not handed in" (to which the reader can only say, "Thank God!"), but many are not only submitted, but graded and commented upo ...more
Sep 10, 2009 Hayden rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, humor, guy-book
3.5 stars. 17-year-old James lives in Portland, OR and spends most of his time hating consumer culture, freaking out about the coming environmental apocalypse, and wishing he could get back together with his ex-girlfriend. The book is mostly in diary format, with some of Jame's school essays (and grades/teacher comments received) thrown in.

There's not much plot, and the non-James characters are pretty thinly drawn. But I think that's how the world looks to a lot of teens--everyone is a stereoty
May 21, 2011 MariNaomi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious, from beginning to end. This book has re-endeared me to a certain genre of teen-age boy.
Nov 20, 2016 Jorge rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I would recommend this book to middle school kids that are looking for just a quick book to read. It would be even better on a trip in a car to a very far place. The book may seem like it's mostly all about cars from the title. Also how he wants to destroy all cars because he thinks it's very bad for the environment. The thing is you are wrong this book is mostly about him and Sadie. Sadie is a girl who James haven’t dated since his sophomore year and they both have something in common which is ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
James Hoff is a long term pessimist—he believes humans have consistently trashes the planet and aren’t doing enough to reverse that trend, thus leading to ecological disaster. Her rejects American consumerism, materialism, and popular fads. And he particularly hates cars, as he views automobiles as the root of today’s environmental problems. He talks big, of change the world, but his AP English teacher is getting fed up with James’ “manifestos.” And his ex-girlfriend Sadie, a supposed activist, ...more
Todd Stockslager
Self-centered, self-righteous, humorless, arrogant, self-consciously disagreeable, sophomorically self-confident,--that is James Hoff, the narrator of "Destroy All Cars", which is also the title of an essay he wrote for his 11th-grade AP English class that embodies all those characteristics. The essay opens the book, before we have even met its writer, who I found even less likable than his essay.

Now, in tribute to the writer's skill or to the impossibility of shrinking even further in esteem, I
Mar 14, 2009 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Hoff is not an average teenage boy. He likes it that way. James is a bit of a radical whose main goal is to destroy all cars. He believes that cars are what are ruining the earth and that consumer Americans are the cause.

James is one of the few people in his school who worries about the environment. One of the other people is his ex-girlfriend, Sadie Kinnell. Sadie is very goal oriented. She does everything she can to help the environment, the school, and anybody else she can think of. Whe
I swore I would never start a book review by saying, "Such and such, the main character in such and such's young adult novel, is a latter-day Holden Caulfield." But, you know, if the shoe fits. So...

James Hoff, the main character in Blake Nelson's young adult novel, is a latter-day Holden Caulfield. (Well, I didn't actually start off the review that way; this is already the second paragraph.) He hates cars because they pollute, hates materialistic modern life because it's destroying the planet,
Kelly Thielen
James Hoff is not your average teen. The high school junior doesn't want a car, isn't sure he wants to go to college and loathes American Consumerism. In fact, he hates it so much that his life and AP English essays are dedicated to railing on the topic. He is a typical teenager in his desire for a relationship with a girl, but the problem is that he can't seem to get his old girlfriend Sadie off of his mind, making it hard to pursue another girl. There are sexual comments and a scene in which t ...more
Jun 03, 2013 Jared rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My book destroy all cars by Blake Nelson is about a kid that is not like most Americans, he does not want to drive do what most kids want to do when they are teens. He wants to destroy all car because they are populating the air and the earth. But now that he is 17 he and has an old girlfriend that he gets back together, he forgets about what he believes in. Now all he want to do is have sex with his new girlfriend.

The main character cares about our planet a lot, he does not buy unless crap that
Mar 06, 2011 Brittany rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
James is anti-consumerism. James is anti-mall. James is anti-cars. James is trying to be anti-Sadie, his ex-girlfriend. Unfortunately the world is filled with things one has to buy and lots of ex-girlfriends. So to get through it James writes his English papers about how much we are destroying the Earth and he writes in his journal about his girl troubles.

So James is a douche. I'm not sure if we're supposed to think he is, but he totally is. James seems to rally against things, only in his writi
Branden S.
The book destroy all cars is about James that is in high school that is varied in his views and very strange character. He believes that all cars should be destroyed because they are wrecking our earth. And that they should be trying to make a new type of transportation that doesn’t use gas or anything that else pollutes the earth.

After reading Destroyed All Cars. The story line was varied and all over the place. The main character was very depressing and sad. his views were vary unrealistic, h
Mar 20, 2009 Alea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-review
Ok, this book totally rocked my world. I kept cracking up over and over again. I loved being inside of 11th grader James Hoff's world, listening to his rants and watching him pine over several girls. His observations about the world were just too good. This was definitely my kind of book. I felt like I was sort of laughing at how extreme he was but at the same time kind of got him. While he was obviously a lot of talk and not a lot of action I loved where he was coming from and would love to hav ...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Aug 01, 2010 Erin Reilly-Sanders rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, teen
I think what I enjoyed most about this book was the protagonist's (somewhat immature) rants against a self-interested consumer-brainwashed fossil-fuel-guzzling society. It probably helps that I agree with his position. The author, assuming he feels the same way, probably had a blast writing up some of the assignments, which often undergo several rewrites, of papers that can barely contain the vehemence of adolescent fury. At the same time, Nelson also brings attention to the lack of change creat ...more
May 20, 2014 Jamal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the book, Destroy All Cars by Blake Nelson. The Main character is James. James is anti everything. He is against America, cars, also his ex girlfriend Sadie. Through the story he tries to make the world a better place while, he thinks Sadie isn't doing enough to make it better. Through the story you see James doing any and everything to make the world better.
The main thing I liked about the book was the sense of humor used in the book. Like when James was writing a paper to his teacher, his
Jena Marston
Jun 24, 2009 Jena Marston rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Blake Nelson grew up in Portland, Oregon. He began his career writing short humor pieces for Details Magazine.

His first novel GIRL was originally serialized in SASSY magazine and was made into a film staring Selma Blaire and Portia De Rossi.

His novel PARANOID PARK won the prestigious International Grinzane Literary Award and was made into a film by Gus Van Sant.

His most recent Young Adult novel
More about Blake Nelson...

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“On Friday night, my dad wants to have a family activity. so we go ice-skating. It's me and my mom and my dad and my sister. It's like we're all together. It's like a beautiful dream. It's like the Disney Channel. Except that my dad and I hate each other. And my mom hates herself. And my sister is humiliated by the bunch of us. And I'm secretly waiting for the inevitable devastation of our entire civilization. But except for that.” 5 likes
“It's hard to imagine talking to Lucy. But I can imagine sleeping with her. I have been imagining it quite regularly. I can't stop imagining it. Maybe it's time for my first Lucy Branch, my first truly physical relationship. And why do I assume it would be a bad thing? Maybe it's better with someone different from you. I could teach her how fluorocarbons affect the ozone. She could teach me about oral sex.

We would both become better people.”
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