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Stuck in Neutral

(Shawn McDaniel #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  10,583 ratings  ·  1,242 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 a

Paperback, 114 pages
Published July 24th 2012 by HarperTeen (first published June 30th 2000)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,583 ratings  ·  1,242 reviews

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Aug 17, 2007 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.
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
Mar 20, 2008 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 sufferi
Jun 02, 2008 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
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 rated it it was amazing
Incredible book! Terry Trueman is a REAL author.
Feb 15, 2018 added it
Shelves: nope
Sick and twisted.

Thank you Sarah.
Amy Rae
Sep 22, 2015 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
Aj Sterkel
May 19, 2016 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
Apr 03, 2009 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 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
Apr 22, 2008 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.
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
Hannah Rae
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book definitely makes you think. It's for young adults, yes, but I imagine adults will be able to connect to the father in entirely different ways than teenagers can. I've used this novel for book clubs before and it always sparks strong discussion. The topic (an intelligent child trapped in his own body, unable to communicate with the world, and a father who wonders if his son might not be better off dead) is surely controversial enough to cause a room full of readers to voice their opinio ...more
Sep 05, 2007 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.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
I thought this book was amazing when I first read it, and am so utterly horrified at myself now.
Stephanie Briones
Aug 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2020
3.5 stars. A fast paced and easy read that taught me more about the importance of perspectives and thinking/speaking for others. I would recommend this book to others more for the conversation that would spark based on the concepts of the book as opposed to the storyline.
Jun 03, 2008 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
Adam Batten
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Personal Response:
I really liked the book, Stuck In Neutral, a lot. It was one of the best books that I have ever read. I will definitely rate this book five stars on Goodreads, because it was one of the best books I have ever read. It was also a great way to learn the perspective from someone who has a mental condition. I hope to read the second book to learn more about main character, Shawn, and what happens to him later in his life.

The book, Stuck In Neutral, was a great story that mak
Carter Greening
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 31, 2017 added it
Personal Response: I liked Stuck In Neutral by Terry Trueman. It kept me interested and made me guess what the outcome was going to be. Before I read the book, I thought parents always enjoyed their kids presence, but learned that not all parents do. I liked that Shawn always tried to do his best, even though he had to overcome some obstacles.

Plot : The book was about a boy named Shawn who had Cerebral Palsy. His dad, Sydney, left after Shawn was born, because of his seizures and cerebral palsy
Christian Schloneger
The novel Stuck in Neutral is the story surrounding Shawn McDaniel, a fourteen-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. Shawn’s condition prevents him from controlling any of his basic functions, from blinking to swallowing his food. Shawn is not able to communicate with the rest of the world in any way, and so everyone sees him for just who he is on the outside. But what they don't know, is that Shawn is actually extremely smart, as he can remember everything that he has ever experienced. Unfortunatel ...more
Brandon Bastar
Personal response
I liked the book Stuck in Neutral. It gave great detail about how Shawn lived and all of the struggles he had to go through every day. Shawn was probably the smartest person alive, but he could not talk or walk. He was stuck in a wheelchair, and could not make any movement, people thought he was just retarded but he actually remembers everything that has ever happened in his life.

In the beginning of the book Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman, Shawn seemed like the ordinary
Brianne Vercellotti
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.

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. Due to his mental illness, Shawn suffered from seizures but he had a great ability to remember everything he heard. This ra
Feb 28, 2020 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Benjamin Merrell
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Stuck in Neutral was a very odd book. It was a cool idea, to kind of give an inside look at the mind of someone who everyone thinks is incompetent. It is cool also to give them such an obvious personality, like an actual 14 year old boy, instead of some intense genius that was trapped in an inhospitable body. The only problem I found with it is that the seizures don't make any sense to me. The only purpose I can see to them in the book is to make sure that Shawn doesn't narrate everything and gi ...more
Josh Harmon
The writing style of this book wasn't one to really catch my attention completely, but it was quite thought provoking and terrifying. It opened a whole other world of questions for me. Are the handicapped people that we are talking to like babies that are actually 10x smarter than us? Is my autistic brother completely aware of who i am, but just doesn't know how to express it the way that I do? The book was great, and I liked most of it, however, it was a bit repetitive and I do think that if it ...more
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-realistic
Shawn is trapped within his own body. As a severely disabled teen who is unable to communicate in any way, most people assume that Shawn is an idiot incapable of learning; yet this is far from the truth. Shawn remembers everything that anyone has ever said to or around him. And now he is beginning to fear that his father is planning to kill him.

This was truly an interesting look into what might be the life of someone like Shawn. It is easy to assume that we know or understand someone simply beca
Kai Rosenquist
Apr 18, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an intense story from the point of view of a teenage boy trapped inside his body by cerebral palsy. No one, including his family, knows he is aware and intelligent. It was disturbing to imagine what it would be like to be that alone.
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Class of 2015: Stuck in Neutral 2 7 Dec 15, 2014 11:13PM  
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Class of 2015: Stuck in Neutral 1 4 Nov 13, 2014 09:46PM  

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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.” 15 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?” 3 likes
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