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The Car

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,253 ratings  ·  209 reviews
Neglected by his parents, fourteen-year-old Terry Anders is used to taking care of things on his own. He even manages to assemble a car kit by himself. When the car is finished, Terry sets off from Cleveland to Portland in search of an uncle he barely remembers. Along the way, he is joined by a wise Vietnam vet who turns his journey into an adventure in learning.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1994)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,253 ratings  ·  209 reviews

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Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Like many of Gary Paulsen's novels, The Car has much to do with the author sorting out his own life by telling similar stories for young readers, sifting the wheat from the chaff to gain perspective on what it all means. Life is a complicated, sometimes ugly mess to comb through; we can't be sure of our own motives and intentions, let alone figure out how other people work and comment authoritatively on their journey. But Gary Paulsen never quits trying to understand, and in 1994 The Car became ...more
Keagan Baughman
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’m reading the book The Car by Gary Paulsen. In my opinion, it is a great book. In the book there is a kid named Terry. Terry’s parents left him. So he found a kit car in his garage and he puts it together. He calls it the Cat and he is on his wayto his uncles he finds someone on the way and picks him up. Then a little later in the story someone throws a bottle at the Cats window and shatters it. I like how there was suspense and action. One other thing I liked about the book is that the author ...more
Hazuki Bacon
The car was a really interesting book. The two old mysterious vetarns that live by the go. Terry is just a young kid abonded by bother parents and nothing but a car, some equipment, and the road ahead of him. They go on this journey and its really fun to read. I reccomend this book to anyone who likes an adventure.
Timon Davis
Jun 03, 2018 rated it liked it
The part of the book that caught my eye was that the destination was Oregon. I honestly have no interest in cars but this book actually turned out more interesting then I thought. I really like the determination the kid showed at building that car and getting across the country.
Apr 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Gary Paulsen always seems to write books that can captivate a reader, and The Car is no exception. I really enjoyed how The Car actually teaches you a few random facts as Terry and Waylon, and eventually Wayne, go around the country learning things. First off, the book does a good job at portraying life on the road, but there are a few unrealistic things in the book. Probably the most convenient and unrealistic one is that both of Terry's parents leave him on the same exact day because they cann ...more
Mashfee Alam
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Car by Gary Paulsen was a great book filled with exciting moments. There was a lot of suspense in this book and some moments like the fights really made you think. The characters are amazing and diverse. They each have their own interesting backgrounds and traits. All the characters heavily contribute to the plot, not only the main character. Also, after reading just a couple of pages, you will want to read more because of the exciting events that keep on making you ask "What's going to happ ...more
So I decided to re-read this book basically on a whim. I read it once or twice when I was about 12 or 13 and really liked it then and wanted to see if it was as good as I remembered.
A simple way to describe this book is... too short. This book could have easily been twice as long as it was. I still enjoyed it just as much as I did when I was younger, but this time I was kind of confused as to why he chose to end the book where he did. It almost seems like Paulsen had a deadline and just turned
Neil Robarge
Sep 08, 2012 rated it liked it
I feel like there should've been a part 2 to this book because at the end they end up in Montana (or something, I can't remember) and then after the characters leave this restaurant and move on to portland, oregon, the story just kind of... ends and I was disappointed because I wanted to hear more from this story. it was a great book from one of my favorite authors.
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this some years ago and still remember the impact it had on me. I started thinking like I was 14 again. It is a fun read for any guy who dreamed of cars and adventure as a kid.
Kelly McCarthy
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
The realistic fiction novel The Car by Gary Paulsen is an attention grabbing book that I really enjoyed. When Terry wakes up one morning and realizes that his parents have been gone for two days, he finds some interesting things to do. He decides to rebuild his Dad's car that has been sitting in the garage for years, which then as a fourteen year old decides to go drive and leave his old life behind. Through this journey Terry meets plenty of new friends and enemies. He learns a lot about himsel ...more
Sep 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Summary of book: This book The Car, by: Gary paulsen is about a kid who is 14 , gets abandoned, and he finds the car his father never finished building in the garage and decided to build it.

What I thought of the book: I thought the book was OK. The reason it wasn't good, like amazing, is because, I think it could have progressed a lot faster. The point is t was kind of the same parts over and over again, and I understand the author is just trying to get sensory detail but, it was kind of really
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
I got this book from my mom, who was cleaning out her books. This was a very quick read and ended up being okay. I think it would appeal most to middle grade/YA boys.

This is about a 14 year old boy who parents leave him. He ends up building a car from a car kit and decides to head West on an adventure. On the way he meets some old vets and they end up showing him some old time sites that drive home what it means to be an American.

Overall it was a well written story and was easy to read. It ends
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"The cat left the road at sixty, was airborne three feet, then dropped into a ditch in a whipping sea of grass and dust"(pg 70). in my book whats happening so far is terry parents don't care about what terry does and how he does it, his parents don't really even care a bout him since he was born his parents have always ignored him so he left them in seek to find his uncle. And what I see coming up next in the next chapter is probably them getting caught by the cops. the parts in to book that I a ...more
Jacob Hayes
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
My reaction to this book was sad when they were talking about how his parents neglected him and they did not care about his well-being. it makes me happy about how positive he was in the situation and the way he dealt with things. it was eally shocking when his mom called him and said she is done, and the dad right after it was really surprising, but what also surprised me was how he was not shocked or sad at all.
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Car by Gary Paulsen was a very interesting book because this boy named Terry had a sad life until he got his dad's abandoned car in the garage. Terry is a 14-year old that was abandoned from his own mom and dad so basically, he was raising himself. His dad's car that was in the garage was not in a good shape. The car was called KIT but after he builds the car it was now called the CAT.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not a bad story, but not my favorite. It was a very slow moving, relaxing story of learning what can't be learned in a textbook on a road trip with some experienced veterans. Not my kind of story though. Not much happened, but that was the point. Just learning on a car ride. Read if that's your thing!
Tom Geoffrion
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thought The Car was a good book. It is about a boy named Terry who is 14 and his parents fight all the time and neglect him. One day his parents both decided to leave without telling each other they were gonna leave. Terry is ok with them leaving and decides to keep building his kit car in the garage.
Donny Forbes
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Terry is a young man of 14 when his parents separately abondon him on the same night, leaving him just an old kit car in the garage. Deciding to make the best of his dilemma he builds the car and sets of west, with the help of a couple old timers and his new car The Cat he explores the meaning of trucking and learns a little about life.
Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it
I re-read this because I remember it affecting me a lot as a child. It's not something I would have typically liked because I wasn't interested in cars or the military but I think the veteran being gay and that not being an issue was a big deal to me. And that the lonely boy found people who cared about him.
Rachel Meyers
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-books
It was a pretty cool story, but all of the Gary Paulsen books that I've read have been strikingly similar... A kid left alone under extreme circumstances and he survives. This one isn't for kids, but the others would have been ok for kids.
Rachel Boni
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not a lot of backstory, you are thrown into this mess with a young boy and his adventures that all happen in a short time. The bond he shares with these men who obviously need him as much as he needs them are inspiring. My son enjoyed it!
Alicia Terrill (ReadCover2Cover)
Not my thing, but I was reading it because it is part of the 9th grade curriculum at the school where I work. I can see how some of the boys might really enjoy this. I just didn't find it that interesting or enjoy reading about fixing the car in the way that others might.
Noah G
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The book The Car, by Gary Paulsen is a very interesting book that is similar to Voss, by David Ives and Salt, by Maurice Gee. They are similar because they both have the main character meet an interesting person that affects their judgement in a positive way. They learn a lot along the way and become more open while learning to care for people as well. They learn how to overcome fears and do what’s right.

Terry Anders from Cleveland, Ohio is the main character in this book. You learn more and mor
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
The main character was Terry Anders. His problem was his dad died and his mom doesn't care about him.I liked the book because it talks about cars and he built one so he encouraged me when I read so I would want to build one later on in the future. I didn't like how his mom doesn't even like him and his mom has a boyfriend after his dad died.
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Easy, fun read; highly enjoyable.
Galion Public Library Teens
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Review by L.M. : "I like the whole book and the idea of a road trip with my friends. People who like Gary Paulsen will like."
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
boy builds a car and drives it acorrst amaeraca.
Lucas Neuenswander
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved the book, hated the ending. Like...wha?
Robert Deschain
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adolescent-read
Absolutely wonderful book.
Brad Mitchell
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A book about independence and the revelations that can be had through road tripping through your country.
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Although he was never a dedicated student, Paulsen developed a passion for reading at an early age. After a librarian gave him a book to read--along with his own library card--he was hooked. He began spending hours alone in the basement of his apartment building, reading one book after another.

Running away from home at the age of 14 and traveling with a carnival, Paulsen acquired a taste for adve

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