On the Road to Find Out – book review

On the Road to Find Out
by Rachel Toor
Realistic Fiction
* * * * Stars (Great!)

When Alice Davis discovers that she’s been rejected from Yale – the only college she wanted to attend – she feels lost.  She’s never failed at anything before in her life and she’s wallowing in self-pity like a champion.  She’s basically inconsolable until she makes a New Year’s resolution to start running (exercise is definitely NOT her thing), and slowly begins to pull out of her downward spiral as she gets more and more into her new hobby.  Running introduces her to a whole new group of people (Miles, in particular) and teaches her things about herself that she didn’t know.  She also discovers things about the people in her life – her family, her best friend Jenni, that she’d been oblivious to before.  This is a lovely story about self-discovery, friendship, and pet rats.  If you don’t want to at least meet a pet rat by the time you finish reading this, you are dead inside!

Excerpt (and spoiler alert):
Even so, I realized it’s not the worst thing to fall.
I want to throw myself into the world and at new things.  That means I will fail at some and succeed at others.
I will fall, I will fail, I will move on.
I want to know great devotions and great enthusiasms.
I have already experienced great love.  I was in love with someone who weighed less than a pint of milk and who couldn’t be bothered to keep his own tail clean.  Regardless of species or tail hygiene, I loved my rat, Walter.  And when he died, I learned – I’m learning – that I will survive the loss, even if it means the world will never look the same again.
I may be a reject.  But I am not a failure.  At least, not as long as I keep trying. (p. 300)

Reviewed by YA Librarian