Rules of the Road: Book Review

Written by Faith Ralston

Rules of The Road by Joan Bauer is the kind of book that makes a timid person stand up and make his voice heard. It tells the story of Jenna Boller, a high school junior who’s still reeling from the disappointment of getting demoted from center forward to second string on the basketball team, and the endless disappointments brought on by her alcoholic father.

During Jenna’s sophomore year, she started working at Gladstone’s Shoe Warehouse, and quickly became the most talented sales person at her store. She escapes her family drama, her feelings of inadequacy, and her day to day life by working at the store. It is her sanctuary, the only place where she feels comfortable and confident with herself. She can sell anything and works hard to give customers exactly what they’re looking for.

One day; however, her past comes face to face with her while she’s at the store, and she wishes more than ever to escape her life. She agrees to drive Madeline Gladstone, the owner of all Gladstone stores, to Texas, and she finally gets the chance she has been looking for to get away from her hometown. Mrs. Gladstone is retiring and her son is taking over, but his plans for the stores put the Gladstone tradition in jeopardy. He wants to sacrifice the quality of the shoes to turn a bigger profit, and disgrace everything his parents worked so hard to create. The unlikely pair visits Gladstone stores down the east coast, trying to rally support and find a way to save the company from selling out.

Can Jenna help Mrs. Gladstone save the integrity of the stores she loves so dearly? Can Jenna and Mrs. Gladstone help each other stand up for themselves to the people they love who are hurting them, and fight for what is right? Find out in Rules of the Road.