Follow the struggles of a family that finds a unique way to help a member with PTSD in the novel, American Road Trip, which is a story you’re sure to love.
The Plot of American Road Trip
American Road Trip was written by Patrick Flores-Scott and was published in 2018. The book follows Teodoro, nicknamed “T” by close friends and family, as he tries to turn his life around and focus on making a future for himself. But there are many things that are distracting him; his childhood friend and the girl he loves, Wendy, is back in his life and he dreams of attending the same college as her.
His parents are struggling financially and have had to move into a small, impersonal rental. And Manny, Teodoro’s older brother, is finally coming home after a long time away serving in Iraq. But having Manny home isn’t at all what T, his parents, and his older sister Xochitl were expecting.
Manny is heavily affected by PTSD, so Xochitl does what seems the most reasonable thing to do: she tricks her brothers into a road trip from their home in Seattle to their uncle’s green chile farm in New Mexico, where she believes that once Manny reconnects with family members and precious memories, he will be able to clear his head of the terrible memories he created in Iraq, and their broken family will be healed.
Family Relationships and Realism
One of the most amazing things about American Road Trip is the depiction of the Avila family. They are not perfect, and in fact, are very fractured, and this fact comes up several times throughout the novel. They cry together, laugh together, sing and dance together, fight together, and eventually heal together. Flores-Scott does an amazing job of beautifully portraying how even though life sometimes gets in the way, sacrifices have to be made for your family.
T and Xochitl make many sacrifices for their brother, including spending their summer with him in New Mexico and putting their own dreams and plans on hold, and Manny works hard to make a change and to overcome what is haunting him. But it doesn’t come easily to the three siblings, and that is another great aspect of the book-how realistic the relationships and events are.
Their family isn’t perfect, and their problems are not solved quickly. It takes a lot to get the family back to having strong, loving bonds, and even then, the ending isn’t one hundred percent perfect, but it is just right for the story and its characters. Creative and Interesting Story and CharactersAlthough the actual road trip in American Road Trip doesn’t kick off until over a hundred pages in, the story is never boring and constantly has interesting moments.
At the beginning of the story, readers are drawn in with T’s unique character and his fantastic character development, as he goes from a lazy teenager with a lackluster future to a dedicated young man who learns about the sacrifices that have to be made for family and how hard work will help secure his future.
Xochitl, the middle sibling, and the only girl is a strong female character who is willing to do anything that will help her older brother, including giving up her dream of singing and playing in a band. The novel intertwines the plot lines of T’s plans for his future, his love for Wendy, and his family struggles, as well as a road trip with his brother and sister.
The road trip is a creative idea that leads the siblings back to extended family members who help the three remember how things used to be. The green chile farm in New Mexico is another creative element that further advances the plotline. American Road Trip thoroughly develops its main characters who all have different personalities and goals, and this leads to a very interesting novel that grabs the reader and doesn’t let them go until the end.
Themes and Messages Found in American Road Trip
Many heartwarming messages and themes can be obtained from this book, including some about family, sacrifice, hard work, love, perseverance, and dreams. The road trip from Washington to New Mexico shows how even though families can become weak and go through rough patches, in the end, they can become strong again and will always be there for each other. T learns how setting goals and having dreams, as well as fighting to attain them, helps him to shape who he wants to become.
T also learned about the huge amount of love he has for Manny, Xochitl, and his parents, as well as Wendy, with whom he also goes through some ups and downs. In the end, American Road Trip shows that even through hardships, families will be there for each other.
This novel has definitely earned five stars out of five and will tug on the heartstrings of all who turn its pages.