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Authors: Caroline B. Cooney

Driver's Ed

BOOK: Driver's Ed
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Praise for
Driver's Ed

An ALA Best Book for Young Adults

An ALA Quick Pick for Young Adults

Editors' Choice

“A wrenching, breathlessly paced plot and an adrenaline-charged romance make Cooney's latest novel nearly impossible to put down.… This modern-day morality tale is as convincing as it is irresistible.”

Publishers Weekly
, Starred

“A poignant, realistic novel, with nicely drawn characters.”

Booklist, Starred

“Difficult to put down for its intensity.… Wonderfully written, and very realistic.”

Voice of Youth Advocates

Driver's Ed

Novels by Caroline B. Cooney

The Lost Songs

Three Black Swans

They Never Came Back

If the Witness Lied

Diamonds in the Shadow

A Friend at Midnight

Hit the Road

Code Orange

The Girl Who Invented Romance

Family Reunion

Goddess of Yesterday

The Ransom of Mercy Carter

Tune In Anytime

Burning Up

What Child Is This?

Driver's Ed

Twenty Pageants Later

Among Friends

The Time Travelers
, Volumes I and II

The Janie Books

The Face on the Milk Carton

Whatever Happened to Janie?

The Voice on the Radio

What Janie Found

What Janie Saw
(an ebook original short story)

Janie Face to Face

The Time Travel Quartet

Both Sides of Time

Out of Time

Prisoner of Time

For All Time

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Text copyright © 1994 by Caroline B. Cooney
Cover illustration copyright © by Jackie Parsons

All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. Originally published in hardcover by Delacorte Press in 1994.

Delacorte Press is a registered trademark and the colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc.

Visit us on the Web!

Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at

The Library of Congress has cataloged the hardcover edition of this work as follows:
Cooney, Caroline B.
Driver's Ed / Caroline B. Cooney.
p. cm.
Summary: Three teenagers' lives are changed forever when they thoughtlessly steal a stop sign from a dangerous intersection and a young mother is killed in an automobile accident there.
eISBN: 978-0-307-81888-1
[1. Automobile driving—Fiction. 2. High schools—Fiction. 3. Schools—Fiction. 4. Death—Fiction. 5. Vandalism—Fiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.C7834 Dr 1994

Random House Children's Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.


for friends
especially Lynne and Harold
and music teachers
especially Tahme


Remy Marland crossed her fingers and prayed to the God of Driver's Education that she would get to drive today. Remy's fingers were splayed on the denim of her torn, pale blue jeans, inches from the second most desirable piece of laminated paper on earth. (The first, of course, was her future driver's license.)

Next to her, Christine prayed not to drive today or ever. Poor Christine held her shiny name tag in her lap, ready for Remy to snatch up.

“All right, class,” said Mr. Fielding. He didn't look at them, because he never looked at them. He looked only at his enrollment book. “Remy, Christine, and Morgan will drive with me today.”

“Yes!” yelled Remy. She didn't have to exchange a name tag after all. She jumped up so fast, she knocked her books on the floor, tried to grab them, and tripped over Taft's extended legs.

This was not clumsiness. It was calculated. Remy was the Distraction Princess, because even Mr. Fielding might one day catch on to what was happening.

“I love driii-ving,” sang Remy. She had a beautiful voice, and enough poise to sing her way through all her
classes. The class smiled indulgently at her, the way you smile at a favorite pet.

Christine lay low. Many hands stretched out to grab Christine's name tag so they could go driving in her place, but Lark, of course, got there first. Lark was small, almost a shadow of the other girls in the class, but her shadow was invariably at the front of the line.

“Taft,” said Mr. Fielding, “you and Chase show the class this film on drug and alcohol abuse. Everybody behave. Mrs. Bee will be watching.”

With a huge melodramatic gesture Mrs. Bee, their elegant librarian, threw sunglasses on the bridge of her nose to let Mr. Fielding see that no, she would not be watching.

Driver's Ed was assigned to a glass-walled cubicle off the library, making the unfortunate librarian responsible for supervising the kids not going driving. Mrs. Bee pointed out that if this were a sport, the coach would get extra money for handling an extra group. Librarians never got extra money for anything, so Mrs. Bee wore her sunglasses and supervised nothing.

The class had given her earplugs as well, which Mrs. Bee was perfectly willing to wave in Mr. Fielding's face (or the principal's, should he come by), but she said they felt icky, and just to close the glass door for auditory privacy. Auditory privacy was almost always needed.

Remy bundled Mr. Fielding through the library. She had to set the pace or half the period would be wasted just approaching the Driver's Ed car.

Remy gave a circular wave to the left-behinds. “Now, children,” she called back. “No gossip. No sick
cartoons drawn on the blackboard. No carving of four-letter words into somebody's crew cut.”

Jealous would-be drivers snarled and then laughed. Remy got more turns at driving than anybody, and most of the time it was okay. The boys—since they were boys and therefore thick—did not know why Remy was always getting other people's turns. The girls—since they were girls and grade-A schemers—understood perfectly.

Remy Marland was in love with Morgan.

Morgan, however, didn't know she existed. Since true love is a beautiful thing that requires two participants, the girls didn't mind switching so Remy could have extra turns in the backseat with Morgan.

Remy admired Morgan from the rear. From all angles Morgan Campbell was worthy of adoration.

“You drive, Remy,” said Mr. Fielding, checking her off on his clipboard.

Remy exulted. It would have been wonderful to sit in back with Morgan, but it was more wonderful to drive. She slid behind the wheel, surveying her instrument panel like a bomber pilot heading to the battlefield.

Remy did not know where she was going, but one thing for sure.

She was going to get there fast.

river's Ed was like so many things about school.

If the parents only knew …

Mr. Fielding would take three kids: two in the backseat observing while one drove; he himself the front passenger.

Off they'd go, straight onto the turnpike, at that
terrifying cloverleaf where both interstates merge. Mr. Fielding explained that since fear was a problem for new drivers, the first thing student drivers must do on the road was conquer fear.

He himself didn't even have interest, let alone fear. Mr. Fielding would listen to his Walkman. His favorite talk station specialized in money discussions. Now and then Mr. Fielding would tell everybody how to invest their pensions.

A fifteen- or sixteen-year-old who'd never before held a steering wheel in his two shaking hands had one hundred yards in which to accelerate to sixty-five miles per hour. Then, either there was a space between the trucks and cars whipping past on their way to distant states … or there wasn't.

Either the student merged … or he plowed along the shoulder, metal barriers sickeningly close to the right fenders and unforgiving traffic sickeningly close to the left fenders.

The two backseat drivers, sweaty with panic, would be sticking their fingers down the filthy seat cracks, trying to buckle their seat belts prior to collision. Once they realized Mr. Fielding was not going to get involved, they would scream hints of their own.

“Get in! Get in!”

“There's a space!”

“Quick! You're gonna kill us!”

The student driver would jerk the poor old battered Driver's Ed car into the correct lane.

Mr. Fielding would continue gazing out the right window instead of the left, watching the landscape and not the traffic.

Nobody had died yet, or even had an accident,
mainly because oncoming traffic didn't want to die or have an accident either.

BOOK: Driver's Ed
5.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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