Cover image for
She rides shotgun
Harper, Jordan,

Personal Author:
First edition.
Physical Description:
257 pages ; 24 cm
Pub Date:
Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2017]


Home Location
Material Type
Shelf Number
Library Materials Services - Houston Public Library Adult Being acquired by the library Item on order XX(1980639.2)
Central - Houston Public Library Adult Fiction Book HARPE
Looscan - Houston Public Library Adult Fiction Book HARPE
Hillendahl - Houston Public Library Adult Fiction Book HARPE
Park Place - Houston Public Library Adult Fiction Book HARPE
Freed-Montrose -- Houston Public Library Adult Fiction Book HARPE
Young - Houston Public Library Adult Fiction Book HARPE
Heights - Houston Public Library Adult Fiction Book HARPE

On Order





NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2017 BY St. Louis Post-Dispatch * Booklist

A propulsive, gritty novel about a girl marked for death who must fight and steal to stay alive, learning from the most frightening man she knows--her father.

Eleven-year-old Polly McClusky is shy, too old for the teddy bear she carries with her everywhere, when she is unexpectedly reunited with her father, Nate, fresh out of jail and driving a stolen car. He takes her from the front of her school into a world of robbery, violence, and the constant threat of death. And he does it to save her life.

Nate made dangerous enemies in prison--a gang called Aryan Steel has put out a bounty on his head, counting on its members on the outside to finish him off. They've already murdered his ex-wife, Polly's mother. And Polly is their next target.

Nate and Polly's lives soon become a series of narrow misses, of evading the bad guys and the police, of sleepless nights in motels. Out on the lam, Polly is forced to grow up early: with barely any time to mourn her mother, she must learn how to take a punch and pull off a drug-house heist. She finds herself transforming from a shy little girl into a true fighter. Nate, in turn, learns what it's like to love fiercely and unconditionally--a love he's never quite felt before. But can their powerful bond transcend the dangerous existence he's carved out for them? Will they ever be able to live an honest life, free of fear?

She Rides Shotgun is a gripping and emotionally wrenching novel that upends even our most long-held expectations about heroes, villains, and victims. Nate takes Polly to save her life, but in the end it may very well be Polly who saves him.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* When short-timer Nate McClusky kills a member of the Aryan Steel prison gang in Susanville, California, the victim's brother (who happens to be the gang's president) sends a death warrant from Supermax not only for Nate but also for his ex-wife, Avis, and his daughter, Polly. Nate survives his last week in prison but returns home to find Avis dead. Picking up 11-year-old Polly from middle school, he intends to drop her off with a relative until circumstances suggest the only way to keep her permanently safe is to take on Aryan Steel and hit them where it hurts. Polly is at first terrified (and contacts the police) but soon displays an aptitude for crime she's her father's daughter, after all and decides she wants to be more than just a passenger. Meanwhile, in chapters that read like mid-period James Ellroy, Detective Park searches the bleak and barren parts of California for the girl who now regrets her call for help. From its bravura prologue to its immensely satisfying ending, this first novel (Harper previously penned the short story collection Love and Other Wounds, 2015) comes out with guns blazing and shoots the chambers dry. It's both a dark, original take on the chase novel and a strangely touching portrait of a father-daughter relationship framed in barbed wire.--Graff, Keir Copyright 2017 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

At the start of Harper's visceral, pulpy, vernacular-filled first novel, introspective 11-year-old Polly McClusky has an unexpected reunion on the steps of her Southern California middle school with her estranged father, Nate. Nate has recently been released from Pelican Bay State Prison, where a gang known as Aryan Steel issued a death warrant for him and his family, including Polly's mom, Avis. Nate is committed to saving Polly from the Aryan Steel killers, though he's too late to prevent the brutal murder of Avis and her new husband. Nate, Polly, and her stuffed bear, who serves to articulate the swirling emotions that Polly hesitates to voice, go on the run, sought by not only the gang but also Det. John Park, who's investigating the murders. Nate and Polly's relationship blooms, despite their being in constant crisis-survival mode, as the action builds to a climax that's over-the-top but consistent with what has gone before. Expert pacing and well-developed characters lift this above the thriller pack. Harper is also the author of a story collection, 2016's Love and Other Wounds. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Eleven-year-old Polly knows little about her father, Nate, who has been in prison for most of her life. When he suddenly appears after school, in a car that doesn't belong to him, she is wary but goes with him. Nate isn't a man of many words, but watchful Polly learns that she can never return to her mother's house. Thanks to Nate's actions in prison, Polly isn't safe, and the next few weeks are a whirlwind of robberies, strength training, and brainstorming ways to survive the hit that the prison gang Aryan Steel has put out on the two of them. As in an episode of Breaking Bad, disaster constantly looms on the horizon. Readers will race through this nail-bitingly suspenseful novel as the duo wreak havoc on Aryan Steel establishments around Los Angeles. Harper's portrayal of the California underworld rings true, and the loving connection that develops between Polly and Nate is full of hope and promise. -VERDICT This emotional and fast-paced tale will stick with mature teens who appreciate gritty contemporary fare.-Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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