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Rules of the Road

by Joan Bauer

Published by G.P. Putnam, 1998
201 pages
ISBN: 0-399-23140-4

Ages 13-16

Sixteen-year-old Jenna Boller is a shoe professional. A whirlwind salesperson at Gladstone's Shore Store in Chicago, she can juggle a weary mom and her three fidgety kids, a sore-footed woman looking for relief and a hard-to-please man all at once and make them each feel special. There is nothing disingenuous about Jenna, however. Bad shoes can make people's lives miserable, after all, and she believes in knowing her product and taking care of her customers. Still, Jenna's not sure why Mrs. Madeline Gladstone, retiring president of the Gladstone Shoe dynasty (176 outlets in 37 states) has singled her out. Mrs. Gladstone needs someone to drive her from Chicago to Dallas for the annual meeting of Gladstone's board of directors, stopping to check on various Gladstone Shoe Stores along the way, and she has chosen Jenna, with her six-month-old drivers license, for the job. Jenna is a witty, spirited young woman with a sharp sense for business, rocky self-esteem and a genuine passion for treating people right. As she and Mrs. Gladstone trek across the country in the older woman's Cadillac, Jenna must put all of her skills and knowledge about people to use as she builds a relationship with this imposing woman and then gets drawn into stopping a planned corporate takeover by Mrs. Gladstone's hard-hearted son that would change the service-oriented philosophy of Gladstone Shoe Stores forever. Joan Bauer's delightful comic writing shines in this outrageous, warm-hearted story. CCBC categories: Fiction for Teenagers.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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