Why We Took the Car

Wolfgang Herrndorf

Why We Took the Car
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Why We Took the Car

Wolfgang Herrndorf

A beautifully written, darkly funny coming-of-age story from an award-winning, bestselling German author making his American debut.

Mike Klingenberg doesn’t get why people think he’s boring. Sure, he doesn’t have many friends. (Okay, zero friends.) And everyone laughs at him when he reads his essays out loud in class. And he’s never invited to parties - including the gorgeous Tatiana’s party of the year.

Andre Tschichatschow, aka Tschick (not even the teachers can pronounce his name), is new in school, and a whole different kind of unpopular. He always looks like he’s just been in a fight, his clothes are tragic, and he never talks to anyone.

But one day Tschick shows up at Mike’s house out of the blue. Turns out he wasn’t invited to Tatiana’s party either, and he’s ready to do something about it. Forget the popular kids: Together, Mike and Tschick are heading out on a road trip. No parents, no map, no destination.

Will they get hopelessly lost in the middle of nowhere? Probably.

Will they meet crazy people and get into serious trouble? Definitely.

But will they ever be called boring again? Not a chance.


Mike Klingenberg has no friends. He believes this is because he is boring, which is cemented in his mind when he never receives an invite to the party of the year being held by the most popular girl in school (and the love of his life). With his alcoholic mother in rehab and his father on a business trip, Mike has the whole holidays to himself. That is until the new, slightly odd kid from school, Tschick, turns up at his house and makes himself comfortable.

With nothing to do but sit around and play video games, Mike and Tschick decide to take a road trip with no destination, no map and no mobile phones. They will take wrong turns, commit a couple of crimes and meet some eccentric people. But one thing is for sure: if they return, neither of them will be boring anymore.

Why We Took the Car is a heart-warming coming-of-age novel about two boys who form a beautiful, caring friendship that doesn’t judge or ridicule. In a world where male friendships are often portrayed as tough and blokey, Why We Took the Car does the opposite. Brilliant.

Ages 14 and up.

Katherine Dretzke is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.

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