Excerpt from Raising Wrecker by Summer Wood, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Raising Wrecker

A Novel

By Summer Wood

Raising Wrecker
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Feb 2011,
    304 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2012,
    304 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

A muffled snore escaped from the boy, and Len risked a look in his direction. Wrecker. What kind of a name was that? Slumped against the door with his neck bent at an unnatural angle and his short legs jammed straight out on the seat. Len shifted his grip on the wheel and blinked his gaze forward. The highway buckled into green hills between each sleepy little town. Two hours down, now, and they still had four to go, a hundred miles north on narrow roads before they turned and threaded night- blind through the giant trees, up and down the winding mountain nearly to the sea. When the few buildings of Cloverdale loomed ahead, Len pulled in and parked in the lot of a diner. He was too weary to make a straight shot of it. “Boy?” Len said, and reached a big hand to jiggle the kid’s shoulder. Wrecker. It would take some getting used to. “You want something to eat?”

Wrecker blinked a few times and reached a hand to wipe away the spit that dampened his cheek. Len hadn’t noticed the boy’s blue eyes before. Stormy. The color of sea- squall, not clear sky. “I have to pee.”

“Pee? Oh.” Len wrinkled his forehead. “That.” He got out of the truck and crossed to the other door and unbuckled Wrecker and lifted him down, and they stood there awkwardly for a moment, while Len wondered if he should carry the boy, or take his hand, or simply walk ahead and hope he would follow. He had settled on the last when the door to the diner flapped open and two men and a woman walked out.

Len sagged. Four hours from home, and his Mattole neighbors were marching straight at him. Charlie Burrell bleated a greeting, and his wife moved in to lay a sympathetic hand on Len’s elbow. “Hullo, dear,” she said. Greta was a decent woman with a face as broad and bland as a saucer. “How’s Meg?”

Len’s gaze swerved aground. Six months had passed since his wife had gone in for a root canal and come home with an infection that spread into her brain and rampaged like a wild beast.

Penicillin saved her life, but it couldn’t save her mind. “Meg?” Len answered gruffly, glancing back up. “Meg’s fine.” The same, he clarified. The doctors didn’t think she’d change much from how she was now.

Charlie shuffled and grunted. “Hell of a thing,” he mumbled. He glanced at his wife, and his voice veered toward belligerence. They’d had some news. “Junior got his draft notice,” he announced. The son, thick and sullen, stood behind and pretended deafness. “I believe he’ll go, but Greta here . . .”

Len watched the woman’s lips tighten and her body inch away from her husband’s. She kept her gaze trained on a spot just past Len’s shoulder, and answered in clipped tones. Their neighbor had troubles of his own without them burdening him with theirs, Greta said. She flashed Len a quick glance, and her voice softened slightly. He should take care of himself, now. She would stop over to see Meg soon. Len nodded. He breathed out as they left. He settled his cap back on his head, paused a moment to reset his balance, and remembered the boy.


Len circled the truck and scanned the parking lot.

“Kid?” He called twice, his voice tight and low. He swung his head toward the road to make sure the boy wasn’t trapped in traffi c, and then he hurried across the lot at awkward angles, checking between the cars. Len rushed inside and anxiously searched the faces. A boy, he stammered, taking hold of the waitress. Had she seen him? A little one. His eyes lit on a stool at the counter. “Maybe this tall.”

“Whoa, there,” she said, steadying him. “You lost your kid?” She studied Len’s panicked face and then turned to the diners. “Any y’all seen this man’s boy? ’Bout yay high.” She gestured to her hip and then turned back to Len. “How old?” Her eyes widened.

Excerpted from Wrecker by Summer Wood. Copyright © 2011 by Summer Wood. Excerpted by permission of Bloomsbury. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...
  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  254Cartwheel:
    Jennifer duBois
  2.  170The Weight of Blood:
    Laura McHugh

All Discussions

Who Said...

It is always darkest just before the day dawneth

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.