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Highway to Hell (Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil) [Paperback]

Rosemary Clement-Moore
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Book Description

13 April 2010 Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil
Maggie Quinn was expecting to find plenty of trouble with Lisa over Spring Break. Destination: South Padre Island! Give a girl a bikini, a beachfront hotel, and an absent boyfriend, and it’s as good as a road map to the dark side. And Maggie and Lisa plan to enjoy every bit of it--just like nice, normal college freshmen. Fire, brimstone, and demonic sorority girls: these ladies are officially off the clock.
   But Maggie doesn’t have to go looking for trouble. Trouble has started looking for her. One dead cow and a punctured gas tank later, she and Lisa are stuck in Dulcina, Texas—a town so small that it has an owner. And--you guessed it--lately life in this small town hasn’t been all that peaceful. An eerie predator is stalking the ranchland. Cattle are dying mysteriously, with strange bite marks on their hides. And judging by the rising body count, whatever's doing the killing is getting bolder by the day.
   Everyone in town has a theory, but not even Maggie’s psychic mojo can provide any answers. And the longer the girls are stranded, the more obvious it becomes that something is seriously wrong. Only no one—not even Maggie’s closest ally—wants to admit that they could have been forced on a detour down the highway to hell.
   It looks like fighting evil isn'at a job with vacation time.

"A first-rate mystery."--School Library Journal


From the Hardcover edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 357 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (13 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385734646
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385734646
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,137,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too 9 April 2009
By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Maggie and Lisa are doing Spring Break - if only so Maggie can get a newspaper article out of it.

On the way there, they run over a dead cow in the middle of the road, which damages the car. The closest town isn't too far away, but it's a town in the middle of nowhere - and it takes some time to get the parts required.

While they wait, they discover that something's not right in the town. Animals are dying...and not naturally. Legend surrounds the town of a creature in history that might be back.

For Maggie and Lisa, fighting demons isn't new. They begin to investigate. However, not everyone takes kindly to their nosiness and not everyone is willing to talk. Things quickly get worse. Animals aren't the only ones getting hurt.

It's time to take action, even if it means going against very important people in town. Can Maggie and Lisa survive another fight with demons?

HIGHWAY TO HELL continues the fight of Maggie against demons, with her fabulous sidekick Lisa and her trusty white knight, Justin. The once-again solid friendship between Maggie and Lisa fills the story with tension and humor.

This is a fabulous supernatural series that will leave readers wanting more.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Girl Vs. Evil Spring Break: a demonic nexus & hexes in Texas 20 Mar 2009
By H. Bala - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
No worries. With HIGHWAY TO HELL, the third book in the Maggie Quinn: Girl Vs. Evil series, writer Rosemary Clement-Moore brings back most of the elements that made Prom Dates from Hell (Maggie Quinn: Girl vs Evil, Book 1) and Hell Week (Maggie Quinn: Girl vs Evil, Book 2) such enjoyable reads. So once more we're treated to the psychic visions and resulting headaches, the demon-researching and -fighting, the BFF moments, and the snarkiness. The only thing missing is Clement-Moore's biting digs at school politics, and that's because this time around Maggie is on furlough from academia. So get you a hammock in the shade and grab a pitcher of margaritas (if you're of age) and some carne asada - because Maggie Quinn is fighting evil and cracking jokes in southern Texas.

Except that, for Maggie and her best friend Lisa, it starts out as an innocent motor trip on their spring break holiday, until Maggie's Jeep rolls over a dead, ripped-up cow on a Texas highway and there goes the gas tank getting ruptured. So now the girls are stranded in nearby Dulcina, a tiny town seething with mutilated livestock and superstitious dread. And since Maggie is a little bit psychic and Lisa is a lot witchy (and a self-proclaimed "evil genius"), they're soon poking their noses into possibly paranormal shenanigans. The town locals murmur that the mythical El Chupacabra (translation: goat sucker) is behind all this. But Maggie senses that the true culprit might be an even more creepy critter: a demon!

With the current glut of teen fantasy books out there, Rosemary Clement-Moore's stuff is one of the better picks of the pack, and I think it's mostly to do with Clement-Moore's ability to make her target audience (da teens) identify with the main characters. And, also, her sense of humor is wicked and spot-on. She infuses snarkiness in her heroine Maggie Quinn and has plenty left over for Lisa the semi-sinister sorceress, and so the banter remains one of the highlights of the series. Now, the pace of this book tends to slow down at times, as a huge part of Maggie's snooping consists of interacting with the rustics and her learning of the local history and folklore. But the lighthearted tone and the fact that this story is so character-driven keep your eyeballs glued to the pages throughout. And, no worries, Maggie and co. do eventually get to have a satisfying massive throw-down with El Chupacabra, as psychic vision and witch-fu tag-team the rending, ravening Big Bad of the Lone Star State. Although, I can't help but feel that the Big Bad could've been more... well, more. El Chupy ultimately feels kinda lightweight.

If you've read the previous two novels, you'll sense some growth on Maggie's part. Months after her Sight reawakened (in PROM DATES FROM HELL), she's now become more accepting of her weird abilities. So, pretty much gone is Maggie's skepticism, although other insecurities and doubts tend to still nag her. She's not alone in this demon-thumpin' thing, of course. The group dynamic seems to break down to this: Maggie applies her Sight and intuition to probe supernatural mysteries and is the most take-charge of the bunch; Lisa is the sullen expert on spells; and Maggie's goody-two-shoes boyfriend Justin is the theorist (dude's college major lies in the field of mythology). And, with the introduction of Henry, Justin's cool best friend and priest-in-training, I guess now we also get the spiritual angle.

HIGHWAY TO HELL is also a change of pace in that Maggie is taken out of her comfy confines and thrust into a new venue. So, for her, no accessible parental or psychic grandmother support (although Grandma Quinn does show up to dispense advice in Maggie's dreams). Other than Lisa and, later, Justin and Henry, Maggie interacts with dusty leathery twangy-talkin' types, some of whom are quite interesting folks. Old school witchery is represented possibly in the persons of Hector, the friendly old barman who may just know more of what's going on supernaturally (and who reminds Maggie of an actor in ALIENS - and that's a compliment), and Doña Isabel, the secretive and unbending old matriarch of Velasquez County who cannot leave her demesne. And what's the deal with that shirt loaned to Maggie, which seems to have been cast with a protective spell? It's yet another reason Maggie believes that a bruja is hard at work in Velasquez County.

One dude I hope makes more appearances in future sequels is Henry the imminent priest (or as the severely sardonic Lisa calls him: the future friar). As you may guess, some caustic verbal barbs go down between him and Lisa (Maggie also gets in her licks). Speaking of Lisa, it's nice that she gets to indulge in flirty goings-on with the cute heir to the county. After her minimal role in HELL WEEK and her semi-estrangement from Maggie, we get a whole lot of Lisa in this book, and that's good. D&D Lisa may be semi-sinister and may have goofed bigtime in the past, but she is Maggie's best pal, and I can't help but like her irascible self.

This was another fun read, although I don't quite dig HIGHWAY TO HELL as much as I did PROM DATES FROM HELL. But I do like it as much as HELL WEEK. I think Clement-Moore's experiment - to switch things up and wrest Maggie away from the school backdrop - works. One thing I'm waiting on (and I hope it happens soon) is for the demons to have an even larger, more direct presence in the story and to be featured in a tighter, more cohesive continuity. Because so far each of these demons has come off looking like the mere McGuffin of its respective book, each of them strolling in off the wings to play this episode's contrived beastie. Or that's the feeling I get. I'm waiting for things to get even more serious, for the stakes to really ante-up, and then to see how our resourceful, banter-addicted heroine copes. Because I think she'll do more than okay. She's got a magical shirt.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, South Texas Fun and Supernatural Mystery! 14 April 2009
By C. Gaudiano - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Several reviewers before me have already written excellent synopses of 'Highway to Hell,' so I don't see a need to write yet another one.

It's a paranormal mystery set during Spring Break, on the way to South Padre Island. But Maggie Quinn's attitude toward Spring break is similar to Daria Morgendorfer's--it's something to be tolerated only if she can get something out of it--in this case, a story for her college newspaper.

Everything is going fine, until Maggie crashes her Jeep into the very messily-dead cow in the middle of the highway. Further weirdness ensues for Maggie and her best friend Lisa from there.

This book is full of richly-painted characters. Clement-Moore starts with Zeke Velasquez, grandson of the local ranch's matriarch--who is described by Maggie's clairvoyant impression of him--hard work, sweat, Sunday dinners with his grandmother, and the taste of spicy enchiladas. You know exactly what he's like, just from that little bit.

From there, we meet Theresa, the local bar owner, who is convinced that a creature called a chupacabra ("goat-sucker") is killing all the cattle. Then we meet Hector, her barman and possibly a brujo; David, a ranch tenant who would not be out of place looking for the Loch Ness Monster or any other notorious creature--and lastly, we meet Dona Isabel Velasquez, Guardian of the Velasquez ranch and a formidable witch. All of these characters, as well as Justin, Maggie's boyfriend, and Henry, a prospective priest who is Justin's best friend, come vividly alive in the pages of this book.

One thing I like about this book is that the constant use of name labels from 'Prom Dates from Hell' has been pretty much dropped. There are still a couple of refereces to 'D&D Lisa' and 'The Old Guys,' but in general, people are just referred to by their names, and what labels are used are endearing.

Another plus is that the characters are not cariacatures. So often, you see Texans wearing gratuitous cowboy hats and huge belt buckles. At least, when they wear those things in 'Highway to Hell,' they're actually being worn for work and not just because the character is a Texan.

'Highway to Hell' is well paced, with a clear and satisfying buld-up to the final climax. I like the blending of Indian, Mexican, and Catholic magical systems. I enthusiastically recommend this book to young-adult and older adult readers.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too 9 April 2009
By TeensReadToo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Maggie and Lisa are doing Spring Break - if only so Maggie can get a newspaper article out of it.

On the way there, they run over a dead cow in the middle of the road, which damages the car. The closest town isn't too far away, but it's a town in the middle of nowhere - and it takes some time to get the parts required.

While they wait, they discover that something's not right in the town. Animals are dying...and not naturally. Legend surrounds the town of a creature in history that might be back.

For Maggie and Lisa, fighting demons isn't new. They begin to investigate. However, not everyone takes kindly to their nosiness and not everyone is willing to talk. Things quickly get worse. Animals aren't the only ones getting hurt.

It's time to take action, even if it means going against very important people in town. Can Maggie and Lisa survive another fight with demons?

HIGHWAY TO HELL continues the fight of Maggie against demons, with her fabulous sidekick Lisa and her trusty white knight, Justin. The once-again solid friendship between Maggie and Lisa fills the story with tension and humor.

This is a fabulous supernatural series that will leave readers wanting more.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super fun supernatural mystery 16 April 2009
By Sarah J. Carlin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am a big fan of this series because it will appeal to a wide variety of teens. Maggie Quinn has psychic abilities, but she is still just learning how to use them. She often encounters demons and other supernatural beings and she tries to figure out how to banish them from earth. In the previous books the demons showed up at the prom and in a sorority house. This time they show up in a small ranch town in Texas in the form of demon chupacabras. Now it's up to Maggie and her best friend Lisa-(who does wiccan-like spells) to help this town. There is a lot of action and many encounters with the demons. Also, it's a mystery in which the reader learns a lot about folk lore and the supernatural while Maggie tries to figure out what the demon is, why it's there, and how to fight it. Another great entry into this fabulous series
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great entry in a fab series 27 Mar 2011
By Liviania - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
For those who haven't read the first two books in the series, don't worry. The only overarching plot so far is the main characters getting better at using their abilities and furthering their relationships. The books standalone quite well. Protagonist Maggie Quinn is snarky and capable, as is her best friend Lisa. (And Lisa is quite ready to call any guy out if he tries to be their white knight.) They're stranded in small town Dulcina, Texas when all they wanted to do is hang out on South Padre Island. Once more, Maggie has stumbled upon something that goes bump in the night.

What really struck me about this entry in the series is Rosemary Clement-Moore's addition of two new characters: a Catholic bruja and a seminary student. She does an excellent job of representing and respecting the theology without making it right or wrong. She applies the same weight to Lisa's New Age and science based ideas of how good should fight evil. It would be silly for a series about good and evil, set mostly in the real world, to ignore real theology. But it's also not the place of a YA novel to tell people what to believe. So I like that Clement-Moore handles the subject carefully and always puts telling the story first.

Funny, fresh, and fierce, HIGHWAY TO HELL will distract you from the boring parts of your own road trip. (And make you happy that the exciting parts don't include demons.)

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