A Joe Lansdale novel without any cussin'? Surely you jest.
I'm not jesting, and don't call me surly. Fender Lizards is aimed straight at the YA crowd. It's a sweet coming-of-age novel set in (where else) East Texas, in which a 17-year-old high-school dropout (cue up Frankie Avalon in Grease, with slight word changes). Her name is Dot Sherman, and she and her sister, Raylynn, who's living with a ne'er-do-well named Tim, work at the Dairy Bob for low wages with no future to speak of for either of them. Tim smacks Raylynn now and then, but she stays with him.
Things start to change, however, when Dot finds out about Tim and gives him a going-over with a two-by-four plank. This isn't a recommended step in the right direction, but it proves that Dot isn't just a passive young woman who's going to drift through life. She's a take-charge kind of person.
Dot lives in a trailer with her mother, her brother, and her grandmother. The father is long gone, having just walked away and never come home. Raylynn moves back in, which crowds things. And then Uncle Elbert shows up. He says he's the uncle they never knew, the brother of the long-gone husband. He sets up housekeeping in his van parked next to the trailer.
Since Dot and her fellow employees at the Dairy Bob skate to serve the cars that stop by, she gets the idea that they could form a roller derby team and take on the team with a carnival that's coming through town. There's a big cash prize for any team that can beat the carnies. It just happens the Elbert is an expert skater, who once made a living as a skating clown.
A number of other things happen, but I don't want to spoil your fun by telling you what they are. I'll tell you what doesn't happen, though. No cussin', no murders, no real crimes of consequence (not counting Dot's little encounter with Tim). Laughs, you bet. Wisdom? Sure. Don't let the fact that this is a YA novel put you off. It's great stuff, and you'll enjoy every word. Trust me.