The book Pileup on Highway 254 by Scarlett Lautner starts out with Emma Blackwell and her son Cameron witnessing a plane crash near Richmond, Virginia. They investigate, and find all passengers dead. The pilots, however, have survived. The plane wasn't very big. Emma drags the pilots out with Cameron's help, and they lose both pilots. One week later, Cameron celebrates his birthday. At his birthday, his cousin becomes sick, and ends up in the hospital. Cameron gives one of his presents to her, thinking she would like it. She accepts the present, and falls unconscious, and doctors rush her to surgery. A few days later, Cameron and his best friend James Sullivan go to the park to hang out. Cameron's dad arrives, and tells him that they need to go pick up his sister at her friend's house. They argue about it, and his father says that his mother went to the store. However, on the way there, a car blows a tire, causing a chain-reaction pileup, involving 102 cars. During the wreck, Cameron's father is killed when his neck is broken by the impact of the driver-side door. Cameron is thrown from the car, and wakes up minutes later and sees the destruction of the cars. He goes around, looking for his father, and finds him dead. He calls his mother using his dad's phone, and his mother says that they were involved too. He searches for her, and when he finally finds her, he sees that his sister has been badly hurt. Later that day at the hospital, Cameron wakes up and sees his wounded sister sleeping in the bed next to him. His mother greets him minutes later with his uncle and her boss from work, who came to visit. Cameron tells his uncle that his brother did a stupid thing, getting himself killed and his son nearly killed also. They then both calm him down, saying that he had no way of knowing, and, plus, his mother, who had left to go to the store (and who he thought was still at home) was involved also. He said he'd never been so confused in his life. He got up and walked to his sister, who was now awake. He told her, and everyone, that he would start doing things for the family. The doctor then walks in, saying that Cameron should stay in the hospital just for a couple of days to be checked out, and he also says that the injuries he sustained were nothing to be worried about. He then asks Cameron what he had been doing, and he says to the doctor that he was becoming a better member of the family.
Scarlett Lautner originally got the idea from a pileup she heard about that happened in Michigan a year before. She researched it awhile, and on October 15, 2006, said she was going to write a book about it. She wrote and published 5 books in between the first announcement and the day she started writing it. She was going to originally call it, "Pileup on Route 254", but changed it to "Pileup on Highway 254" just shortly before she started writing it. She still doesn't know why. She stated in an interview that she thinks she may have done it because it sounded better. The book was released June 26, 2007, when Scarlett was only 12 years old. The book did well, selling well over 1,000,000 copies in just two months. She did a special book signing at the Toys 'R' Us Times Square.
Scarlett Lautner didn't think of making a sequel at first, as she stated in an interview after the book's release that the ideas she had planned for the book wouldn't really need a sequel or series. However, fans on her site begged her to make a sequel, and she then started jotting down ideas in her signature Copyright notebook. The book's sequel was released on September 18, 2008, and was titled, "The Aftermath of Highway 254". It follows Cameron, his mother, his sister and Emma's boss, James, who has been crippled in another pileup that was supposedly started by a driver who was involved in the pileup of highway 254. Another pileup happens, this time killing Emma's boss and severely wounding Cameron. Scarlett said she didn't think the book would do very well, but it sold over 1,000,000 copies by December.
Famed director Christopher Nolan announced shortly after Scarlett Lautner's death on Christmas Day that he would very much like to do a film version of Pileup on Highway 254. In March of 2013, he finished the script to the film. Filming is likely to start in late 2013.