Published by Flux Books on February 1st 2011
Sadie Lester has been dumped with relatives for the summer. Boredom seems inevitable in her small Minnesota town until she meets Allie—a spiky-haired off-road biker with incredible grace and speed. Training for the upcoming bike race, Allie leads Sadie and cute fellow cyclist Joe up and down Mount Kato—an exhilarating rush that pushes their limits. The fun ends abruptly when they stray off the trail and find a priest, badly beaten and near death. After calling for help, Allie mysteriously disappears from their lives.
Just like the trash littering the beautiful river bluffs, there's something foul afoot. Creepy rednecks are prowling the woods, the same ones who ran Sadie and Allie off the road one night. It's not until the day of the big race that Sadie finally learns the startling truth about Allie, her connection to the priest, and what drove her into hiding.
I love the mystery behind Allie when you meet her in the book, how tough she is and how unwilling to reveal any type of contact information to Sadie. It becomes apparent that something is going on pretty much from the start when it comes to Allie. She won't share a lot about herself with Sadie except for her love of riding. When Joe comes along and steals Sadie's attention just a bit, you can feel the tension between the characters.
There were some graphic moments and definitely scary moments in this book that really will shock you. I loved the realistic nature of this book and how it touches on subjects that are not often broached with the finesse that the author managed with her writing. Also, I love a nice, somewhat wrapped up ending and you get some closure with this novel that is much needed.
I really think it was the characters that made this book. Each had their own problems to solve and they had a decent support system to keep them going. Sadie is the main character, a girl who is dealing with her parents divorce and being shoved off to her aunt's house for the summer while they are in Egypt.
Joe is a boy who is recovering from the loss of his twin brother, a tragedy that has made a big impact on his life. And Allie, well she's a strong, yet fragile character. One of those characters that tries their best to seem aloof and strong yet has this hidden side to them.
And the bad guys were super creeps and scared me when reading about them. Those are some characters I would hope never to run into in real life.
Final Verdict: I think there's a lot you can relate to in this book as a reader, loss of family, divorce, helping a friend in need… Definitely an eye-opening book that handles some big issues.