Boys & Bikes
'The Trail Rules' by Melanie Hooyenga does a great job of capturing the personality and drama of main character Mike (full name: Mikayla) and how her friends and family factor into her life in easy and not-so-easy ways. The first sequel to 'The Slope Rules,' to be followed by another sequel later in 2018 titled 'The Edge Rules,' this particular novel follows Mike and her fascination with bike riding on the trails near where she lives.
Even though her love of riding stemmed from her relationship with boyfriend, Evan, she starts feeling different about him and life in general when she realizes that she craves trust and independence from the life she has known. Having given up some friends and her former lifestyle in recent months, for what she considers the better, she finds her way back to Evan. Their relationship seems wonderful and happy on the surface, but Mike is beginning to feel that Evan doesn't understand what she wants or needs, and it is hard for her to determine how to move forward - or not - as his girlfriend. He has been what she thought she wanted for so long, and reconciling her feelings about him with these new emotions she's feeling is harder than she could imagine.
Making her decision somewhat easier - and also harder, in a sense - is her interest in another trail rider named Mica and her parents' crackdown on her time studying. Even though they feel she should be home immediately after school to start her homework and only go out on the weekends, she finds herself drawn to the trail. Being name twins with Mica is only one of the factors that draws her to him and their mutual love of riding, but knowing he's not her boyfriend makes it hard to consider starting something up with him when and if she ends things with Evan. She wants to be challenged and supported, and the fact that the grass always seems greener on the other side makes Mica all that much more appealing (not that Evan is so bad to begin with).
Mike's trouble with making up her mind, figuring out how to deal with old friends who seem "off" even though she promised herself and others she'd stay away, and doing her best to take new steps in her life causes a good amount of strife and heartache. But so is life, and Mike learns this throughout the course of the novel while Hooyenga injects a solid amount of swoon-worthy scenes, biking lingo, and senses of understanding for Mike's troubles. A fun read that is good for not only lovers of contemporary romance, but also sports enthusiasts.