A Nice Follow-up to LOVE, LUCAS
Lucas Nelson loved Emmy Martin, but he waited until a week before he died of cancer to tell her that. Emmy had loved Lucas for years, but she kept quiet out of respect for their friendship, her friendship with Lucas's sister, and her belief that he only thought of her as a friend.
As SWITCHING GEARS by Chantele Sedgwick begins, it's been a month since Lucas died, and Emmy is understandably still grieving. Mountain biking is one way she copes with her loss, and her close relationship with her family along with the support of her best friend, Kelsie, help keep her going when missing Lucas seems too much to bear.
As she struggles to deal with he loss of Lucas, Emmy engages in a rivalry with another talented female mountain biker, Whitney. Emmy is also trying to figure out how she feels about Cole Evans, a handsome and persistent classmate and the captain of the school mountain biking team. And then when Emmy thinks that these are her biggest problems, her parents share the news that Emmy's mom has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's Disease, and Emmy's world is rocked one more time.
SWITCHING GEARS is a classic young adult love story. The action provided by the bike training and racing scenes helps keep the plot moving, and Emmy is a believable character as she reacts to the events happening around her. There came a point where I wondered what else this poor girl could be put through to help things progress, but the story was put together well, so none of Emmy's trials seemed too forced.
Emmy's reaction to her mom's diagnosis was well written, and Emmy's and Kelsie's friendship was natural and fun. Cole seemed a little too perfect, but after everything she had been through, I think Emmy deserved a little perfection, so I forgave Cole for being too good to be real. Emmy's nemesis, Whitney, was a bit of a stereotype, too, but there are a few references to a hidden depth to Whitney that save her from being one-dimensional.
Overall, SWITCHING GEARS is a quick read, and despite the sometimes heavy and depressing subject matter, it never gets bogged down in sadness and desperation. Kudos to Chantele Sedgwick for handling difficult themes while walking the fine line between hope and desperation with a light touch. It's the second book from the author that focuses on the aftermath of the death of Lucas Nelson (LOVE, LUCAS is the first), but both books stand alone.
My thanks to the publisher and YA Books Central for a copy of the book in exchange for my unbiased review.
Focus on mountain biking is unique