Junior year’s looking up for sixteen-year old Mike. Her new BFF isn’t a sadistic control freak, her boyfriend adores her, and she’s learning to bike in the mountains without decapitating herself on a tree. Well, almost. When she meets a group of riders who welcome her into their pack, she feels like she’s finally found where she belongs. One particular rider—a boy with an amazing smile and an even more amazing ability to see what she’s truly capable of—gives her the confidence to go after what she wants: her own life with her own rules. There’s only one problem—he’s not her boyfriend. Just as things seem to be falling into place, her parents put on the pressure to figure out her future—one that doesn’t include riding. Mike soon realizes that having everything isn’t that great when she’s not the one choosing it. She needs to decide if she’s going to continue to be a follower or step out of the shadows and find her own trail.
The Trail RulesFeatured
Juinor year is supposed to be a year of excitement. One last hurrah before life gets too serious. For Mike, it's a year of shrinking under the pressure from her parents about her future and falling out of love with the boy she thought would be hers for a long time.
Adventure comes for her in the form of a new passion- riding- and a new group of friends who push her beyond the limits she thought she had. Not to mention the boy with the intense gaze.
What I loved:
I know absolutely nothing about mountain biking and yet this story made me feel like I did. Mike is the perfect example of a teen at that point in their life. Life is about to change in a drastic way. Nothing ever stays the same, but the coming change is never so profound as it is during the final years of high school. It's that line into adulthood. Melanie Hooyenga encapsulates the tumultuous years with incredible skill.
The characters are so real, they're almost like friends.
What was just okay:
I was a bit sad for certain characters I'd loved in the first book, but I quickly got over that.
A well-done portrait of life at it's finest- when things end to make way for new challenges and excitement. When love trumps disappointment. And when we find out just how limitless we really are.
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.