NIGHT SPEED by Chris Howard


Age Range: 14 - 18
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A world-weary teen faces the end of her superpowered-cop career.

Adopting a fight-fire-with-fire strategy, New York City’s experimental Tetra Response Unit employs teens as runners, offering them a steady supply of TTZ, or tetra, so they can be as fast and strong as the breaknecks—drug-fueled teen criminals—they are trying to catch. But the rush cannot last forever, for each runner must stop when puberty does, and time is running out for Alana West. The Feds are angling to shut down the team; she hasn’t found the breakneck who landed her brother, Reuben, in a wheelchair; and she is almost 18. After a bust goes bad and Alana ends up a scapegoat, she accepts an undercover assignment to find the street dealer who supplies the breaknecks. Driven by revenge, rage, and a barely acknowledged addiction, Alana claims responsibility for her brother’s accident but ignores her own TTZ–fueled trail of destruction. Aside from impulsive kissing episodes, Alana never feels particularly adolescent but is instead part wronged action hero—reminiscent of 1980s cop movies—and part junkie. Howard delivers gritty action sequences and an overabundance of vivid tetra-fueled visuals, but his dialogue is filled with cliché-riddled, slang-heavy, YOLO terms. Alana is biracial Latina, with a white father and Honduran mother, but there’s little cultural detail supplied as grounding.

Occasionally illogical and often trippy, a “high” adventure for young adrenaline junkies. (Adventure. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 3rd, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-06-241534-9
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2016


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