It’s an uphill climb, one that will leave many readers stranded on the side.



For 18-year-old Evan Boroughs the chance to sign with a major cycling team comes as an incredible opportunity.

Joining the Image Craft-Icon team gives Evan the chance to compete in the Tour of California with his cycling icon, Dashiell Shipley, as the tour winds from Sacramento to Thousand Oaks. Evan still tries to make time for finishing his senior year, for his mom’s undiagnosed sickness and for his girlfriend Glory despite the rigors of the race, but he quickly finds he is stretched to the limit. When his hero tests positive for drug use, Evan must evaluate his place in the cycling world. With a bit more gross-out humor, Lynch’s narrative could nearly be mistaken for a Chris Crutcher novel, albeit one about an incredibly narrow subject. Potentially exciting moments fail to materialize due to cycling jargon and too-generic descriptions of roads, hills and spinning wheels. Cycling terminology is defined in the narrative rather than in a separate glossary, and that additional weight slows the pace. While Evan has depth, the other characters appear and vanish too quickly to leave an impression.

It’s an uphill climb, one that will leave many readers stranded on the side. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2363-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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Marcus’ journey reads more like a preachy after-school special than a story of true growth out of tragedy.


From the SideStreets series

Marcus has a trust fund, acceptance to an elite university, and a sense of entitlement. But when tragedy strikes, he must decide whether to risk everything for what really matters.

Whether it is skiing, sex, or drinking, the white boy is all about pushing the boundaries. During the grade-12 ski trip to Whistler, Marcus convinces his Chinese-Canadian friend, Tom, a scholarship student, and the lovely Latina Yasmin (one parent is Muslim, and the other is Catholic) to ski with him out of bounds. Yasmin dies and Tom is left paralyzed. But as usual, Marcus is untouchable. His father’s response to the tragedy is to throw money at it. His mother’s is to self-medicate. Marcus, forced to confront himself, hates what he sees. In spite of its brevity, few words on a page, and simple vocabulary, this book is aimed squarely at teens. Coarse language, sex, drinking, and a frank discussion of suicide are all part of this tale. Unfortunately, while the message is good and the sense of audience on target, the delivery is poor. The tone is overly earnest, the secondary characters are static, and the plot is obvious. Further, both Marcus’ and Tom’s transformations feel simplistic and rushed.

Marcus’ journey reads more like a preachy after-school special than a story of true growth out of tragedy. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4594-1093-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: James Lorimer

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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A lesson in sympathy, delivered with heart.


From the No Name series , Vol. 2

In this sequel to No Name (2014), Choctaw hoopster Bobby Byington finds common ground and friendship with a rival.

Bobby’s mostly recovered from the car accident that caused his alcoholic father to kick his habit and brought his mother back home. Now all the talented basketball player wants to do is get back in the game and pursue his budding relationship with neighbor Faye, a white girl recently moved to Tulsa from North Carolina. Lloyd Blanton, the white boy who’s filled in as point guard, is ready to cede his place to Bobby, the better player—but his racist father is not. When Mr. Blanton publicly threatens Coach Robison, also Choctaw, Bobby sees an all-too-familiar alcoholic temper behind it. Together with the coach, Cherokee teammate Johnny, and his parents, Bobby works to give Lloyd the support he desperately needs. These relationships are carefully if swiftly developed, offering readers a best-practices model for caring intervention. Faye’s bullying at the hands of the school mean girl is a little less well-developed but provides Bobby with one of his best lines: “I am about to break Rule Number One for every high school student….I am about to seek the advice of an adult.” The basketball action is clear and engaging, and readers so inclined will wish they could play under Coach Robison.

A lesson in sympathy, delivered with heart. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-939053-17-6

Page Count: 120

Publisher: 7th Generation

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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