Chasing Alliecat by Rebecca Fjelland Davis
Published: February 1, 2011
(288 pages, paperback)Summary: Sadie Lester has been dumped with relatives for the summer. Boredom seems inevitable in her small Minnesota town until she meets Allie—a spiky-haired off-road biker with incredible grace and speed. Training for the upcoming bike race, Allie leads Sadie and cute fellow cyclist Joe up and down Mount Kato—an exhilarating rush that pushes their limits. The fun ends abruptly when they stray off the trail and find a priest, badly beaten and near death. After calling for help, Allie mysteriously disappears from their lives.
Just like the trash littering the beautiful river bluffs, there's something foul afoot. Creepy rednecks are prowling the woods, the same ones who ran Sadie and Allie off the road one night. It's not until the day of the big race that Sadie finally learns the startling truth about Allie, her connection to the priest, and what drove her into hiding.
My thoughts: One of my favorite things about this book, and one I definitely was not expecting, was the bike riding portions. I've never been exactly physically fit, but the way Davis wrote about the exhilaration and thrill of racing and just riding made me wish I was a bike rider too. Another thing I loved was the balance of the story lines. There was a lot going on, especially for the latter half of the book, and nothing ever felt too overwhelming, or misplaced when it came to how the story went. There were a few rough spots, and sometimes the story got a little tedious, but in the end it was a great read and one that I would recommend to anyone who likes a good mystery with some romance tossed in.
Considering it's usually my favorite part of a novel, the romance was actually not all that key to the story. Don't get me wrong, I loved every bit of it, and it was not only well-written but realistic, which doesn't happen a lot in YA these days. But I really didn't mind that it wasn't so important to the story arcs since it didn't need to be. Not overbearing, but not underdeveloped at all.
Sadie was an honest character, and I really liked her. She was real in a way that made me feel empathy for her whenever something upsetting happened. And she was great at solving some of the mystery. While some teens in YA are portrayed as super-smart just because they can put two and two together, Sadie could actually hold her own, and she was intelligent, so I didn't feel like screaming at her when she got something wrong or twisted. Joe was a great character too. Three-dimensional and deep, with his own flaws and haunting past, in a good way. My real favorite was Allie, though. She was tough, smart, and totally unafraid of practically anything. She had her definite imperfections, but she was strong through the whole book. I admired her, and I loved how her story unfolded, even when it was sad or disturbing.
I don't want to ruin anything, so I'll just say that the mystery was so good. It had me flipping pages as quickly as possible and changing my guess after every chapter. I flew through this book because not only was the writing moving, but the suspense was amazing. I loved, loved, loved, Chasing Alliecat, and it's got to be one of the best mysterious reads I've read for a long time.
Covering the Cover: I'm not a huge fan, but I like the fact that the woods are so prominent since they're so important to the story.
Writing: 4/5Overall Rating: 4.5 stars