Friday, March 5, 2010

Book Review: Exit Strategy by Ryan Potter

Summary (From Exit Strategy Website):

It's the summer before senior year and all seventeen-year-old
ZACH RAMSEY wants is to fast forward twelve months, graduate, and get as far away from his depressing hometown as possible. That's his exit strategy and he's sticking to it.

Then there's TANK FOSTER, Zach's best friend. Tank's a state champion wrestler and a total psycho, definitely not the kind of guy you mess with. Tank's wrestling skills make him a lock for a full ride to a major university. Not a bad exit strategy if you can get it.

And what about
SARAH FOSTER, Tank's dorky, Ivy League-bound twin sister? For starters, she's no longer a dork. In fact, she's suddenly supermodel hot and Zach totally falls for her. Problem is Tank's an overprotective nut who refuses to let any guy get close to Sarah and jeopardize her exit strategy to the Ivy League.

Torn between his feelings for Sarah and his allegiance to Tank, Zach finds himself living the most complicated summer of his life, one that also includes some disturbing discoveries about the adult world, all of which strengthen his resolve to ditch Blaine, Michigan, forever.

But sometimes even the best exit strategies spiral out of control.


The basic plot idea behind this book is certainly interesting and not one I expected from reading the summary. From the start, this book had me hooked from the narrative voice, the somewhat cryptic first chapter, and the colorful cast of characters. Potter defines his characters and adds enough idiosyncracies to make them memorable.

Set in Zach's perspective, this is a very real story told from the mind of a 17 year old boy with everything that comes with it. Though he's on the football team, Zach isn't a typical jock, particularly compared to his best friend Tank, and has quite a bit going on in his head. Often times, I found myself wondering why these two were best friends but they simply were and Potter did a fantastic job creating their history and bond. Zach has his stupid moments but he has his times of clarity as well, helping to pull together the idea of a 17 year old and Potter nailed that aspect.

Tank is a very interesting character- a psycho by all accounts but as with all well developed characters, there are further underlying things related to this boy. His twin sister, Sarah, is an equally as unique character though for different reasons and Potter incorporated her very smoothly into the story.

The plot of this book is filled with twists and unexpected turns, keeping the reader enthralled the entire time. Even after the basic, main idea was revealed, the outcome remained uncertain and Potter kept the reader involved with drama and action as well as humor and banter. Potter covers a wide array of emotions throughout this story, pitching each on perfectly. Adding to the well developed, intriguing plot is the writing itself. Potter has a gift with writing and the narrative voice never waivers, allowing the reader to slip into Zach's mind almost from the beginning.

The ending was beautifully written although I can see it being a turn off for people. Personally, I adored it, appreciated it and commend Potter for taking that route. It is a very real outcome with a strong message, also helping keep the realism that surfaced often in the story right up to the end. Potter is an author to watch out for, making a grand debut with this novel which I highly recommend.

Source: Received for review courtesy of Ryan
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: Flux; 1 edition (March 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0738715735
ISBN-13: 978-0738715735

Flux Interview with Ryan
Read Chapters 1-2 Here

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  1. Sounds very interesting. Never heard of any book like this before.

  2. I hadn't heard of this one before, but your review has successfully sucked me in and now I've added it to my wishlist. hehe

    I've given you an award over at my blog. :)

  3. Loved your review. Very insightful. Makes me interested in reading Exit Strategy, and sound like a book many of my 8th grade boys would enjoy too.