Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Review: Chasing Alliecat by Rebecca Fjelland Davis


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.


The Short Version:
Honest and uniquely presented, Chasing Alliecat does a remarkable job tackling some rough issues and blending with a coming of age type tale. Fully investing the reader in not only Sadie's story but Allie's as well, the biking angle of this one ties everything together in a great way. With a vivid setting, and plenty of action throughout, the mystery surrounding Allie is well told, with Sadie's role and reactions progressing things more.

The Extended Version:
Sadie is an easy character to like from the start with her sarcastic nature that comes through in her thoughts and sometimes outright, but still remains quiet as well. She's strong in ways not immediately apparent, and loyal in a very bold way to her friends. Her frustrations about certain things are clear, without being something she harks on and can't let go of. She has both a fierce and a sweet side, and neither came off as fake or forced, making her a very dimensional, well developed character.

Allie is sassy and fiery, and most definitely a highly memorable character. Carrying a big mystery with her that is only made more prominent by her reactions to things, it's clear early on that things really aren't quite right for her. Regardless, though, Allie has a unique outlook on things and a huge internal drive that pushes her through things. Taking Sadie under her wing from the start, her friendship proves invaluable despite some incredibly trying events.

Joe is very well pitched, particularly for a love interest. With the bad boy image to get him started, it's quickly dissolved once Sadie and the reader get to know him. He shows the full range of emotions and responses, including fear and uncertainty in a way that speaks so much more for his character than is said on the pages. His interactions with Allie add plenty of spunk and amusement to the book, but he also has some incredibly sweet and tender moments with Sadie that make him shine.

The rest of the characters each of their own quirks and unique mannerisms that set them apart. Set in a small town that has plenty of rednecks, the setting comes alive vividly and the way this impacts Sadie and her family is also clear. The full back and forth between the two certainly adds its own element to the book.

Though the mountain biking does play a huge role in this book, and is described in some detail, it isn't off putting or pitched in a way that is talking down to even the readers who don't know a thing about biking. Davis does a beautiful job blending the mountain biking with the character development and progressing the plot, with some key scenes happening on the trails. The pacing is mostly steady, with only a few lags that focus on the characters strongly, but also with high action scenes that push things forward quickly.

There are some rough to swallow elements of this book, and some incredibly intense, well handled scenes. The writing is easy to read while still remaining descriptive and gives a good voice to Sadie. Her view of the the world in general clearly changes by the end of the book, reflected in the writing but happens in a smooth way. Even things related to the biking are explained exactly as Sadie would, making it real and readable.

With an emotional and character driven plot set against mountain biking, Chasing Alliecat pulls some new elements and weaves them in a smooth way. The characters are well developed and each scene has a clear purpose. Add in just enough romance to lighten things while never straying far from the biggest aspects of the story, and this is definitely a great addition to the contemporary genre.

Special Note: This review is part of the Chasing Alliecat blog tour, where Rebecca will donate $1 for every(meaningful) comments this and all the other posts that are with the tour receive to a foundation dedicated to giving bikes to girls. So comment away!

Source: Received from author in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: February 8, 2011


  1. WHat a fabulous way to show your support

  2. I've never heard of this book before. Sounds good, I'll have to check it out!