Monday, September 7, 2009

"Shift" by Jennifer Bradbury

During the summer before his freshman year at college, Chris decides to bike cross-country with his best friend Win. Near the end of their journey, Win disappears and Chris is left to return home alone. Now, back at school, Chris now must deal with the investigator, hired by Win's controlling and powerful father, who is intent on discovering Win's whereabouts.

As Chris reflects on the summer with Win, it becomes clearer to Chris that the journey was a deeper one than a mere cross-country bike ride. Chris must explore the a more mature meaning of friendship, family, and loyalty, and decide the appropriate actions that will affect the destinies of all involved parties.

In her debut novel, Bradbury writes like an expert in the world of long-distance biking (as well she should, as she herself has accomplished a cross-country trek). She also brings an authentic voice to the lives of mature adolescents. With every page, the reader is brought along on Chris' and Win's journey, sharing their flat tires, pranks, convenience store dinners, and conversations. The characters' actions ring true to their motivations. I was sorry to see this journey end with the last page - the characters were so alive to me I felt they might be biking up my driveway any minute! I look forward to Bradbury's next novel.

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