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Here’s a book that caught my eye a couple weeks ago: Shift by Jennifer Bradbury (New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2008).

shift cover

To celebrate their graduation from high school, lifelong friends Chris and Win decide to go on a cross-country bicycle tour…and only one returns to tell about it. What happened to Win? What is Chris hiding? What if Chris is telling the truth about his adventure?

This novel is the first by Jennifer Bradbury, a high-school English instructor from Burlington, Washington. It is an utterly compelling read — fast-paced, full of twists and turns and peppered throughout with realistic bicycling scenarios (the author is an accomplished bicycle tourer herself). The novel is aimed squarely at the “young adult” reader, but don’t let that put you off — this book doesn’t read like a typical YA novel. It’s smart and well-put-together and it lacks the schmaltziness many other YA novels exhibit. I absolutely could not put this book down, and subsequently burned through it in about three hours. The story has a satisfying resolution even as it leaves the reader hanging…

Even if you’re not much of a fiction reader, I highly recommend this book. Shift is such a strong first novel that there’s no telling what the author is capable of!

To read more about the author and to read additional reviews of the book, please visit the author’s website.