Audience: YA Thriller
Length: 330 pages
Author: Jessica Goodman
Release Date: July 27th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
From rising star Jessica Goodman, author of They Wish They Were Us, comes a new fast-paced thriller about two sisters vying for the top spot on their cross-country team–the only way out of their stifling small town. But their dreams are suddenly thrown into peril when a new girl threatens to take away everything they’ve worked for… until she disappears.
Stella and Ellie Steckler are only a year apart, but their different personalities make their relationship complicated. Stella is single-minded, driven, and she keeps to herself. Cross-country running is her life and she won’t let anything get in the way of being the best. Her sister Ellie is a talented runner too, but she also lets herself have fun. She has friends. She goes to parties. She has a life off the course.
The sisters do have one thing in common, though: the new girl, Mila Keene. Both Stecklers’ lives are upended when Mila comes to town. Mila was the top runner on her team back home and at first, Ellie and Stella view her as a threat. But soon Ellie can’t help but be drawn to her warm, charming personality. After her best friend moved away and her first boyfriend betrayed her, Ellie’s been looking for a friend. In a moment of weakness, she even shares her darkest secret with Mila. For her part, Stella finds herself noticing the ways she and Mila are similar. Mila is smart and strong–she’s someone Stella can finally connect with. As the two get closer, Stella becomes something she vowed she’d never be: distracted.
With regionals approaching and college scouts taking notice, the pressure is on. Each girl has their future on the line and they won’t let friendships get in their way. But then, suddenly, Mila goes out on a training run and never returns. No one knows what happened, but all eyes are on the Steckler sisters.
I DID NOT LIKE THIS.
The further this went one the more I cringed. And I don’t like suuuper long rants so I’ll run over the lowlights.
This felt like a girl vs. girl hate fest. Nobody was likeable. And everyone was just terrible to each other. I hate that. I get that, obviously, girls won’t like each other sometimes, but when it takes over the entire book I’m really missing the support of ANYONE to redeem the plot. Not to mention all of the other side characters who weren’t likable either. Everything felt forced to create this culture of hate and it didn’t make this thriller book…thrilling.
Part of the plot is the fact 3 previous girls have been murdered by someone. And guess what? YOU NEVER ACTUALLY FIND OUT WHO. It’s brought up often enough that I expected to get an answer about it. I couldn’t believe there was never closure for those girls too.
And random crap like saying a 3k (5.1 miles) was 6 laps around a track??? No. That’s not right either. For a sports [cross country] based book, I don’t like some clear gaps in reserach.
There’s just a tidbit of my issues with this read. It was not good. And not worth the time.
Overall audience notes:
- YA Thriller
- Language: strong
- Romance: kisses to brief open
- Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, alcoholism (of a parent, who went to rehab, had one relapse and is okay during the book), cheating, abortion, substance abuse (another parent who abuses drugs)