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Chasing AllieCat
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Chasing AllieCat

5.0 1
by Rebecca Fjelland Davis

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Dumped with relatives in a small Minnesota town for the summer, Sadie Lester is relying on her mountain bike to save her from total boredom. Then she meets Allie, a spiky-haired off-road mountain biker who's training for a major race. Allie leads Sadie and Joe, a cute fellow cyclist, up and down Mount Kato, and the three become close friends. But the exhilarating


Dumped with relatives in a small Minnesota town for the summer, Sadie Lester is relying on her mountain bike to save her from total boredom. Then she meets Allie, a spiky-haired off-road mountain biker who's training for a major race. Allie leads Sadie and Joe, a cute fellow cyclist, up and down Mount Kato, and the three become close friends. But the exhilarating rush comes to a halt when they find a priest in the woods, badly beaten and near death. After calling for help, Allie disappears from their lives.

As they search for Allie and try to find out why she left so suddenly, Sadie and Joe discover more about Allie's past, including her connection to the priest. Only on the day of the big race does Sadie finally learn the complete, startling truth about Allie—and the terrible secret that forced her into hiding.

A Junior Library Guild Selection

"A wonderful, tough, and totally believable story . . . Hang on tight. This is quite a ride."—Chris Crutcher, author of Angry Management

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sixteen-year-old Sadie Lester is not looking forward to summer at her Uncle Scout's house in a tiny Minnesota town, where her divorced parents have dumped her while they go on a research trip. Her priorities are finding a job and mountain biking, yet she is forced to babysit and handle an overcrowded house filled with relatives. When she meets Allie aka "AllieCat," an expert cyclist from the wrong side of the tracks who is full of fiery advice ("The only people who aren't chicken are a little stupid. You just gotta ride anyway. Ride through the chicken, you might say"), they team up and train for the Fourth of July race. While riding in the woods, Sadie, Allie, and Joe (Sadie's love interest) find a priest who's been beaten within an inch of his life, and, after sending for help, Allie disappears. Davis (Jake Riley: Irreparably Damaged) constructs a succinct, compelling story that combines romance, suspense, and the theme of overcoming challenges. The strong sense of place, character development, and love triangle dynamics should engage cycling enthusiasts as well as a broader audience. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
VOYA - Lucy Schall
Sixteen-year-old Sadie finds danger, friendship, and romance during her summer with her uncle's family. The interest-catching prologue introduces Sadie; her love interest, Joe; and her champion off-road biking friend, Allie. The trio discovers a priest's nearly lifeless body, and Allie disappears after going for help. The main chapters begin with Sadie's arrival, circle back to the prologue action, and then track Sadie's search for Allie. Allie enters a very public bike competition and secretly visits the dying priest. Still, in a small town, she dodges her paroled convict father who sexually abused her, beat up the priest to whom she confessed, and made her mother an addict. A slow romance between Sadie and Joe (first kiss on page 210), plus their suspicion that Allie is a lesbian overshadow what could be an exciting plot. The three major characters show little development. Joe makes a quick recovery from his twin's death to focus on being Sadie's boyfriend. Sadie maintains a happy-go-lucky tone even after the badly beaten priest dies. Allie, almost unscathed, briefly reveals that she wishes Sadie would be her girlfriend. The flat, unbelievable, and sometimes irrelevant adult characters seem like cartoons. Teen dating and family activities jumble together with heavy, undeveloped topics like sexual abuse, grief, murder, homosexuality, responsibility, and commitment. More riveting, thought-provoking choices dealing with similar issues and holding cross-gender appeal are Kevin Brooks' Black Rabbit Summer (Scholastic, 2008/VOYA October 2008) and Michael Northrop's Gentlemen (Scholastic, 2009/VOYA June 2009). Reviewer: Lucy Schall
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Stuck for the summer in small-town Minnesota with her uncle's family while her parents are in Egypt, 16-year-old Sadie gets a job and reluctantly helps out, but her main pleasure is riding her mountain bike with mysterious and elusive Allie, who is a tough competitor and pushes her to go farther, faster, and get stronger. The big race is the Fourth of July with many levels of competition. Allie's in the top bracket and convinces Sadie to give it a whirl. Then her aunt's nephew Joe moves in, supposedly to recover from the death of his twin brother, and a light romance begins to develop along with the intense biking. The three discover a badly beaten priest in the woods as they are riding, and Allie recognizes him and then disappears once she knows help is on the way. Allie has never shared much information about her personal life, but Sadie and Joe don't realize how little they know until she goes into hiding. The bike racing and riding scenes are well written and capture the excitement of the sport, but the mystery at the heart of the story meanders uncertainly, requiring that Allie share details about her paroled father's sexual abuse to bring all the threads together. Other plot elements are unbelievable, and Allie's coming out at the end seems tacked on. While the plot is unsatisfying, the characters are engaging, the romance light, and the small-town atmosphere generally realistic. Save this one for rabid mountain bike racers or those who love vicarious sports thrills and leave it off the mystery list.—Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, CO
Kirkus Reviews
Dropped at her aunt and uncle's crowded house in LeHillier, Minn., so that her divorced parents can do research together in Egypt on Nefertiti, 16-year-old Sadie's summer starts "with a bang," literally, and veers off into unexpected and even dangerous terrain. Writing from Sadie's point of view, using an authentic adolescent voice with an observant sense of humor, Davis creates an engaging, increasingly gritty (also brutal) bike-centric mystery (and romance). Led by Allie, aka AllieCat, Sadie's elusive new friend, a convict's daughter who is tough and fast, "always land[ing] rubber side down," and joined by Joe, sax-playing, cigarette-smoking and sad, she trains hard for a Fourth of July mountain-bike race (Sadie's first) at Mount Kato, in the scenic Minnesota River Valley. Until... July 1st, the day the kids find Father Malcolm, "his body beaten to a barely breathing, bloody pulp in the woods," and Allie goes into hiding. Despite some weaknesses, including poorly integrated gay content and an occasional tendency toward melodrama, the story is ultimately a celebration of biking and perseverance—a suspenseful ride. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

North Star Editions
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
HL660L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Rebecca Fjelland Davis (Good Thunder, MN) is a serious cyclist and the author of Jake Riley: Irreparably Damaged (HarperCollins), in addition to many nonfiction children's books. She teaches English and humanities at South Central College in North Mankato, Minnesota. Visit her online at www.rebeccafjellanddavis.com.

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