Tacoma School District #10
"This book has a highly engaging storyline mixed with descriptions of mountain biking that will appeal to boys."
"Plenty of sports action, just enough specialized jargon to provide flavor, and some character conflict...Climaxed by a melodramatic rescue from armed thugs, and then the arrival of a surprise villain (just ahead of the police), this quickly paced tale offers multiple “whoop-de-doos” (look it up) for Matt Christopher fans and older reluctant readers."
"Van Tol does it again with her newest novel, enticing the reader through mystery and suspense as the plot unfolds!...Jamie is a well-thought-out, quick thinking, teen that reacts to his situations with caution and gumption; all of the characters are balanced very well, adding to the chilling reality and believability of the story at hand...Concern and trepidation for the characters seized me as I read, and I highly recommend this novel for all readers 10+, regardless of reading level or interest in mountain biking. This phenomenal novel is a testament to Van Tol's sheer writing genius. Five stars!"
"Can be summed up in one word: adventurous...A great book for reluctant readers, especially one who is into sports...Van Tol has a fantastic voice to appeal to a teen crowd."
"Jamie is a solid character, and his actions and reactions throughout the book are quite believable...Van Tol does an excellent job of keeping the story advancing quickly while still allowing the reader to catch subtle nuances of character as each of the camper/bikers get to know one another....Gravity Check is very suitable for its audience, having been published for reluctant readers through "Orca Sports." The reading level is simple and the plot compelling as well."
Children's Literature - Della A. Yannuzzi
Brothers Jamie and Seth are avid mountain bikers looking forward to a mountain biking camp where they'll learn how to become better bikers. Jamie is determined not to let his popular, annoying brother Seth spoil his fun, but the brothers get more than a biking adventure when they head out with a counselor and other bikers into secluded back country. After making camp, the brothers take off without the rest of the group and stumble upon a field of tall, dark green plants that can only mean trouble. They know the stuff is illegal, and the possibility of drug dealers in the area is very real. They quickly ride back to the biking camp promising each other they're not going to tell the other campers. They've been looking forward to the biking venture and meeting a famous guest biker named Mitch, and they know the head counselor will cancel their trail trip and head back to inform the authorities. Younger brother Seth tells some of the other campers what they found and then they go missing when they go off on their own; Jamie then has to tell Chase, the counselor, who goes looking for the missing campers. When none of them return, Jamie and Seth are left to rescue them from the ring-leader who happens to be Mitch, the guest biking champ. Lots of biking terminology and maneuvers, action and suspense fuel this action-filled book. A sub-plot of brothers competing with each other and finally working together to solve a serious problem add dimension to this face-paced adventure story. Reviewer: Della A. Yannuzzi
Read an Excerpt
I push all thoughts of falling out of my mind and focus on being one with the trail. I roll along, up rises and into dips like a wave following the ocean floor. I steal a peek behind me, the wind rushing through my helmet openings.
Warren has dropped back. He's slowed down to take the hill. Good. I've bought myself some time. I'm formulating a devious plan. If it works the way I want it to, I'll be able to put Warren away too. Without getting myself killed in the process.