Evan loves his job with Arizona Cycling Tours and is excited about the training camp being hosted for bicyclists preparing for the Amgen Tour of California. Dashiell Shipley, Evan's hero and winner of the Tour de France, is participating and Evan hopes for a chance to meet him. Meanwhile, he and Glory, his girlfriend, are making plans to attend the University of Arizona after graduation. Evan's mother worries that his time on the job is interfering with his grades. But his life takes a sudden change when Dashiell's team notices that Evan is a great climber and they ask him to help out in the Tour of California. Evan is determined to take advantage of this amazing opportunity even though the days he misses from school may prevent him from graduating. Despite pressure from his mother to stay, Evan goes to California and experiences the highs and lows, both physically and emotionally, of professional bicycle racing firsthand. Celebrating victory one day, the team is torn apart the next by the disqualification of a member for drug abuse. Evan must find the strength to continue while feeling betrayed by those he has trusted. Disappointing his mother and risking his relationship with Glory, Evan follows his dream and learns the importance of being true to himself. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
High school senior Evan Boroughs never imaged that his part-time job at Arizona Cycling Tours would introduce him to the gods of his beloved cycling universe, but during winter training camp in Phoenix, one of those gods, Tour de France winner Dashiell Shipley, approaches Evan and invites him to join his team for the upcoming Tour of California race. Being a lifelong cycling fan, Evan has no choice but to say yes, but in doing so he risks losing his right to walk with his class during graduation; his girlfriend, Glory, to another guy; and an even larger dreamto be a doctor. Short chapters feature sweat-filled pages of muscle-wrenching action as Evan realizes that competitive cycling is exactly what he knew it would bepain. Far from cursing the experience though, Evan embraces pro cycling and finds reserves of strength he never knew he had. Idealistic about cycling from the start, Evan is in for an awakening. The world of professional sports and the gods that live there are not entirely without guileeven gods can crash. The work is extremely well researched and obviously written by someone who cycles and is familiar with the cycling world; that being said, even those unfamiliar with cycling will learn naturally and enjoy the story. The end of the novel leaves a few loose ends (who is Super Heckler Man?) and wraps up pretty quickly and neatly, but the action in the body makes up for the brevity of the ending. Reviewer: Erin Forson
Gr 9 Up—High school senior Evan Boroughs signs a pro-cycling contract to join the team of his idol, Tour de France winner Dash Shipley, for the prestigious Amgen Tour of California. Evan's decision creates tension not only in his relationship with his parents, but also with his girlfriend, Glory. Further complications include a hostile older sister; the mysterious, agonizing attacks that his mother regularly suffers; the antagonism of some members of his racing team; the blandishments of a racing groupie; and the revelation that Dash has been taking performance-enhancing drugs. In a hurried conclusion, Evan goes against instructions to help a teammate win, encourages Glory to pursue her dream of attending Harvard even though it might spell the end of their relationship, and wins the Best Young Rider award. While the novel's detailed descriptions of training regimens and racing strategies might appeal to avid cyclists, most readers will have a hard time wading through the bewildering array of characters and underdeveloped plotlines. Only for libraries where interest in the sport is very strong.—Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT
For 18-year-old Evan Boroughs the chance to sign with a major cycling team comes as an incredible opportunity. Joining the Image Craft-Icon team gives Evan the chance to compete in the Tour of California with his cycling icon, Dashiell Shipley, as the tour winds from Sacramento to Thousand Oaks. Evan still tries to make time for finishing his senior year, for his mom's undiagnosed sickness and for his girlfriend Glory despite the rigors of the race, but he quickly finds he is stretched to the limit. When his hero tests positive for drug use, Evan must evaluate his place in the cycling world. With a bit more gross-out humor, Lynch's narrative could nearly be mistaken for a Chris Crutcher novel, albeit one about an incredibly narrow subject. Potentially exciting moments fail to materialize due to cycling jargon and too-generic descriptions of roads, hills and spinning wheels. Cycling terminology is defined in the narrative rather than in a separate glossary, and that additional weight slows the pace. While Evan has depth, the other characters appear and vanish too quickly to leave an impression. It's an uphill climb, one that will leave many readers stranded on the side.