If you’re gonna run for your life,
you gotta wear the right shoes.
Riley Mae Hart loves sports and actionso when the Swiftriver Shoe Company offers her a contract to be the spokesperson for their new outdoor sport collection, she jumps at the chance. Soon she’s appearing in commercials and magazine ads, and every girl in town wants to wear Riley Mae shoes. Well, except for Riley. Because walking in those shoes means missing out on softball season, making her best friend, TJ, mad, and embarrassing her new friend, Rusty. It also means sneaking around, hiding, and keeping secretsbecause something isn’t quite right at Swiftriver. But a contract’s a contract, so Riley laces up her “Rock Shocker” hiking boots for a climb up Half-Dome in Yosemite. Will they be the right shoes to get her back on solid ground?
About the Author
Jill Osborne works in children’s ministry and has a passion for telling great stories. She has written plays, skits for youth groups and Sunday morning drama teams, curriculum for children’s ministry, countless articles for her church newsletter, and a blog about taking a sabbatical in a motor home. Good News Shoes is her first series for kids, and she plans to run with it!
Read an Excerpt
Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek
By Jill Osborne
ZONDERKIDZCopyright © 2013 Jill Osborne
All rights reserved.
My name is Riley Mae Hart, and I have the best shoe collection of anyone you know. Not the dressy ones that pinch your toes. I'm talking about the shoes you can do stuff in—like hike, run, jump, and play sports. I have at least a hundred pairs. And they didn't cost me anything! Well, that's not exactly true. I did pay in sweat, scrapes, lots of tears, and a broken bone or two. I know—that sounds bad. But it's really not, I promise. In fact, looking back, I wouldn't change a thing.
Let me explain.
It all started in second grade when Joey Larson told me that I couldn't play baseball with the boys on our street.
"Girls can't hit, or catch, or run, or slide. And they cry!"
I had news for Joey. I could hit, catch, run, and slide circles around him. And if those boys would have given me a chance to prove it, Joey would have been the one crying. But they never let me play.
Fine. So what if I didn't play sports in the neighborhood. Instead I signed up for sports leagues—where they have to let you play. And then, when they find out how good you are, they beg you to play. I've been begged to play on lots of teams since then, and Joey, well, he gave up sports a few years ago and now he just plays boring video games all day long.
That brings me to seventh grade and the shoe contract. My dad owns his own advertising business, and a new shoe company named Swiftriver hired him to help market a collection of athletic shoes for girls. On the last day of my summer vacation, Dad asked me to come down to his office and try some of them out. When I showed up, these guys in suits were there. They watched me try on about eight pairs of shoes, and they wrote down everything I said about them. Of course, I said a lot of good things, 'cause they were really awesome shoes. Cute, too.
Finally, this one guy says, "Bart [that's my dad's name], your daughter is fabulous. Why don't we use her as our spokesgirl for the shoe line?" Then he says to me, "What's your name again, sweetie?"
I hate being called sweetie, but I tried to be polite.
"Riley—Riley Mae. The Mae comes from my dad's mom. I like to use both names because then when people hear my name they'll know I'm a girl."
The head suit guy scratched his head. "Hmmmm. The Riley Mae Sport Collection ... so they'll know you're a girl! That's catchy. I say we do it, Bart."
My dad looked up from the floor where he was reorganizing all the shoes I had flung around the office.
"Ummm ... wow, I dunno ... I'll have to talk with Lynda [that's my mom], and I'm not sure Riley really has the time to—"
"Dad—check out these hikers! They're sparkly!" I spun around in his office chair with my feet in the air. I guess that wasn't really the proper thing to do with those suit guys there, but the shoes got me all excited.
Another guy spoke up. "We could do all the photo shoots on weekends and during her school breaks. Tell Lynda that we'll pay for you and her to come along on any of the planned trips. What could be better than going on some free vacations?"
The spinning made me dizzy, so I stopped. I looked at my dad, and he looked as white as a ghost. For a minute I figured I had embarrassed him with all the spinning around. I found out later that he was just freaked out about the spokesgirl thing. It didn't sound like such a big thing to me, but I didn't realize what a spokesgirl was yet.CHAPTER 2
I found out later that night that being a spokesgirl for a shoe company was a big enough deal to cause a family meeting—you know, where you all sit around the dining room table and look serious.
"I don't know, Bart. Having Riley's picture on advertisements makes me nervous." My mom's the chief of police of Clovis (that's in California near Fresno), so she tends to be suspicious of lots of stuff.
"I agree. They'd probably want her to do commercials too."
"Heavens, I don't want to get into all that."
I hate when parents talk about you like you aren't there. "Ummm ... Mom? Dad? Can I say something?"
"I think it will be okay, Lynda. Either you or I will be there for every shoot."
"And what about Riley's school work?"
"They said she could do everything on weekends and during her school breaks."
I was beginning to think I wasn't needed at this meeting. I looked down under the table at my new pair of pink running shoes that the guys at the office let me have. I also spied a bug crawling across the floor. (I let the lucky thing get away. No sense squashing him and messing up the shoes.)
"Mom, can I go call TJ and tell her about the shoes?" (That's my best friend, Taylor Joy—another girl with a first name that makes you wonder.)
"Riley, we're in a meeting here."
"But you and Dad aren't letting me talk."
Dad peeked at me over the top of his reading glasses. "I'm sorry, honey. There are just some things you don't understand."
"I understand that I like sports and shoes. And I'd like to go on free vacations and be in commercials."
"Of course you would," Mom said. "But it's a lot of work, and you'll get tired of it after awhile. I know how you are."
I rolled my eyes. Maybe I'm like that a little, but I do stick with things that are really fun, like softball.
"We need some time to pray about this—see what God has in mind." Good reminder from Dad.
"So, if God says yes, can I do it?" I didn't know how we would know if God said yes, but I thought I'd ask anyway.
My parents both shrugged and looked at each other. That was a trick question—I admit it. They could only say yes to that one.
"Okay," Dad said. "Let's give it a month or so, and if God says yes, we'll do it."
The head suit guy from Swiftriver—I found out his name was Bob Hansen—came over three days later.
"Bart, I need an answer. We have photo shoots to schedule. Girls' softball season is practically here, and we've gotta get these Riley Maes on some feet."
They had already started putting my name on the shoes, and the reason I knew that was Mr. Hansen brought over five pairs of softball cleats for me to try on. They were amazing! They weren't just like the boys' shoes with girl-colored stripes—they had different designs in lots of different colors. I decided to wear the ones with the hot pink daisies over a yellow background.
"Can I go try these outside?" I was pretty sure Mom didn't want me sliding in the house.
She didn't answer. Instead she just said, "Bart, can we talk about this in the kitchen?"
Mr. Hansen told me I could go out.
The cleats worked great, and they were so pretty! I just wanted to run and run and never stop. My name was sewn in on the tongue of the shoe, and a daisy dotted the "i" in Riley—so cool! But the biggest surprise was when I slid into second base (I made up a little softball field in my backyard with bases and everything), and I saw the bottom of the shoes. There were my initials—RM—in big pink cursive letters.
That's when I knew that I really wanted to do this spokesgirl thing.
When I went back in the house, Mr. Hansen was handing out schedules.
"You've already got the year planned out?" Dad rubbed the back of his neck—that means he's stressed. Mom took down her Bible calendar from the refrigerator and started shaking her head. Mr. Hansen grinned from ear to ear. He has really white teeth.
"Relax, you two. Almost all the photo shoots are local. We're doing the first one right down the street at the baseball field. The boys' team is ready to go as soon as we are."
"A boys' team?" I asked. "But these shoes are for girls."
"Well, of course. But get this ..." Mr. Hansen moved into the center of the living room and started acting out the commercial idea. "We're going to have you show up in the middle of the boys' game, do some spectacular plays, and then at the end of the commercial, you slide into home plate. SAFE! The catcher will notice the shoes and scratch his head. Then when you take off your helmet, your ponytail will fall out, and the slogan will come up on the screen: 'The Riley Mae Sport Collection—so they'll know you're a girl.' Get it? You have as much skill as the boys, but you love being a girl so you wear Riley Mae shoes, which are—"
"Really girly!" I finished his sentence by plopping down on the couch and lifting my feet with the flowery cleats up into the air.
Mom shook her head. "Bob, we haven't signed a contract yet."
"And we really need to pray about it a little longer." Dad rubbed his neck some more.
"I'll tell you what." Mr. Hansen smiled and pulled a stack of papers out of a briefcase. "Read this through and jot down any questions you have. Highlight anything you don't like. We'll change whatever you want us to change."
"What is that?" I jumped off the couch and ran over to look at the papers.
"It's your contract." Mr. Hansen handed it to my dad. "As soon as you're ready to sign, let me know. We'll get the baseball field reserved and then we'll film the commercial. It's gonna be great!"
Mr. Hansen is very enthusiastic. I bet he smiles in his sleep.CHAPTER 3
We prayed a lot about that contract for the next couple of weeks. Each time I said "Amen," I got butterflies in my stomach, which reminded me of the Riley Mae softball cleats with the purple butterflies on them. They even have a name: "Butter Ups." I decided to wear those for the commercial, if my parents decided that God had said yes to the whole thing.
One night after dinner, Dad caught me modeling the Butter Ups in my full-length mirror.
"Hey, softball girl. Nice shoes."
I smiled. "Thanks, Dad. Hey—do you know what my favorite part is about the Riley Mae shoes?"
"Hmmm, let me see. It has to be the pink sparkly daisy that dots the "i" in your name on the tongue."
I gasped. "How did you know?"
"Because I've been watching you write your name like that for years. Who do you think suggested that logo?" He pointed his thumb to his chest.
I giggled and plopped down on my bed, where I had spread out a few different pairs of Riley Mae shoes. I held up the super-cute hiking boots called Rock Shockers.
"Wow, you really are an advertising genius! These shoes are amazing. Girls are going to buy them like crazy."
"Well, that's what we're all hoping for. But there's only one problem."
I sat up, startled. "What?"
"Swiftriver needs just the right spokesgirl, or it won't work. Someone who's enthusiastic, someone who's good at sports but can also be a good role-model ..."
I jumped off the bed. "That's me!"
Dad crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow.
"Okay, I know I'm not perfect, but it could be me ... right? If God says yes?"
I ran up to Dad and put my face near his. We sometimes play this spontaneous stare-down game to see who can go the longest without laughing. He lost immediately.
"Okay, Riley, here's the deal. Your mom and I think it would be a shame to have some other girl's name on those shoes. As we've been praying, we've realized that this will be a good opportunity for you to learn and to grow, and God's given us peace about letting you be the Swiftriver spokesgirl."
"Yes!" I jumped and pumped my fist in the air.
Dad laughed. "So we called Bob Hansen over to see about signing the contract. He's downstairs right now."
I flew by my dad, down the stairs, through the living room, and into the dining room, where a grinning Mr. Hansen sat, going over a stack of papers with my mom. Mom looked up, and then her eyes locked on my feet.
"Riley! Tell me you're not running around with cleats on in this house."
Mr. Hansen looked down at my Butter Ups. "Nice pick, Riley. Those are my faves." Then he winked at me. "I knew the minute we met that you were the right girl for Swiftriver."
The rest of the night was a blur. I was so excited that I had trouble concentrating as we read through the contract. Mom kept talking about how I was going to be busier than ever, and that I would have to keep my grades up. Dad explained that I would have to work with lots of professional people who would be telling me what to do. Mr. Hansen explained that I would be working a lot on weekends. I didn't care. I agreed to it all.
On his way out the door, Mr. Hansen handed me a cute sparkly-orange pen. It had a running shoe on it that said "RileyMae.com."
"I have a website? This is unbelievable! I'm going to check it out right now!"
"Well, it won't go live until after we air the commercial, but I expect we'll have tons of online sales. If we hurry, we can get this ball rolling by Thanksgiving so parents can buy the shoes for their girls for Christmas."
I couldn't think of anything any girl would want more.
Excerpted from Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek by Jill Osborne. Copyright © 2013 Jill Osborne. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERKIDZ.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Title: Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek - Faithgirlz The Good News Shoes Book 1 Author: Jill Osborne Publisher: Zonderkidz-Books Published: 1-28-2014 Pages: 240 Genre: Children's Fiction Sub-Genre: Christian; Friends ISBN: 9780310742944 ASIN: B00HYN86R0 Reviewed For NetGalley and Zonderkidz-Books Reviewer: DelAnne Rating: 4.25 Stars Riley Mae is a young athletic girl who loves baseball, a sport she shares with her best friend. While at her father's work place she is unexpectedly approached by her father's client to be the spokesperson for the Swiftriver Shoe Company. Excited she begins and new adventure, but finds the fame she comes to know comes at a price. Missed games causes problems with her friend and the others on the team members. Everyone wants to be her and there is no privacy. There is no backing out even when she finds there is something going on at Swiftriver. After all she signed a contract and must honor it. A wonderfully clean read for young readers. This is a series that teaches as it entertains. Morals and right and wrong without preaching. I rated this book at 4.75 out of 5 stars. If you have a young reader looking for a series that is interesting and fun to read then give this series a try. I don't believe you will be disappointed.
I <3 this book soo much. If you are the girl for shoes, this is YOUR book.
Riley Mae is the new spokesperson for a shoe company and she is very excited about it...until it interferes with the rest of her life. Her best friend is mad at her, she can't play softball as much as she wants, and all her weekends are spent doing photo shoots and making appearances. Here is what I liked about the book: Riley Mae is a sweet girl who genuinely cares about others. She goes out of her way to make other girls feel included and good about themselves. She is upbeat and positive. I loved the vibrant personalities of the characters. Flip and Fawn are both entertaining and fun to have along for the ride. Riley's parents were involved in her life and helped her make good decisions (yay for involved parents!). They taught her to pray over decisions and to turn to God for guidance. What I didn't like about the book: Much of the religious content felt awkward and out of place—there were only a few instances where it fit nicely with the rest of the story. Also, the build up was very slow. Most of the book was about photo shoots and friend drama until the very end when things got interesting. There is a bit of a cliffhanger ending. There's not much of a solution, but instead it ends in a gateway to the next book. There isn't much explanation for some character's motivations, and many of their behaviors didn't make sense. Maybe those things will be addressed in the next book. Even though not everything worked for me, it was still a good book that I would happily let my daughter read. It will appeal to girls ages 9-12 that enjoy clean, light reads with fun characters. Content: clean Source: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I'm always on the lookout for good books to recommend to teens and preteens. And I get a lot of questions from parents, wanting recommendations for books they don't need to have concerns with. So it feels great to be able to say that any book published by Zonderkidz (Zondervan Publishing) is a book you can trust. "Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek" begins a new series in the Faithgirlz line of books called "The Good News Shoes Series". Riley Mae is feisty and filled with faith, and devotion to her family and friends. Jill Osborne has added a hint of mystery to an engaging story, and crafted some fun characters for preteen and teen girls to get to know. This is just one aspect of my job as a book reviewer that I really get a kick out of...getting to read books for all ages, in search of good quality. My thanks to my friends at Zondervan Publishing for my advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. "Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek" is perfect summer reading, and I highly recommend this new series!
I really like faiThGirLz! products for tween girls. This new series, The Good News Shoes, is perfect for your tween girl that is all into sports. In the first book, Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek, we meet the spunky Riley Mae Hart. To say that she is into sports is an understatement. She lives and breathes to play. Riley Mae's dad has his own advertising business and is in the midst of doing promotions for Swiftriver Shoe Company. By chance Riley Mae and the company executives happen to be in her father's office at the same time. Once they meet Riley Mae they know that she will make the perfect spokesperson for Swiftriver. The instant fame and obligations begin to put stress on her relationships with fellow teammates and friends. But through the adversity Riley Mae learns some important life lessons about compassion and loyalty. Through different circumstances she is forced to figure out who she wants to be and truly take a good look at what she believes. One of the pleasantly surprising aspects of this series is that it has a suspense element in it. It isn't too heavy, in fact it is just right for your middle grader. By the end of the book part of the mystery is solved but there is an ongoing storyline that continues on into the next book. If you have an athletic girl that needs something to read this summer you should pick this book and series up. She'll have hours of fun reading about the antics of Riley Mae and her friends. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
This is a fun children’s book about an ordinary girl turned extraordinary. Riley Mae is a normal kid that loves her friends, her family, and playing softball. One day, her father’s business associate stops by to chat, and he catches Riley Mae having fun trying on the shoes. At that point, it is decided that Riley Mae will make the perfect spokesperson for the girls’ athletic shoe line. While that is fun for a bit, Riley Mae soon realizes the responsibility and time-commitment of being a full-time spokesperson. It is even ironic how she misses softball games in order to take pictures wearing softball shoes. There is some mystery in the book, and things get scary for a bit—but not too scary for kids. There is no swearing, graphic images, or perversion in the book. There are Christian undertones in the book as things like Christmas and Easter ham are mentioned. Riley Mae goes to church on occasion, and we follow her as she helps out the little children. There is charity as Riley Mae tries to provide sustenance for a girl who can’t afford food. Overall, the story was engaging and interesting.
The story inside is as cute as the cover! As the mother of two girls, I picked up Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek one afternoon and started to read. Not only did it hold my attention (and provide a delightful respite from my day), but I'm midway through book two in the series now -- Riley Mae and the Ready Eddie Rapids. I love Riley Mae and her spunky but caring personality. A good clean enjoyable story that highlights the value of family and friends. I highly recommend it!
Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker is the first book in a new Faith Girlz! series, The Good News Shoes, focused on 7th grader Riley Mae. She Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek book coverloves sports and being girly so her stumbling into the position of spokesperson for the Swiftriver Shoe Company actually seems like a perfect fit. However, there are downsides that she didn’t realize at first – missing most of softball season, making her best friend mad, and even the guilt of promoting expensive shoes. Also, there seems to be a bit of a mystery surrounding Swiftriver Shoe Company!? First I have to say say that the cover is sweet and catches your eye – Love it!! Secondly, I expected a cute, clean read. However, it was so much more!! I was so impressed that this first time children’s author Jill Osborne could make the characters so real in a shorter book, but she’s brilliant! The story dealt with deeper issues, such as a friend does not have enough food because her father is out of work. Also, there is more to the story, but I don’t want to ruin anything…I’ll just finish by saying that I chose to review this book because I know my girls will love to read it, however I am now looking forward to book 2!! Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.