Friday, July 9, 2010
Shift by Jennifer Bradbury
Win and Chris - friends and recent high school graduates embark on an epic adventure...bike riding from West Virginia to Washington state. That was the plan... but the ending wasn't quite what was expected. Chris returned alone.
That's how this story begins, you know the ending before you even really know the beginning. Chris is being questioned by an FBI agent about the disappearance of his friend Winston Coggans. Chris knows things, but not what Ward, the agent, is really looking for.
He knows that two unprepared high school grads began a journey. Win, with his jokes and his secrets, and Chris trying to prove that he was more than nothing. As the two journeyed for two months, pedaling and meeting new folks, they both changed. Changed enough that Win's disappearance on a mountain pass in Washington didn't surprise Chris as much as you would think. He knew Win's dad was a controlling freak who couldn't wait to get him in an Ivy league school and on the path to running the same chemical monopoly that he did. But, Win kept his secrets.
The book toggles between chapters of the ride and chapters of Chris's life in college, with the agent, with new friends. The reader is able to see the changes unfold and culminate in a reunion of sorts over Labor Day.
This is one of those buddy books where the friends discover they don't really need each other - and in that understanding they become deeper friends. Weird huh?? This is also the story of two boys who actually did the thing that they dreamed of...cool!
This was a fast and rather predictable read, but the descriptions of the scenery and the companionship were enough to make even a sworn bike riding hater consider the call of the road. Bradbury is clearly a biker and that adds to the authenticity of the story.