Thursday, March 31, 2011

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Chasing AllieCat by Rebecca Fjelland Davis

by Rebecca Fjelland Davis
Released on 02.01.2011
277 pages
Flux Books
Source: Copy from author via Teen {Book} Scene

Sadie Lester has been dumped with relatives for the summer. Boredom seems inevitable in her small Minnesota town until she meets Allie—a spiky-haired off-road biker with incredible grace and speed. Training for the upcoming bike race, Allie leads Sadie and cute fellow cyclist Joe up and down Mount Kato—an exhilarating rush that pushes their limits. The fun ends abruptly when they stray off the trail and find a priest, badly beaten and near death. After calling for help, Allie mysteriously disappears from their lives.

Just like the trash littering the beautiful river bluffs, there's something foul afoot. Creepy rednecks are prowling the woods, the same ones who ran Sadie and Allie off the road one night. It's not until the day of the big race that Sadie finally learns the startling truth about Allie, her connection to the priest, and what drove her into hiding (from GoodReads).

REVIEW: I can sum up Chasing AllieCat in three words: exciting, mysterious, and completely believable.  Rebecca Fjelland Davis has taken a dull summer out in the boons and made it a life-changing experience for three teenagers.

Sadie is a fantastic narrator.  The entire story is told from her first-person perspective, and we, the readers, do not lack for any visual descriptions or her opinions on what his happening - we are always in the know, although we don't know anything until Sadie does.  One of the chief reasons that I like Sadie so much is because she is a laid back, take-people-as-they-are person.  That doesn't mean that she doesn't have her opinions on people or doesn't gripe when she has to deal with them, but she accepts it, moves on and works past it.  I particularly like that she always was offended and stuck up for Allie when she thought Joe was making very un-PC remarks about her, particularly since it is evident from the get-go that she is attracted to him!  Like I said, she is easy going on people, but she sticks to her own opinions and is loyal to the people who have shown trust in her.  I like a character who isn't wishy-washy or a fair-weathered friend.

Allie is a prickly type of friendly from the get-go.  She is uncompromising and tough, but not necessarily a bully, although sometimes she can come off that way, particularly with Joe.  She genuinely wants to see people be their best and live the best way possible, which can cause her to be abrasive to people who are not up to code.  Joe, on the other, hand, is a nice guy, although not my type of guy.  In an odd twist, he is the nephew of Allie's aunt-by-marriage.  Like Sadie, he has been sent to live with relatives for the summer.  In his case, it's to escape the aftermath of a personal tragedy.  While I never bought the 'tough-guy' persona that he is originally present to us with, I did appreciate that his overall kindness and that he was working though some demons of his own.  This is a summer of growth and healing for him, and riding through the fear helps him as much as it does Sadie and Allie.

All three characters have an absolute passion for mountain biking and all three also shoulder tough burdens.  You get the idea from the beginning that Allie in particular comes from a sad and troubled background, but I had no clue just how bad it was until the end when the cause for her disappearance is revealed.  Davis wrote an exceptional plot in this book, and specifically with Allie's story, I think her skill really shines.  Throughout the book, we are given just enough clues and incidents that lead us to believe that certain possibilities were afoot, but you aren't sure which one it is until the end.  She also has a remarkable balance between this being a book about friendship and coming-of-age, and also being about Very Serious Subject Matter.  As the latter is never revealed until towards the end, I won't share that with you, but it's a tough thing to bear, and Davis uses very clear language when it's discussed, leaving us in no doubt of the reasons behind Allie's disappearance.  

I really enjoyed this book.  Although I had a little trouble getting into it at the very beginning, that quickly passed, and then I didn't want to put it down.  Davis' characters are distinct, her writing simple, vivid and descriptive, the plot fast-paced, and the mystery of Allie keeps your attention.  There is one, tiny aspect of the plot that I struggled with, but I will say it doesn't hinder my appreciation of the book or my recommendation of it.  Chasing AllieCat is a solid read, a great book about three unlikely comrades who share a summer that teaches them about what living is, and that fear is something to be conquered, not accepted.

FTC: I received this book from the author to read and give my honest opinion. In no way was I compensated for my review.


"She slid around the corner of the door like an alley cat, silent and graceful.  When she was riding her bike, her catlike movements flowed smooth as silk; that ability to land, tire-side down.  The alley cat.  On her feet, her AllieCatness seemed more unnatural, but I hadn't seen her walking around off her bike too many times...

Watching her grace in that moment . . .  I was aware again of how much I wished I were her, inside her perfect body with her fearless heart."


Rebecca Fjelland Davis was kind enough to provide copies of the book for the tour, so I am going to spread the wealth with a little giveaway.  If you would like to enter for a chance to win my SIGNED copy of Chasing AllieCat, please answer the following question below:

"Who is the bravest character you've ever read and why?"

Giveaway Rules:
****please answer the question above in the comments section
****please leave a valid email address with your comment
****giveaway is INTERNATIONAL
****giveaway ends on Saturday, April 9, 2011 at Midnight, E.S.T.
****Following is NOT required (but appreciated), and winner will be chosen by


  1. This answer might come up a lot, but I'm gonna have to say Katness of The Hunger Games. My heart just stopped several times while reading her fight for survival.

    Gripping review, Linds. I think I can see characteristics of Sadie in myself, which made me smile. I honestly hadn't heard of this book before, but despite the slow start, I think I would like it. Thanks for the giveaway.

    missie at

  2. Awesome review! I haven't heard of this one, so your review is just what I needed :D

    And I have to agree with Missie, the bravest character I've ever read would definitely have to be Katniss.

    Thanks for the contest!

  3. Terrific review, Linds! This book sounds exactly what I need right now. I've been striking out with minimal characterization and lack of world building. I need something with meat.

    I think Katsa from "Graceling" is a brave character. She's been used as a weapon by her uncle because of her "skill", but she fights her own insecurities and realizes that she is the only one in control of her powers.

    rummanaha at hotmail dot com

  4. Beautiful review as always Linds, and now I'm very intrigued by this Very Serious Subject Matter and it's affects on Allie. You know I love characters, and this story sounds solidly character driven and can't wait to dive in! Good to know once you got past the beginning you got sucked right in:)

    As far as the bravest character I've ever read goes, I would have to say maybe Faythe from Rachel Vincent's Shifters series (have you read those?). She starts out kind of whiny and petulant and grows through the series to be an incredible person. But she sure as heck gets knocked down along the way!

  5. As much as I want to put in a vote for Katniss, I think I am going to go with Marcus from Cory Doctorow's Little Brother. The things he deals with are terrifying because it is easy to imagine them happening IRL. Marcus stays true to his ideals throughout the book which I think is incredibly brave of him.

  6. I was going to say Katniss as well, but since that's been covered, I'll say Lisbeth Salander from the Millenium Trilogy. Even in the face of horrific abuse, she turns around and uses her intelligence to stand up to her evil guardian and improve her life. She is tough as nails and willing to do anything.

    This book sounds incredibly cool. How often do you get to read about mountain biking AND death AND mystery? Sign me up!


  7. Hum... I guess that my choice will be Eve Dallas, because she always confronts danger without no fear, but she's, sometimes, a little reckless x_x

    This books seems to be really great. I really want to read it :)

  8. Hm ... I think maybe the bravest character I have ever read about was Katniss from the Hunger Games. Not only is she very young and has a very hard and gritty life, but she does it with guts - not looking back, and growing with her experiences. She's just so cool! Anyways, thanks for the contest! :)

  9. lame answer; but Harry Potter. When everything in his life was falling apart, he never gave up! He may be fictional but he is a perfect role model.... :) thanks so much for doing this giveaway!