Reading TRACKED by Jenny Martin may have been my favorite part of 2015 so far.
Really? Yes, really. Here are the reasons why:
1) I’ve had a pretty tame year so far.
2) It was an incredible relief to read Jenny’s book and, you know, like it. Not only like it, but think it’s amazing. Jenny and I are friends, and it would have been extremely awkward for me if her book sucked. Wednesday nights at IHOP would be excruciating. So thank you, Jenny, for writing such a fantastic book that I can recommend without reservation. I know you did it just to make my life easier.
3) TRACKED is simply a great read. It hits all the marks as far as Things I Like In Books: feisty heroine (Phee) who gets to do badass things (race cars really really fast); solidly crafted fictional world (the corporately controlled planet Castra); swoon-worthy cohorts with personalities beyond the Designated Love Interest (loyal Bear and roguish Cash); rollicking, rebellious plot worthy of the very best space opera.
Imagine Fast and the Furious but more like Star Wars…if Princess Leia was a scrappy orphan street racer. There’s something for everyone in this book.
4) The pace is great, it’s action packed, and Phee’s voice is infinitely readable and relatable. It hits the sweet spot between tough and vulnerable and wry. It’s neither ponderous nor flippant. (Voice is one of the hardest things to explain, because it’s how the story is told. Have you ever read a book and gone, “Oh my God, lighten up,” or “I would love to read about this supernatural team of stenographers, but it’s like a completely shallow airhead is telling this story…”? That’s voice.)
Jenny has an amazing grasp of tone, which goes along with voice. She’s just so good at choosing exactly the right word for the scene or the sentence. It sounds simple, but it’s surprisingly difficult to get the nuances right.
5) I’ve known Jenny for awhile, and like most writers, her first finished manuscript was not her first published book. (I don’t think she’ll mind me telling you that. If she does… well, I guess Wednesday nights at IHOP will be awkward anyway.) Jenny’s baseline is “smart and talented,” but she’s upgraded by writing and writing and reading and studying her craft and trying different things. She’s also really worked hard and been persistent through situations that would make a lot of people throw their hands up and say forget it.
Talent doesn’t always guarantee publication (or the other way around), so it’s thrilling when you see someone you respect and admire (and love) finally hold her published book in her hands.
Go buy this book, everyone else.
On corporately controlled Castra, rally racing is a high-stakes game that seventeen-year-old Phoebe Van Zant knows all too well. Phee’s legendary racer father disappeared mysteriously, but that hasn’t stopped her from speeding headlong into trouble. When she and her best friend, Bear, attract the attention of Charles Benroyal, they are blackmailed into racing for Benroyal Corp, a company that represents everything Phee detests. Worse, Phee risks losing Bear as she falls for Cash, her charming new teammate. But when she discovers that Benroyal is controlling more than a corporation, Phee realizes she has a much bigger role in Castra’s future than she could ever have imagined. It’s up to Phee to take Benroyal down. But even with the help of her team, can a street-rat destroy an empire?