Title: Switching Gears by Chantele Sedgwick
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Length: 288 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
Still mourning the loss of Lucas Nelson, the boy she loved in secret for years, seventeen-year-old Emmy Martin turns to her passion for mountain biking to try to fill the empty void in her life. But just when things start looking up, Emmy discovers her mom has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Confused and angry that her parents didn’t tell her sooner, she throws herself into mountain biking like never before.
When Cole Evans, the rich boy who usually doesn’t care about anything but himself, offers to train her for the biggest mountain biking race of the season, she accepts, determined to beat her nemesis, Whitney, and prove she’s good enough for a sponsor. The more time she spends with Cole, the more she realizes he’s different than she’d expected, and, to her surprise, she’s falling for him. Torn between the deep feelings she still has for Lucas and her growing ones for Cole, she knows she must choose a path: one offers her the chance to love again, while the other is blocked by the overwhelming heartache for the boy she lost.
As she drifts further away from her family and closer to her dream of being sponsored, a terrible accident threatens any semblance of peace and happiness she has left. Instead of closing herself off to the people she loves, Emmy must learn to rely on those she has pushed away if she’s going to have any chance of getting her life back again.
Switching Gears by Chantele Sedgwick is a poignant young adult novel about loss, family and unexpected love. This companion piece to Love, Lucas that can be read a standalone.
Following the tragic loss of her best friend and secret love, Lucas Nelson, seventeen year old Emmy Martin’s life is still off kilter. An avid mountain bike racer, she is disappointed when she comes in second place in a race against her nemesis Whitney. She is still also smarting over losing her team captain spot to relative newcomer Cole Evans. So when Cole offers to coach her after she agrees to race against Whitney, Emmy turns him down without hesitation. However, their paths continue crossing as she trains on her own and she begins to realize there is more to Cole than she previously believed, but is Emmy ready to move on to a new relationship?
Emmy is initially not an easy young woman to like. She is prickly, closed off and refuses to let anyone except her best friend Kelsie get close to her. Emmy is extremely close to her mom which is why it is so upsetting when she learns her parents have been keeping secrets from her and her brother Gavin. After learning the truth about her mother’s recent diagnosis, Emmy refuses to talk to her parents and she begins avoiding spending any time at home. Instead, she throws herself into training for the upcoming race against Whitney and as she continues running into Cole, she is surprised when she begins to realize she might be falling for him.
Kelsie is a wonderful secondary character and she is extremely loyal to Emmy. She easily overlooks her friends moodiness and she is quick to agree to anything Emmy asks her to do. But Kelsie refuses to let her friend wallow in her grief and she gently, but consistently, urges Emmy to consider giving Cole a chance. Their friendship is refreshingly lacking in angst or drama and Kelsie’s upbeat personality is a nice contrast to Emmy’s numerous issues.
Cole is a fantastic love interest for Emmy and he refuses to give up on her no matter how unpleasant she is to him. At first he seems like he might be a little too perfect but underneath his clean cut, wholesome facade is a normal teenager dealing with the same issues as other kids his age. Cole accepts Emmy’s refusal to let him help her train without putting up a fuss but he is not fazed by her attempts to keep him at arms’ length. His persistence pays off and a tentative friendship forms between them which eventually deepens into a real relationship.
Switching Gears by Chantele Sedgwick is a sweet young adult romance that is fast-paced with engaging characters. The storyline is well written with realistic problems and issues to overcome. The ending is a little overly melodramatic but the epilogue is nice. All in all, an enjoyable young adult novel that readers of all ages will enjoy.