Author: Karen Avivi
Publication Date: 1-15-13
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: ARC in exchange for honest review
Josie Peters thinks she’ll do anything to qualify for the Ultimate BMX freestyle event the summer before her senior year so she and her friends take off on a summer road trip to hit the qualifying events in the Midwest. Late-night parties, an intimidating mega ramp, and the lure of sponsorships spark friction between the girls. When Josie’s best chance for success depends on her relationship with flashy rider R.T. Torres, she has to decide what she’s trying to win and how much she’ll sacrifice.
This book was so cool. Shredded is very different from any other young adult contemporary book that I have ever read. I’m not even really a huge fan of young adult contemporary, but I loved this book, and there definitely needs to be more novels like this on the market.
I think that I can probably count on one hand the number of YA books I’ve read in which the female protagonist plays a sport and it’s mentioned more than just “oh I went to tennis practice.” And this book isn’t just about any old sport either…this book is about BMX riding. I didn’t even know that BMX riding was an option as a sport when I was growing up. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. More girls need to be exposed to awesome sports like this…and, like Julie says, not just because their older brother’s into it.
Julie’s story starts when, after she lands her first back flip at a skate park, she finds out that her boyfriend has been cheating on her. This moment creates a theme that transcends this whole novel…girls are multifaceted, and they shouldn’t just be looked at as either girly, manly, nonexistent, or in the way.
And that’s what’s so great about Shredded. This book is groundbreaking and inspirational, but Julie isn’t the perfect pedestaled heroine, either. Yes, she is brave, tough, and amazing…but she’s also scared, an underdog, and real. She does backflips and tail whips, but she also cries when she realizes all her friends are leaving her for the summer, and is embarrassed when she has to go to prom with bruises on her face from falling off her bike. Josie is exactly the kind of role model I would want for my daughter. Somebody who is a completely normal girl, but overcomes incredible obstacles while still maintaining her unique and lovable personality.
And I adored Julie. For some reason, I was able to connect with her very well. She underwent a lot of struggles that a lot of teenage girls go through, like dealing with sibling rivalry, overprotective parents (oh my god, were her parents awful), growing apart from a best friend, and defining relationships with male friends. But she also kicks butt at BMX riding. I loved reading all of the scenes with her riding BMX at competitions. This book allowed me a glimpse into a very exciting and interesting world that I previously knew nothing about. And even if I don’t want to go hop on a BMX bike after reading Shredded, I still want to go out there and do something…and any book that makes you feel like that is truly special.
I have to be honest…I really wanted to give this book 5 stars. But ultimately I had to go with only 4, because of the ending. While I liked the ending in general, there were a bunch of loose ends that weren’t addressed, and I wish that the book had been slightly longer in order to reveal what happened with those plot lines, for example: Josie’s brother’s relationship status and Josie’s relationship with Conner. It was all just tied up way too quickly, I thought.
But I still think that this book is extremely underrated and should be widely read amongst teenage girls, particular those still in middle school. I also think that this book has just barely scraped the surface of an extremely important and relevant topic that there needs to be so much more of in the world of YA contemporary lit. There is so much potential here, and I’m excited to see more books like this in the future.