Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Shift by Jennifer Bradbury

Shift by Jennifer Bradbury is about the long friendship of Chris and Win, their cross-country bike trip following high school graduation, Win’s eventual disappearance, and the consequences of his disappearance. Written from the first-person perspective of Chris, Bradbury creates a familiar, likable voice and a gripping story. Because Bradbury only uses Chris’ perspective, the reader finds out information at the same time as Chris and is asked to make connections and conclusions in real-time with the main character.

Bradbury’s opening chapter of Shift sucks the reader right in and does not let them go until the final page. Chris and Win have a love/hate relationship, stemming from two very different home lives and perceptions of the world. Win is the child of wealthy parents who through money and disappointment his way, but little love and support. Chris, however, comes from a supportive lower-middle class family, proud of their son and willing to make sacrifices to see him happy. Many young people experience this struggle to understand where their friends are coming from and how to support them through those differences. The snappy dialogue between all of the characters makes these attempts to understand probable and engaging.

Between the events of the bike trip and the nervousness around the mystery of Win’s disappearance, Bradbury writes a book that will grip adolescent boys. They will have to read all the way to the end to solve the mystery, while enjoying some male bonding and funny stories along the way.

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