Tracked by Jenny Martin
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Rating: 3 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
The Fast and the Furious gets a futuristic twist in this action-packed debut!
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?
What I Liked:
This book was a bit all over the place. Overall a solid read and I'm interested in reading the sequel... but it's clear that this is a debut novel, and I'll explain why I say this in a moment. This book was rushed and way too fast-paced, but I recognize the potential and want to read more.
In this book, Phoebe Van Zant has no choice but to become Phoenix Vanguard. Caught for illegally rally racing, she strikes a deal with Benroyal and must race for him, or there will be terrible consequences. Phee's best friend Bear is pulled into the mess. Life in the Spire is a cage, and Phee hates living under the scrutiny of cameras, media, guards, heavy security, limited access, and not a chance to see her family, or understand the lies and politics behind everything. It's clear that Benroyal needs to be stopped, and not just because he owns Phee and her life - what he's planning is far worse, for everyone.
I love the science fiction of this book! Most of the reason why this book got such a high rating from me is because of the science fiction aspect of the book. I got a Star Wars feel for this book, especially with all of the racing and parts and teamwork aspect. Reminds me of the more recent Star Wars films, with little Anakin! I totally want to rewatch those trilogies again now...
Anyway. This novel takes place in a futuristic setting. Phee is an excellent driver/racer, well known on the streets. Her father was a well-known racer as well, and raced for Locus (another company) before he disappeared when she was young. Benroyal is using Phee for his own gain, in legal races.
I've never watched any of the Fast and Furious movies, but I'm sure the comparison is accurate. While I think there should have been more races in this book (there were like, three), I enjoyed the high energy and high stakes. This novel was fast-paced overall (something that I'll talk about below).
The plot is enjoyable, though too fast. It's clear that there needs to be another book, because things with Benroyal are not concluded. Phee discovers many things about herself towards the end of the book, and we need to see how those things will come in handy. Also, the ending is cruel! Very cliffhanger-y.
I didn't really like Phee, but I liked Cash a lot. Not just as a love interest (though that's really all the author made him out to be - a love interest and hawt shirtless male). Totally cliche of the author, but I liked the boy who fought for impossible things.
I think I'll move on to the dislikes! There were, unfortunately, a number of them.
What I Did Not Like:
I didn't really connect with Phee. To be honest, she acted younger than seventeen. I would have placed her around fourteen. Her voice seemed much more childish and immature. I definitely could see her character growth throughout the book, but I couldn't connect with her. She was too immature.
This book is FULL of cliches. And things just aren't well developed. I'll list some examples. As soon as Cash, the primary love interest is introduced, Bear starts to act brooding and angry, and the two of them start fighting. After Cash and Phee have met for all of five seconds. SO CLICHE. In the worst of ways, too - how often do we see this in YA? It doesn't usually happen so fast, right? Yes, the two love interests will square off. But usually... it's WAY into the book.
Things happen too fast and too underdeveloped, in my opinion. The alpha male square-off between Cash and Bear. The insinuation of Bear having feelings for Phee. Phee realizing that she's "confused" about how she feels about Bear. Literally one page to the next, within the first, let's say fifty pages, Phee's feelings change in a second. It takes them being thrust into Benroyal's hands for her feelings to change - that doesn't really make sense to me. And then she meets Cash, and it's insta-love city going on. The love interests immediately hate each other (at least, Bear hates Cash).
So much cliche. Phee throws a tantrum, threatening the love interests if they don't stop fighting, and then walk out. Do people really fight over a girl, five seconds after meeting her? Not sure if that's how real life (for future life) works.
The romance in general is pretty screwed up at first. Like I said, things start to happen too quickly and too underdeveloped. And then it's like there is a love triangle. It becomes clear that Phee doesn't have a romantic interest in Bear, but he's totally in love with her. Phee likes Cash (and vice versa), and I like that pairing. I don't like how fast Phee and Cash "fall in love", become intimate, etc. It's insta-love, not lust. It's like the author skipped about 100 pages of character and relationship developed and went straight to some steamy stuff! Not cool, in my opinion.
I wanted more races! I felt like there was a dry spell between the very first one (which happened within pages of the book starting) and the next one (which was the first official one Phee had to race under Benroyal). Such a long time passes, and it feels like the book becomes about Phee and the media and her boy problems and a ton of cliches.
When I said that it was clear that this book is a debut - it needs work. There was a lot of baldly stated descriptions, a lot of "telling" but not "showing". A lot of underdeveloped plot arcs and characters, the plot moving entirely too fast and a feeling of things being completely left out. The ending is super cliffhanger-y, so watch out for that. This book is probably part of just a duology - I can't imagine it being part of a trilogy.
Would I Recommend It:
Ehhh. Great science fiction world-building, not so great storytelling. I'd wait on this book, wait for the next book to come out, see those reviews. I'll definitely be reading the sequel if I get a chance, especially if this is only a duology. But I wouldn't necessarily recommend this one - it needs work!
2.5 stars -> rounded up to 3 stars. It's not that I didn't like this one! There isn't any venom behind my complaints. I think this could have been a much better book with more development to the story and characters. Hence why I am more than willing to give the next book a shot, despite not really enjoying this one. I'm glad I had the chance to read this one though, no regrets!
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