- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 - 9
- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (January 8, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399173730
- ISBN-13: 978-0399173738
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,035,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tracers Hardcover – January 8, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Cam has had it rough. His lowlife, ex-con father was stabbed to death in prison and his mother died after a long and virulent illness. Now he's working as a New York City bike messenger, trying to settle his debt to Chinese gangsters who are threatening violence to anyone close to him. One day beautiful Nikki literally drops on him, causing him to wreck his bike. Nikki is part of a gang dedicated to parkour, or tracing, the art of moving rapidly through an urban environment, dodging obstacles with grace and strength. In pursuit of secretive Nikki, Cam is eventually drawn into the gang and finds they are also dedicated to crime, carrying out missions, including armed robbery, on behalf of the mysterious Miller. The story is highly predictable and rich with conventions and stereotypes. The central romance is an agonizing on-again/off-again. As Nikki says, "Just…it's complicated, is the thing." On the plus side, the action scenes are well plotted and the richly evoked environment—abandoned buildings, a parking structure, the Chinatown underworld—is unusual, more like a Hong Kong action film than a typical YA novel. Despite Cam's dedication to parkour after meeting Nikki and the sometimes lavish descriptions of his training, the activity ceases to be a plot element for much of novel. Sexual descriptions are brief and subtly conveyed. Violence is frequent, but never overdone. A light read for older action lovers.—Bob Hassett, Luther Jackson Middle School, Falls Church, VA
About the Author
JJ Howard (www.jjhowardbooks.com) grew up in York, Pennsylvania, obsessed with music, movies, television, and pop culture. She graduated from Dickinson College with a BA in English and Tiffin University with an MH in Humanities. She currently lives in Florida. Follow her on Twitter: @jjhowardbooks
Top customer reviews
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Cam is a bike messenger, the fastest in his group, with a mountain of debts and a ton of baggage. He's a loner, who meets a beautiful stranger, well is wiped out by one. She knocks him off his feet and on his behind.
What I really liked about Tracers was how easy it read. It was go from page one and pretty much never let up. Although you don't really get to know all the characters, the ones you're given depth about, grab you.
Cam seems like an ordinary kid, with extraordinary troubles but for whatever reason I felt for him. I was able to connect with his character. Nikki, the silent yet somehow sassy love interest, was a solid character. She didn't have many moments in the book but you felt her presence, just as strong as Cam did.
Cam's immediate obsession with Nikki threw me a little but the author was able to make it all come together, in a way that was both enjoyable and realistic.
I can totally see how this book was made into the movie because it certainly reads like one --complete with Chinese gangs, gritty streets, fast moves, and a romance that you find yourself rooting for.
You won't be knocked off your feet but you'll be thoroughly entertained. There's enough of everything for any kind of reader. I'd recommend it!