Woo Hoo!!!! Jennifer Bradbury has scored with her debut novel, Shift.  I finished this book in two days, I couldn’t put it down. Mysteries have always been my favorite genre and this book delivered the goods.  The characters were well developed, even the ones of the periphery. So many details!  Each page begged for another page to reead. It was exhilarating reading Shift where Chris and Win rode 3200 miles from West Virginia to Washington State.  I loved reading about the places they saw, the people the met.  I have never written more than a mile in my life and now the thought of exploring the United States like that is tempting. The trip served as a catharsis for both of the young men allowing them to grow in different ways

Chris and Win have been best friends since 5th grade.  It has always been ChrisandWin eversince the teacher placed them by each other because of their last names – Coggins and Collins.  As graduation looms, a bike trek has been planned across country is planned.  Permission has been granted by the ‘rents of both kids or so it seems.  Chris wants to do this trip before he faces the rest of his life but what is Win’s motivation? Does he want to go because the trip would be the ultimate adventure or goes he have other motives, hidden below the surface?  A few times throughout the trip each of them experienced flat tires which are nothing unusual considering all the riding they were doing.  What was unusual is that when Chris’s tire goes flat, Win keeps on going on   without looking back.  Eventually Chris returns home with out Win. 

Chris tells the story alternating between the present and the past. This is what really pulls the reader in. Starting college is hard enough adjustment and Win’s parents throw an extra monkey wrench in by sending an FBI agent to interrogate Chris about Win. Why all the concern about it is puzzling to Chris – his parents never paid that much attention to Win when he was home. Probably just trying to save face. Who can blame Win for not returning home?   His parent’s will never win any parenting awards. Win’s father is a scary man. Chris knows that from all that he has witnessed over the years. Belittling his son was something that came easy to Win’s father and in return Win made disappointing him into an art form. His mom is not better – completely disinterested in Win or his life.  Case in point the day of the trip instead of saying goodbye to him, she is flying off to Rome.  Gotta love his parents. 

God only knows where he is.  There have been no phone calls, no letters. We are in the dark as much as Chris on where Win is.  Is he with his uncle in Seattle?  Is he dead?  Many questions and no answers.  As angry as Chris is at Win for leaving him with this mess, he knows answers must be found. Does he find the answers he is looking for?  Read the book and you’ll find out!