Still mourning the loss of Lucas Nelson, the boy she loved in secret for years, seventeen-year-old Emmy Martin turns to her passion for mountain biking to try to fill the empty void in her life. But just when things start looking up, Emmy discovers her mom has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Confused and angry that her parents didn’t tell her sooner, she throws herself into mountain biking like never before.
When Cole Evans, the rich boy who usually doesn’t care about anything but himself, offers to train her for the biggest mountain biking race of the season, she accepts, determined to beat her nemesis, Whitney, and prove she’s good enough for a sponsor. The more time she spends with Cole, the more she realizes he’s different than she’d expected, and, to her surprise, she’s falling for him. Torn between the deep feelings she still has for Lucas and her growing ones for Cole, she knows she must choose a path: one offers her the chance to love again, while the other is blocked by the overwhelming heartache for the boy she lost.
As she drifts further away from her family and closer to her dream of being sponsored, a terrible accident threatens any semblance of peace and happiness she has left. Instead of closing herself off to the people she loves, Emmy must learn to rely on those she has pushed away if she’s going to have any chance of getting her life back again.
Now that my complaints of the summary are over, which I completely forgotten about before I read the book, on to my thoughts on Emmy. Emmy has fire and attitude which is done in a way that makes her sound like the cool kid in the story. Not the actual kid because she has exactly one friend at the beginning of the book, but just like that loner kid in the school ground that doesn't take anything from anybody. I loved her spirit and that spirit was only rivaled by her best friend Kelsie who will not let Emmy lose her fire. Kelsie is always there for her friend. She's just the type of person you would want as a best friend - encouraging and (for the reader's sake) always the one trying to push her towards her love interest.
Cole is very sweet when we first meet him. He cares for Emmy clearly and will keep on teasing her even when she tries to push him away. He always tries to be encouraging towards her mountain bike training. He races as a mountain biker as well and is captain of the team she created which is where a bunch of tension is placed towards him. The bad news is that the first half I really liked him but in the second half I felt he was too pushy. It felt like he thought she owed him something because he liked her/was nice to her. So Emmy tries to push back. If you don't like it go away. Don't complain. I know it's something she obviously needs to work on but I just didn't like him later on. The relationship kind of bored me after a while. By default, I didn't feel as connected to Emmy because of the relationship she was in or really the way she kept on acting as I did in the beginning.
Emmy's mom has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's which pretty much sucks on Emmy's end. The way Emmy goes about it isn't right. I would hope I would do the direct opposite. I can see her point of view of it all. She latches on to the bad part to justify her behavior but still. That's your mom. Her relationship with her mom ended up being unclear to me. There was something that I see could have been done towards the end to get them closer. Their relationship could have been explored more but that twist at the end changed things. That twist never really registered with me because it felt so unnecessary.
Lucas is a character who died a little while back that Emmy hasn't been able to get over. At least, I supposed that was true. I was worried from the initial Cole flirting with her and her focus on training that she didn't really care about Lucas anymore. But there were moments throughout the book that had her mentioning him and I got the sense that she really did care. There is actually another book I discovered about his sister's adjustment after his death called Love, Lucas. I wouldn't mind reading about her time because I got something really juice spoiled in this one about what happens to her.
I almost forgot about Emmy's brother and father! I really liked her relationship with her brother. I felt with her father she interacted with him just enough to make me satisfied. I liked that she did interact with her family and it wasn't just her out in the world. I dislike when books ignore the family.
A note on the mountain biking: It really made me want to get outside and go running. I would never do mountain biking like my crazy brother but I do enjoy being in the outdoors in other ways. I love being motivated by books! All the training and races were the best part for me because I like all of that stuff.
Although the first half did better for me than the last I did enjoy Emmy's personality, her friend, her relationship with her brother, and the mountain bike training. The romance could have done with a bit of less in the book, the mother-daughter relationship could have been resolved, and the twist didn't need to be there. I will still like to try Sedgwick's other books because her character writing shows she has potential.
Thanks to NetGalley and Sky Pony Press for letting me read and review Switching Gears in exchange for an honest review!