Saturday, July 31, 2021

Book Review: "They'll Never Catch Us" by Jessica Goodman

The latest book from Jessica Goodman, They'll Never Catch Us, is part coming-of-age story and commentary on girls who go after what they want, part satisfying YA thriller.

Stella and Ellie are sisters, and both are cross-country runners. Stella is an intense competitor; she knows the only way she can get into an elite college is to get a scholarship. But that intensity and competitiveness doesn’t make her an easy person to be friendly with, and when an incident occurs with a fellow classmate at the end of her sophomore year, her fellow students view her as crazy, even violent.

Ellie wants to be an elite competitor, too, but she is more laid-back and easier to get along with. She knows her sister is her biggest rival, and they used to be closer than ever, but both have secrets they’re not willing to share.

When Mila comes to town, it throws everything into an uproar. Mila was the best runner at her school, and suddenly Stella has to push herself even harder, between overcoming everyone’s perceptions of her, trying to get back the chances she lost following the incident sophomore year, and now she has to beat Mila.

Mila sees Stella for who she really is, and Stella starts letting her guard down, even if she’s not sure she can trust anyone. And of course, that wreaks havoc on her competitive spirit. Ellie, too, becomes close with Mila, even revealing a secret that she’s told no one else.

When Mila disappears on a run early one morning, the town is quick to blame Stella. But could a serial killer who terrorized the town years ago be back, or is the perpetrator someone closer to home?

This was a bit of a slow burn at first but I couldn’t put it down. It’s a family drama, a bit of a mystery, and commentary on the double standard that girls and women face when they’re competitive and go after what they want. I really enjoyed Goodman’s last book, They Wish They Were Us, and They'll Never Catch Us is just as good.

Thanks to BookSparks and Razorbill for providing me a complimentary advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review, as part of #SRC2021!!

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