Publishers Weekly Review
In a novel addressing the age-old question of fate versus free will, Steinkellner (Trash Can Days) places five teens at crossroads. football star Brian needs to decide whether to quit the team after receiving two serious head injuries. Allegra isn't sure if she should accept a scholarship to Stanford and abandon her needy family. Wiley, who's in love with Allegra, is trying to find the courage to admit his feelings; dance team member Nikki is pondering whether to go all the way with her boyfriend; and thespian Cole is contemplating a scheme to cheat on the SATs. Structured as two separate stories in one, the novel reveals what happens when the characters make one decision, then what happens when they make the other. Is one choice more "right" than another? Will the teens end up in the same place regardless of what they choose? The philosophical answers will pique readers' interest, but keeping track of the characters and their various options amid the switching realities may prove a challenge for some. Ages 14-up. Agent: Alex Glass, Glass Literary Management. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-A middle grade author ventures into YA territory with his latest realistic novel. Follow the stories of Brian, Allegra, Wiley, and Nikki as they navigate their senior year of high school. Brian loves football, but when he sustains an unexpected head injury, should he play in the big game? Allegra is accepted to Stanford, but will she go? Wiley loves his best friend, but should he tell her? Nikki has a mistake in her past that she's running from-will she choose to please others or herself? This novel asks the eternal question, do we control our destiny by our choices, or is our fate predetermined? Readers will be completely drawn in by the unique text structure of this story. Steinkellner follows a pattern reminiscent of a "Choose Your Own Adventure" format, where teens see the story through two totally different threads. The narrative alternates between "Road One" and "Road Two" scenarios, where events in the plot change based on the characters' choices. Those who enjoyed Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life as We Knew It or Emery Lord's When We Collided will be captivated by this title's alternating character views and dramatic plotlines. VERDICT A must-have coming-of-age story that will resonate with all types of YA readers.-Elizabeth Pelayo, St. Charles East High School, IL © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Steinkellner's often antic coming-of-age novel features not one, not two, but five coprotagonists who tell their respective but interconnected stories in their own first-person voices. There is Allegra, the class valedictorian, who dreams of going to Stanford; Wiley, her best friend, who is in love with her; Cole, a brilliant borderline sociopath; Nikki, the beautiful new girl in school with a secret; and Brian, aka Big Mack, the requisite football hero. Straightforward so far, but here comes the twist: each of the kids will unwittingly experience two realities, figuratively traveling two different roads with different consequences. For example, in one reality, Brian, with a possible concussion, sits out the big game; in the second, he chooses to play and winds up brain damaged. As the action proceeds throughout the school year, this narrative strategy becomes complicated as it's increasingly and frustratingly difficult to remember what has happened to whom in which reality. That said, the book is compulsively readable and unfailingly well written, and the characters are nicely individualized. Impressively original.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2017 Booklist