When I saw the cover for Chasing the Skip from Janci Patterson I somehow thought of one of my favorite eighties movies Three for The Road. (By the way if you are familiar with this movie then you are a very excellent individual.) So I decided to download the advance copy and take a chance on it. Chasing the Skip is probably a good read for the weekend and it’s less than 150 pages and it only took me a day and half to finish it. Books like Chasing the Skip to me are often looked at as a mini book vacation. It’s a break from zombies, paranormal activity and the end of the world. Janci Patterson writes a memorable story from a young fifteen year-old girl’s perspective during a time she feels abandonment from both parents.
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Ricki’s dad has never been there for her. He’s a bounty hunter who spends his time chasing parole evaders—also known as “skips”—all over the country. But now since Ricki’s mom ran off, Ricki finds herself an unwilling passenger in a front-row seat to her father’s dangerous lifestyle.
Ricki’s feelings get even more confused when her dad starts chasing seventeen-year-old Ian Burnham. She finds herself unavoidably attracted to the dark-eyed felon who seems eager to get acquainted. But Ricki thinks she’s ever in control—the perfect manipulator. Little does she know that Ian isn’t playing their game by her rules.
Ricki is a character that I could not identify with, but she is someone that I definitely found interesting. Even though her snarky sarcasm makes her appear fierce her inner dialogue tells a story of a naïve girl just looking for security. She is constantly worried about her mother who has gone missing and sees herself as a burden with her bounty hunter father. Every time Ricki managed to check in with her friend back home or would remember moments with her mom before she left, I could see what was going to happen to her and wondered why she couldn’t predict it. As I read on I kept wanting to pull Ricki aside and say, “Look this is what’s going to happen while you stay with your father and you might want to get comfortable.” Even though Ricki’s story was predictable it is something that unfortunately teens and many families go through and have to experience.
Ian, or the criminal who Ricki’s dad often refers to, is someone who I really wished played out differently. But I get it, I get it and understand why his character went the way it did. I do wish there were more of him in Chasing the Skip, but when he is in the book he makes a huge impact and often brings the best conflict to Ricki and her dad’s situation. I feel Ian’s purpose in the book is more symbolic to Ricki. He is someone who comes from a troubled home and for me is not what Ricki could become but more of what the reality she has to be willing to see and accept. Ian has a very dark moment in the book that was totally unexpected and I commend Janci Patterson who willing to put one of her characters there.
I think Chasing the Skip is a pretty good read that has a unique setting because of the whole bounty hunter thing. It isn’t a teen romance if that’s what you are looking for, but a work of teen fiction that maintains a level of quality about it. This is something that I myself would have picked up back when in my own school library. I do sometimes come across a teen that says, “I don’t want a romance, a series that I have to commit to or a book about vampires. I want something real and that’s good.” This would be the book that I recommend to that special and unique teen that just wants to read a good book, which will be available October 2012 from Janci Patterson.