I don’t read much young adult fiction, largely because I’m a not-so-young adult. My students and colleagues remind me that YA fiction is an important and often under-appreciated genre, so I’m always happy when I find a young adult book I really like. Out of Breath (Ashland Creek Press, 2011) is one of those books.
It’s about a runaway runner named Kat Jones, who returns to the town where her mother died to escape her past in Texas. She finds a job in a running store, starts running again, and eventually encounters some vampires, a murder, romance, and the athletic challenge of her life. It’s a fast-paced, clever story with a protagonist who is both tough and sympathetic and with equal measures of the paranormal and the ecological (I won’t spoil the plot twist).
Did I mention that Out of Breath is set in the southern Oregon town of Lithia, which has a Shakespeare festival, running store, food coop, and lots of nice restaurants and shops, and something called Manzanita Park. Part of the fun was of the book was the locale—which includes not just the quaint town but the running tails and surrounding forest. (It also made me think that someone should do a series in which all stage actors are a secretly vampires, hmm.)
Written under the pen name of Blair Richmond, Out of Breath is the first of a planned trilogy. I’ll be waiting for the next installment, breathlessly.