Freerunner by Kathy Cassel, a review

In this young-adult book, Kia, a shy biracial kid whose issues usually keep her hiding in the shadows, is just entering high school. When a cool new coach shows up, she decides to join the track team. Turns out she’s good at it, because she’s been working on the new sport of freerunning—a mix of gymnastics moves, running, and jumping using typical equipment found in a playground—as she flees memories of sexual abuse from when she was six years old.

Kia struggles to find a place socially on the track team. It’s not easy. And then her abuser–her grandfather–shows up and actually moves in with Kia and her mother. It’s a recipe for disaster, especially for the little six-year-old girl that her grandfather is getting to know as a volunteer at a day care.  Can Kia face her inner turmoil enough to make a difference for this little girl?

This book has great pacing and suspense, as well as strong characterization. I’ll give it 4.5 stars. Good work, Kathy.

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