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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Josie is a BMX bike rider and the hero of "Shredded", whom we first meet as she is trying out her back flip in the skateboard park. Although she has done it before in more private places with the coaching of her friend, Miguel, Josie is nervous about performing her back flip stunt in front of her boyfriend Sean's friends. They never seem to take her seriously and think of her more as a follower of Sean's than a BMX rider. Josie performs the back flip successfully only to find out afterwards that Sean has broken up with her and is taking Mindy, a younger girl, to the prom. Both Sean and Mindy have advertised this on their social media pages leaving Josie feeling humiliated and angry. She finds a girls' BMX group called Exquisite online and arranges to have the two members meet her at her home for BMX practice. Josie is thrilled to meet Lauryn Jax who is just as serious about BMX as she is. The three girls decide to enter all the Midwestern BMX events that summer, culminating in the Ultimate in August. Josie has to convince her parents that her BMX biking is just as important as her brother Troy's sports, and that her going on this tour is the same as Troy going to his sport camps.
I loved this book. I applauded when Josie stood up for equal rights with her brother and resisted her parents' attempt to treat her differently because she is a girl. Karen Avivi's extensive research into BMX tricks and competitions has resulted in a book that keeps the reader's attention riveted during the description of each gravity-defying trick. I could visualize Josie and the other BMX bikers as they analyzed the courses at the events and performed their movements. Avivi makes each event and stunt come alive. She also addresses some very important issues about how young women are frequently treated in extreme sport competitions, and how that can be changed by the young women who participate. You don't have to be a woman to enjoy this book or be into BMX or other extreme sports. It is a fabulous read and one I wholeheartedly recommend.