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Reviewed by Amy Powers for Readers' Favorite
Sally Royer-Derr presents The Tracks, a young adult mystery about a young woman who spends her free time down on the train tracks in the woods behind her house. Emily uses her time on the tracks to enjoy the momentary escape from the reality of having to move to a run-down home in a new town after her father's death. When she meets Tommy on the tracks, things start to look up as she is finally able to make a friend. Tommy seems to be a bit of a loner, so he and Emily make the perfect pair. Although their friendship is developing and Emily is finally able to smile again, she still isn't sure that she can trust Tommy. He isn't willing to open up about some things, and Emily is sure that he is keeping something from her. With a bit of research, Emily is on her own again, trying to uncover whatever secrets Tommy is hiding.
I love it when a story crosses the boundaries between genres, and Sally Royer-Derr manages to do just that. The Tracks is a thrilling mystery with a bit of adventure, romance, and horror thrown into the mix, with unexpected twists and turns that are sure to keep readers guessing. I love the way that the sturdy dialogue is used to develop different relationships between the characters throughout the story. I think that the underlying theme of recovering after a loss in the family is beautifully portrayed. Even minor characters, such as Emily's brother and mother, have their methods of dealing with the unexpected and not-so-pleasant changes in their lives and it is fun to travel beside them as they learn to accept their new lives.