VELOCITY is Chris Wooding's ninth young adult novel and seventeenth overall novel and is definitely a thrilling read that made me crave more of his stories. Stuck in a small town, Cassica always knew she needed a way out. Her best friend, Shiara, just wanted a way to stay by Cassica’s side and continue building cars for them to race. As two racers from a small town, the two learned to build their own cars that were able to compete with more expensive and complex ones by literally working from the bottom up.
"I feel as though this book was very well written. It had a nice storyline with good character and plot development…it was an intense and thrilling read that made me want to learn more about Cassica and Shiara’s journey together."
After competing at smaller tournaments and winning prize money that was just barely enough to pay for the damages caused by the race, this driver-tech duo gets lucky when a manager comes into town to look into helping them become Celestials. Celestials are the greatest drivers ever who are chosen from the yearly Widowmaker competition --- one that quite possibly kills and injures more competitors than any other competition. Somehow making it past the Qualifiers, Cassica finds herself at the center of everything she’s ever wanted: victory and fame. Meanwhile, Shiara finds out that it’s getting harder to control Cassica’s calm and feels out of place in the big city. As the big competition creeps up closer, Cassica and Shiara’s friendship is almost completely shredded apart but they must learn to get along once again in order to even hope to win the hardest competition.
I absolutely enjoyed reading this book. Females racers have become a recurring plot idea for the past few years so that wasn’t all too exciting to see again; however, I absolutely loved the new world that Woodings was able to create with very small ties to our current world which allowed readers to more easily see the message he’s trying to convey. I also loved the inner conflict that he created between the main characters, as this made the story so much more meaningful and emotional. While the timing of his writing was spot-on, I felt as though some parts could have used more details in order to really emphasize the events. Background information on the races/race processes themselves could have been helpful for the beginning of the story. Even though I eventually caught on that the car races they had in the story were different from the car races that occur here, I feel like I would have enjoyed it better if it was hinted at near the beginning instead of just plunging me straight into the plot.
Overall, I feel as though this book was very well written. It had a nice storyline with good character and plot development. Details were a bit lacking in some areas; however, it was still an intense and thrilling read that made me want to learn more about Cassica and Shiara’s journey together. The message Wooding tried to show in his story came through clear to me and I find it meaningful; however, I’m not sure if it’ll be as clear to other people. I would recommend this book to people who love to read about extreme sports, a good friendship and something that seems to come out from a fantasy as VELOCITY is definitely a mix of all of these.
Reviewed by Alyssa L., Teen Board Member on February 27, 2017