________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 6 . . . . November 10, 2005


Wild Ride. (SideStreets).

Jacqueline Guest.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2005.
165 pp., pbk. & cl., $6.95 (pbk.), $14.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55028-880-6 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55028-881-4 (cl.).

Subject Heading:
Métis-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.

Review by Libby McKeever .

*** /4



January Fournier stared at the stretch of treacherously winding mountain road ahead ... and smiled. This was going to be fun. Gearing down her red and white Yamaha YZR 600F motorcycle, she started into the corners. As bike and rider leaned hard over in the first turn, Jan knew that her knee was only millimeters above the pavement. It was like a sixth sense with her. She accelerated out of the corner, easing the bike to vertical as she picked her best racing line through the next tight turn, then roared into it.

Liam hit a key and, as she read the information on the screen, Jan was surprised at how little poaching had actually taken place in the park. In fact, this year's four incidents were already setting a record. She studied the map showing the kill sites, Banff was her hometown and it was freaky to think a cold-blooded poacher could be among them.

Maybe she could spot something new, an overlooked clue that would bust the case wide open. There was only one catch. How could she ask David about it without him wondering where she got her information?

Since her family moved to Banff, January Fournier has kept pretty much to herself, content that her mother is happy in her new marriage. She knows that, with her distinctive black hair and native features, she is the odd one in the senior class at Banff Community High. But solitude doesn't bother Jan; the winding mountain roads are her companions and prove a wonderful testing ground for her Yamaha YZR 600F and an outlet for her skill as a speed racer.

January's new stepfather, Constable David McKenna, accepts a RCMP summer student who will be boarding with them, and Jan is excited at the prospect of having company. When Willow Whitecloud roars up on her sleek Kawasaki ZW-10R, January is suitably impressed and finds this young Métis woman, who honours the traditional ways and reveres the contents of her medicine bundle, fascinating.

January finds herself paired with Liam, the class computer geek, in a final web page project that she needs to pass. January soon realizes that with Liam's skills, (combined with his penchant for hacking) and his quiet acceptance of her, their project may uncover the truth behind the recent grizzly bear kills in Banff National Park. Willow has proved to be very solitary and secretive, and, when her curiosity can't be contained, January is alerted realizing that Willow's disappearances coincide with the grizzly bear kills.



Wild Ride is the sequel to Lightning Rider, and, although reference is made to past events, readers will not feel as though they are missing information. Wild Ride is a solid stand-alone story, and, despite the language being a little forced and stilted, the story is well crafted and enjoyable. Guest introduces a native theme without resorting to stereotypical subject matter, and this theme proves to be an integral part of this novel. Young readers will enjoy this unpredictable fast-paced mystery that cleverly melds ancient native culture with the life of contemporary teenagers.



Libby McKeever is the Library Assistant at Whistler Secondary School in Whistler, BC, and a Library Technician student.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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