Author: J. Gabriel Gates [W], Charlene Keel [W]
Publisher: HCI Teens [W]
Release Date: July 1, 2011
Format: Paperback; 504 pages
Series: The Tracks (Book 1)
Genre: YA, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Avg. Rating: ★★★★✩
Goodreads | Book Depository
Star-Crossed Love, Martial Arts, and Supernatural Evil meet at the Abandoned Tracks in the Deceptively Quaint town of Middleburg...When Ignacio Torrez moved from the rough streets of Los Angeles to a small town dead smack in the middle of nowhere, he never expected to find himself in the midst of a gang war. But, he soon learns, these are no ordinary gangs. The wealthy, preppie Toppers on one side of the tracks and the working-class Flatliners on the other adhere to a strict code of honor and use their deadly martial arts skills, taught to them by the wise Master Chin, to battle one another for pride, territory, and survival. When Raphael, leader of the Flatliners, falls for Aimee, a Topper girl, the rival gangs prepare for a bloody, all-out war. The only hope for peace between them lies within the dark territory of the abandoned train tunnels where the tracks cross. Under the direction of the mysterious and frightening Magician, the awesome power within the crossing sends the rivals on a terrifying mystical quest to fight the malevolent force that threatens the existence of Middleburg.
I've read many, many books. And there have been many plots and elements in each and every one of those books. However, out of the plethora of books that I have read, I can honestly say that I have never in my life read a book involving martial arts. I thought that was something that would have to stay to the television screen or a real life event that I see with my own two eyes in order to really get into it and understand it. Boy, was I wrong! To be quite honest, the one thing that made me hesitate the most about this book was the one thing that hooked me to the book quite easily.
It's not just the martial arts that made me fall for this book, though. It was every single element and detail in this book, especially the characters. Raphael was an amazing character with so much history and quality to him that he seemed to really jump out of the pages for me. With his back story and how he handles his life, it was easy to feel a connection with him. Aimee was also great and I couldn't help but cheer for her and Raphael to work out together. The chemistry between the two is endearing.
There's also a nice number of characters that I couldn't help but love to hate. I'd assume that comes along with the territory of getting involved with a story that deals with gangs. BUT, I didn't know that I would get so emotionally attached to the story that the "bad guys" would actually make me have a physical reaction on top of the emotion. I would say that type of influence that a book has on you is a pretty big deal - and it shows just how well developed and written this book really is.
If I had to say anything bad about the book, I guess it would be that some of the plot is a little unoriginal with the whole girl on the "right side" falling for the boy on the "wrong side." That didn't deter me from the book one bit though because that very insignificant detail is just that - insignificant. The unique spin that the book takes on that plot, along with all the action, drama and suspense, really puts this story in its very own category. I absolutely loved this book and look forward to catching up with the rest of the books in the series.