Title(s): Pepped Up & All Pepped Up
Author: Ali Dean
Tour Dates: August 11-15, 2014
Pepper Jones is ready for an epic cross country season. She wants to qualify for Nationals, and she’s willing to do anything it takes to make it happen. She can handle long miles and hill sprints, but boys? That’s an entirely different challenge.
Pepper’s never considered revealing her deeper feelings for her longtime friend, Jace Wilder. After all, he’s got the personal magnetism and good looks to hook just about any girl in town — and he has. Their friendship stands apart from high school social circles, and they’re both just fine with that (or at least they pretend to be).
That is, until running star Ryan Harding moves to town.
When it comes to running, Pepper’s goals are clear. But when it comes to Jace and Ryan, it’s nowhere near as simple.
About All Pepped Up:
Pepper Jones knew that being Jace Wilder’s girlfriend wouldn’t be simple.
But she didn’t predict just how many complications would arise from his past. Jealous girls? That she expected. Family secrets? Not so much.
At least Pepper can always hit the trails to clear her head… except when it comes to racing.
The high expectations from her phenomenal cross country season haunt her, and she can’t seem to get psyched up for track season.
Pepper’s junior year at Brockton Public is full of challenges on and off the track, but she’s not afraid to face them.
- There’s something absolutely charming and wonderful about this book. It pulls you in and wraps you up in the story. Pepped Up is exactly the sort of contemporary I’ve been searching for. It’s NOT centered on love, it features a girl who is happy with her body image, and doesn’t try to sugarcoat some of the hard drugs and partying done in high school.
- Pepper is focused, open-minded, and understanding. She tries to identify with Jace and his issues, she’s forgiving, and doesn’t put others down. She steers clear of drama and sticks with a group of good friends.
- Pepper is just discovering sex and some of the scenes are cringe-worthy, avert-your-eyes embarrassing but they’re REAL. They’re not romanticized or glossed over and show authentic, open feelings.
- Ali Dean perfectly replicated the confused female mind, all the fears and uncertainty about guys and whether crossing the threshold of friendship with a guy friend would destroy what they had. Pepper is so easy to relate to, all the thoughts running through her head are some that every girl experiences at points in their life.
- Cross country competition is the underlying plot and theme of the book. Pepper’s determination, her discipline, and her goals to make it to nationals are admirable, she’s a great role model and has a clear, moral conscience. I can’t remember the last time I read a book about sports and was so consumed by the story.
- Pepper’s relationship with Jace is complex.The strange moment when friendship turns into attraction is spot on. Pepper’s flashbacks to how her feelings changed are full of poignant truth and powerful emotion. Tha sexual tension is palpable. There are heated glances, and small touches that make you melt and yearn for more.
- Bunny is hilarious. She’s that quirky, eccentric grandmother that it’s too much work to be embarrassed by. She’s funny, she pushes Pepper out of her comfort zone and helps her fit in with her peers. Her lines are some of the most creative, bold, and revealing.
- The moments between Ryan and Pepper felt fake, almost forced. The attraction just wasn’t there, at least not enough to make him competition against Jace.
- Jace is kind of unlikable. He’s a player that goes well beyond standard playful bad boy. While he does have redeemable qualities and has made some serious mistakes, it doesn’t make sense that Pepper is taken with him.
I dig my feet into the mud and embrace the burning in my quads. The harder I push, the deeper the pain in my legs and my lungs. But I’m closing the gap with the two girls in front of me, and that makes it worth it. Just before reaching the top, the girl in the yellow uniform pitches forward and hits the ground. She’s back on her feet already when I pass her, but she’s lost her momentum. It’s not easy to regain on this terrain.
I’m shoulder to shoulder with the girl in the red uniform when we hit the top of the climb. It’s a straight 100 meters to the finish. I can barely make out the finish line through my mud caked lashes, but it doesn’t matter. I’m not easing up. I’ve got one shoe on, and I’m soaked in mud from head to toe. Literally. This is my kind of race. The discomfort from the elements is nothing compared to the throbbing in my muscles. I welcome it all as I force my legs into sprint mode.
Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband, twin babies, and golden retriever. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.
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