Told in first person, Untraceable by S. R. Johannes follows a girl with plenty of backcountry knowledge as she tries to find some trace of her missing father. Refusing to accept his death, she’s made herself the bane of school, psychologists, local cops and even her best friend Wyn, but Grace is not one to give up easily. Chapter headings remind her, and the reader, of the skills she’ll need (and sometimes forgets). A fine motorbike called Lucifer carries her deep into hidden terrain. A gentle stranger with an odd cross between English and Australian accents offers help. And a thoroughly convincing Indian friend keeps a wary eye on her.
Small town America is changing and new money’s needed to keep the jobs flowing. But the wilderness and its rules give Grace an anchor, even as her father’s comforting presence is torn from her. Pleasingly independent, entertainingly careless, enjoyable introspective and convincingly determined, Grace winds through action, mystery, fly-fishing lessons and more, learns about guns (I’ll have to take the author’s word on the details), watches her beloved bears, agonizes over conflicting emotions of friendship and romance, and refuses to give up.
There’s plenty of action, lots of surprises, no happy-ever-afters and just the right touch of promise in this book. First in series, with a storyline that ends in the promise of more to come, I enjoyed it as a fine stand-alone, young adult adventure with great heroine and enjoyably different structure and real-world premise.
Disclosure: The author kindly gave me a free ecopy as she celebrated her latest book launch.