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They'll Never Catch Us
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They'll Never Catch Us
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**A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER** From rising star Jessica Goodman, author of They Wish They Were Us, comes a new fast-paced thriller about two sisters vying for the top spot on their cross-country...
**A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER** From rising star Jessica Goodman, author of They Wish They Were Us, comes a new fast-paced thriller about two sisters vying for the top spot on their cross-country...
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  • **A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER**
    From rising star Jessica Goodman, author of They Wish They Were Us, comes a new fast-paced thriller about two sisters vying for the top spot on their cross-country team—until a teammate’s disappearance throws their lives off course.
     
    "An utter page-turner. Goodman's voice is razor-sharp and keenly precise. Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn!" Tiffany D. Jackson NYT Bestselling Author of White Smoke and Grown
    Stella and Ellie Steckler are only a year apart, but their different personalities make their relationship complicated. Stella is single-minded, driven, and she keeps to herself. Cross-country running is her life and she won't let anything get in the way of being the best. Her sister Ellie is a talented runner too, but she also lets herself have fun. She has friends. She goes to parties. She has a life off the course.

    The sisters do have one thing in common, though: the new girl, Mila Keene. Both Stecklers' lives are upended when Mila comes to town. At first, Ellie and Stella view the new star athlete as a threat. But soon Ellie can't help but be drawn to her warm, charming personality. After her best friend moved away and her first boyfriend betrayed her, Ellie's been looking for a friend to share her secrets. Stella finds herself noticing the ways she and Mila are similar. Mila is smart and strong—she's someone Stella can finally connect with. As the two get closer, Stella becomes something she vowed she'd never be: distracted.

    With regionals approaching and college scouts taking notice, the pressure is on. Each girl has their future on the line and they won't let friendships get in their way. But then, suddenly, Mila goes out on a training run and never returns. No one knows what happened, but all eyes are on the Steckler sisters.

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    “Well, if it isn’t the Steckler sisters.” Coach Gary crosses his arms over his broad chest and widens his stance. He’s wearing a blue Edgewater hat over his bald head and his legs are bronze, as if he’s been outside every day for the past three months. When a breeze rustles his shorts, I glimpse his pearly white thighs where his tan line makes a hard stop.

    “Miss us, Coach?” Ellie teases. But as soon as she says it, her face turns red, like she forgot she was greeting the dude who earned the nickname Coach Scary after he made a whole bunch of freshmen cry last year. But he gets results. And that’s what everyone cares about. That’s what I care about.

    “You two? Nah,” he says, playing along. His dark eyes narrow and he tilts his head toward me. “Breakbridge do you right?”

    I nod.

    “It better have,” he says. “You’ve got a lot to prove this year.”

    I straighten my spine and don’t look away. “I know.”

    He snaps a piece of gum. “Looking forward to seeing what you’ve got.” His eyes move over my shoulder and I turn to follow his gaze toward the bleachers. There, sitting in the front row, is a small white woman with gray hair and sunglasses, holding a clipboard. She’s wearing a polo shirt and hiking shorts. I don’t recognize her from the college recruiter lists.

    “What school is she from?” I ask, fear building in my stomach. Scouts aren’t supposed to come to practices. Hell, we’re lucky when they show up to meets.

    “Ours,” he says, his voice gruff and frustrated. “School board oversight. They just wanted to keep an eye on things after last year.”

    Ellie lets out a groan.

    “Shut it, Baby Steckler,” Coach snaps. “I don’t have time for this. You’re my squad. My girls. Just have to show ’em I still have a handle on you lot.”

    Ellie clamps her mouth shut and looks to the ground. Before we can say anything else, we’re interrupted by whooping and hollering. I turn to the parking lot to see Tamara Johnson, Raven Tannenbaum, and Julia Heller tumbling out of a rose-­gold SUV branded with a bumper sticker for the Ellacoya Mountain Resort. They pose for a selfie in their practice uniforms and break into a fit of laughter about some inside joke we’ll never understand. They start to walk toward us and Tamara smiles, her box braids swinging behind her. Raven’s pale, freckled arms hang by her sides like ropes and she glances at Tamara, hungry for approval. Julia’s straight, dirty-­blonde hair is gathered into a tight high ponytail that looks like it’s pulling at her scalp.

    This goddamn threesome. Julia and Tamara have been best friends since kindergarten when the Hellers moved to Edgewater to open another location of their fancy sporting goods chain. They became tight with Raven a few years later, which was a good thing, considering that when her sister Shira pulled that ridiculous stunt, no one wanted to go anywhere near the Tannenbaums. Well, no one except Tamara and Julia. They stuck by her side. It was pretty nice, I guess. Doesn’t make up for the fact that Julia still calls me Sterile and con­tinues to just be a straight-­up asshole. She and Tamara aren’t that fast. Raven, though. She could be good but she chokes all the time.

    Coach ignores them. “Stella, stretching,” he commands. “You are co-­captain, after all.” He flashes a menacing smile and raises his eyebrows. The...

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    June 1, 2021
    Edgewater is famous for two things: the unsolved murders of three teen cross-country runners 10 years ago and the events of the previous summer when Stella Steckler did something unforgivable to a competitor. Cross-country runners and sisters Stella and Ellie are brutal, tender--and out for blood when it comes to one another. Stella is focused on running as her ticket out of town and into college on a sports scholarship; her similarly gifted younger sister is slowly making her way into the top spot on their high school team. When newcomer Mila Keene joins the team, the sisters become entangled in a complex and ambivalent dynamic with her. When Mila goes missing while out on a run, it throws the sisters, their team, and the whole town into upheaval. Alternating first-person perspectives between Stella and Ellie, this thriller lays out two primary narratives--that of Mila's heartbreaking case and the relationship between Stella and Ellie--and expertly layers them with a cold-case murder mystery and an exhilarating sports tale. This novel is also a thoughtful examination of socio-economic challenges, the impact of crushing personal secrets, and the ways female athletes suffer under the weight of misogyny, especially when they are aggressively competitive. Most characters read as White; the Steckler family is Jewish, and Stella is queer. Naomi, Mila's best friend, is Korean American and lesbian. A deftly layered sports thriller populated with fierce girls. (Thriller. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2021

    Gr 9 Up-Stella and Ellie Steckler are sisters and cross-country runners, both with their sights on big-time college scholarships. Stella is focused and intense; her world revolves around running. Ellie (aka Baby Steckler) is equally formidable as a runner, but manages to find a balance between athletics and a seemingly normal social life. Their way of life, though, comes with its own hiccups (false accusations, secret relationships, an unplanned pregnancy). But while the sisters seem to be running parallel to one another, literally and metaphorically, both bond with the new girl in town. Another strong runner, Mila brings out the best in them, even if she is also competition for college scouts' attention. But when Mila is found murdered, the Steckler sisters are prime suspects. How will the sisters clear their names when their past mistakes-real and assumed-haunt their community? High stakes and elite athletics, small-town mysteries, and family secrets all provide the right backdrop for this psychological thriller akin to Malinda Lo's A Line in the Dark, Diana Peterfreund's "Clue Mysteries," and Kara Thomas's The Cheerleaders. VERDICT A strong choice for YA thriller shelves.-Jennifer Miskec, Longwood Univ., Farmville, VA

    Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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