Summer Reading for Young Adults: Enter the Dark Territory of The Tracks, Book One

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We know Young Adult novels aren’t high on most of our readers’ “must read” lists, but we also know a lot of you have kids who are budding horror fans; and with its blend of star-crossed love, kung fu, and magic, Dark Territory: The Tracks, Book One sounds like something they might be interested in checking out.

Written by J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel, The Tracks series was conceived originally as a movie treatment after the two met on Craigslist when Keel answered an ad from Gates: “young author seeks mentor.” Six years after collaborating on their movie idea, Keel suggested that it would make a good teen series, and The Tracks was born.

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.

Gates remarks about the book, “… the world the story takes place in is a sort of post-industrial, rust-belt place where the middle class is being marginalized until there really is no middle class, just the rich and the poor. I think that mirrors some of what’s happening in American society, where a lot of good middle-class jobs are disappearing, and there’s a lot of unease because of it. I think that’s an interesting and timely backdrop for a teen novel. After all, there are a lot of teenagers whose parents are laid off right now or whose friends’ parents are laid off. Literature should address that. The book really reflects a post-racial society that’s divided along economic rather than racial lines, and it seems to me that that’s where we’re heading.

Summer Reading for Young Adults: Enter the Dark Territory of The Tracks, Book One

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Debi Moore

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