Saturday, May 8, 2010

My Review of RUSH by Jonathan Friesen


By Jonathan Friesen

RUSH is the latest young adult novel of my friend Jonathan Friesen. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy to read. His first novel “Jerk, California”, a road trip/coming of age story of a teen who just happens to have Tourette Syndrome won the American Library Association Schneider Family Award.

“He could burn. She could die.
Anything for the rush.”

These words from the cover of Rush are a fairly accurate ten word description of the RUSH.

18-year-old Jake King is the kind of teen who gives parents sleepless nights and frantic days. Never one to sit still for a minute, Jake’s idea of a perfect afternoon begins with blowing off school to play “Spiderman” by rock climbing up a sheer walled canyon in a thunderstorm. Along the way, Jake rescues an 8 year-old stuck half-way up the canyon wall. Then instead of a bedtime story, Jake scales the local water tower for a late night dangle.

AD/HD, E/BD are just a few of the initials used to describe adrenalin junkie Jake’s constant quest for thrills.

But there is more to Jake than just action. His best friend Salome Lee knows a side of Jake that no one else is permitted to see. Ever since they were 8 years old and he climbed the rope ladder at school to rescue her locket, his tender friendship and loyalty have been calling to Salome’s heart, causing her to overlook most of Jake’s crazy stunts. Their relationship is complicated further by Jake’s fear that if he lets Salome get too close he’ll only break her heart.

Just when it seems Jake has worn out his welcome at school and his father’s patience at home an opportunity comes up that seems perfect for Jake’s unique skill set. The local crew of hotshot forest firefighters has an opening. These are the guys who rappel into wildfires, smoke jumpers who parachute into the belly of the beast to pull out its fiery teeth. Jake can just see himself in one of those leather jackets with “The Immortals” stitched on the back. Never mind that these guys have a habit of dying young.

But there is more to “The Immortals” than Jake knows. “According to legend, each year at least one member of the underground firefighters’ brotherhood must die.” But dead firemen never speak and the living “Immortals” are just as tight-lipped. All of which appeals to Jake even more.

RUSH is a fast paced story with a full serving of action and a side dish of mystery seasoned sweetly with romance. Jonathan’s writing will have you feeling the heat from the firefighting scenes and heart-pounding excitement as you follow Jake’s “live large or die” philosophy of life. This plot and these characters are well-written and interesting, getting into your head and keeping you turning pages long past bedtime.

So if you’re a reader who likes your action with a little lovin’ or your romance with a touch of danger, RUSH to Amazon and put in your pre-order because RUSH doesn’t release until June 10, 2010.

Check out the book trailer at: or below!

The “Skinny” on RUSH (what I really loved)

  • The nice/tough guy character of Jake. He’s a high-risk, adrenaline-loving troubled kid trying to do the right thing.
  • Jake’s descriptions of how AD/HD affects his mind.
  • Sweet & sassy Salome, an strong, independent young woman who’s not sitting around waiting for a “knight in shining armor.”
  • The story setting in the California wildfire region, exploring the exploits of men who risk their lives fighting out of control fires.
  • Mystery of “The Immortals,” firefighters’ secret club.
  • It's a fast-paced page-turner.
  • Really FEELING the rush as Jake risks everything, jumping bikes, fighting fires and scaling rock walls all for the thrill of it.

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