Middle Grade Review: Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek


Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Series: Faithgirlz! / The Good News Shoes (Book 1)
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (January 28, 2014)

Genre: Contemporary/Adventure/Mystery

Source: Publisher for review

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

About the Book:

If you’re gonna run for your life, you gotta wear the right shoes. Riley
Mae Hart loves sports and action—so when the Swiftriver Shoe Company
offers her a contract to be the spokesperson for their new outdoor sport
collection, she jumps at the chance. Soon she’s appearing in
commercials and magazine ads, and every girl in town wants to wear Riley
Mae shoes. Well, except for Riley. Because walking in those shoes means
missing out on softball season, making her best friend TJ mad, and
embarrassing her new friend, Rusty. It also means sneaking around,
hiding, and keeping secrets—because suddenly something isn’t quite
right at Swiftriver. But a contract’s a contract, so Riley laces up her
“Rock Shocker” hiking boots for a climb up Half-Dome in Yosemite. Will
they be the right shoes to get her back on solid ground?

About the Author:

Jill Osborne works in children’s ministry and has a passion for telling
great stories. She has written plays, skits for youth groups and Sunday
morning drama teams, curriculum for children’s ministry, countless
articles for her church newsletter, and a blog about taking a sabbatical
in a motor home. Good News Shoes is her first series for kids, and she
plans to run with it! 

My Thoughts:

Riley Mae is the new spokesperson for a shoe company and she is very
excited about it…until it interferes with the rest of her life. Her
best friend is mad at her, she can’t play softball as much as she wants,
and all her weekends are spent doing photo shoots and making

Here is what I liked about the book: Riley Mae is a sweet girl who
genuinely cares about others. She goes out of her way to make other
girls feel included and good about themselves. She is upbeat and
positive.  I loved the vibrant personalities of the characters. Flip and
Fawn are both entertaining and fun to have along for the ride. Riley’s
parents were involved in her life and helped her make good decisions
(yay for involved parents!). They taught her to pray over decisions and
to turn to God for guidance.

What I didn’t like about the book: Much of the religious content felt
awkward and out of place—there were only a few instances where it fit
nicely with the rest of the story. Also, the build up was very slow.  Most of the book was about photo shoots and
friend drama until the very end when things got interesting. There is a
bit of a cliffhanger ending. There’s not much of a solution, but
instead it ends in a gateway to the next book. There isn’t much explanation for some character’s motivations, and many of their behaviors didn’t make sense. Maybe those things will be
addressed in the next book.

Even though not everything worked for me, it was still a good book that I
would happily let my daughter read. It will appeal to girls ages 9-12
that enjoy clean, light reads with fun characters.

Content: clean

Source: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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