Shift, debut novel by author Jennifer Bradbury. Three weeks from high school graduation, a throwaway announcement made on a whim to avoid his mother’s summer job lecture, Chris announces he is going to ride across country with his best friend and fellow bicycle enthusiast Win. As graduation nears, word spreads amongst the senior class and what began as a lark snowballs, their purported trip the stuff of legend. Chris and Win make their metaphorical trip a reality and embark on their journey to Seattle, Washington. Simple in theory, their ride becomes increasingly complex when Win disappears and Chris is left to finish alone, return home, and face the consequences of his friends actions. Not charged in Win’s disappearance, Chris begins college dogged by an investigator searching for Win. Flashbacks reveal the boy’s journey and it becomes obvious, though best friends each has secrets to hide. Both are using the time to find themselves, whoever and where ever that may be.
This book is wonderfully realistic; readers are able to travel along the highway with Chris and Win, meeting interesting characters and locals. But this is not a typical "buddy book," these boys are refreshingly complex. When Win disappears, Chris is left to wonder if that is what he had planned all along and ultimately feels equal parts betrayal and worry. Delightfully crafted, there are many layered nuances and shades of truth, lies, and mystery to hold a reader’s attention until the last page.