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The Traz by Eileen Schuh

The Traz (edition 2011)

by Eileen Schuh

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232459,532 (4.5)None
Title:The Traz
Authors:Eileen Schuh
Info:Kastle Harbour Publishing (2011), Paperback, 202 pages
Collections:Your library

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THE TRAZ (BackTracker Series) by Eileen Schuh



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Written for older children, tweens and teens to help those in trouble or give options how to avoid trouble in these often emotionally and physically cruel years. Author Eileen Schuh has written this version as a school edition. There is also a regular edition. Every parent should read this book and perhaps even discuss it with their kids. This story is full of the pitfalls that multiply as teens get older, become more street smart and more in need of security and love. Some strong language as can be expected, the language of young people caught up in street life of which drugs and gangs play a large part.

Katrina is very small for her age, and extremely intelligent, actually Mensa certified, a genius at the age of 12. These two points are the root of bullying Katrina, causing her to leave school at this age. An alcoholic mother and a father who is too involved do not help ease the pain and loneliness. Very dark and frightening, how could such an intelligent, sunny little girl get dragged in to this vortex of the dark side? A lesson for all in the early part of the book. As Katrina, or Sarina as she prefers to be called in the world she has entered, loses all the usual types of security, she becomes involved with a motorcycle gang, the Traz, when she accepts a bike ride from a very interesting biker. Who is this man vying for control of the gang? Why is he so protective of Sarina?

This is a very interesting book from a lot of points of view. Not all dark, there are many characters running the gamut from gentle and caring to pure evil. Traumatized after witnessing an event she can't remember, Katrina/Sarina's story will continue. Excellent characterizations, dialogue, interaction, descriptive settings, the storyline setting up for a series, Eileen Schuh's writing is compelling and encompassing. Although occasionally I got a slight feeling of disbelief, I also felt this was intentional, a necessity to the plot. I have a feeling there will be a lot brought to light in the future. I am looking forward to reading the second in this very different and exciting series. ( )
  readerbynight | May 12, 2012 |
Hard-hitting and gritty, Eileen Schuh's pull-no-punches novel The Traz is certain to elicit a deep emotional response - and, hopefully, inspire some critical thought and discussion about serious issues such as depression, suicide, gangs, drugs, violence, and crime.

Thirteen-year-old Katrina is no squeaky-clean heroine: thanks to a tumultuous home life, she's already deeply embedded in the underworld, privy to, and participating in, drug deals and other shady activity. Katrina is a genius, far smarter than other kids her age, and she doesn't fit in - she prefers the excitement of the wheeling and dealing on the street to the bullying she gets at school. An inheritance from her maternal grandfather has made her wealthy, and his teachings about computers have helped Katrina get a finger on the pulse of the burgeoning cybercrime movement that accompanies the rise of the Internet (the books are set in the early '90s). Despite the inattention of her preoccupied father and alchoholic mother, Katrina gets by on her intelligence and clever subterfuge, until her relationship with her much-older boyfriend takes a bad turn, and sudden tragic circumstances make her an orphan. Alone, overcome with grief, and uncertain where to turn, Katrina is taken under the protection of a biker named Shrug, and is instantly plunged into the world of the biker gang The Traz.

Of course, everyone within The Traz has their own agenda and Katrina finds she must constantly walk a tightrope to survive. Secrets, lies and betrayals of trust are par for the course - no one is quite who they seem, even Katrina herself, who is at times a highly vulnerable little girl and others, a mature woman full of dark, powerful wisdom. (I was particularly drawn to Katrina's knowledge of woodland plants and their uses, lore she learned from her paternal grandmother. The legacy of her grandparents is an integral theme, offering a stark contrast to Katrina's "family ties" to The Traz). When undercover cop Chad infiltrates the gang and enters Katrina's world, things really heat up - could there be life outside the gang for Katrina?

Schuh's deft, tight writing doesn't give the reader much room to breathe: the action and dialogue are visceral, relentless, and blisteringly fast. The language is "street" and very strong - there is absolutely nothing sanitized about this book, which makes it all the more relevant. The addition of a study guide will be helpful for educators, parents, and teens, as this is a book that simply BEGS to be discussed.
  SherNor | Apr 2, 2012 |
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