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Jennifer Bradbury, . . S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (245pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-4732-5

For best friends Chris and Win, nothing could be more gratifying than a two-month-long cross-country bike trip following high school graduation. But when Win suddenly disappears somewhere in Montana, and Chris, the narrator, returns home alone to Virginia with only a hunch where his friend might be, Chris's once-firm grasp on reality slowly begins to weaken—especially when Win's overprotective, blowhard father launches an FBI investigation to track down his son. This debut novel transcends the run-of-the-mill alienated-teens-on-a-road-trip plot. While the boys meet interesting people and discover fascinating and gorgeously lonesome parts of the country, they also evolve in ways neither thought possible. Endowing both boys with a heavy dose of idealism, responsibility and self-preservation, Bradbury makes their growth feel genuine and even profound. Chris and readers are equally in the dark about Win's disappearance, making the mystery that much more exciting. Ages 12–up. (May)