Gold - Chris Cleave My screenwriter boyfriend tells me there is a certain way that stories are supposed to go, a certain formula of events, if you will. Read enough books, see enough movies, and one begins to really believe that. The trick to good story telling is to have stories go in the way that they are supposed to go without giving away, too obviously, where it is going. Gold reads in exactly the way the story is supposed to go. I could have told you from the first 50 pages where the story line should go, and away it went.

Kate, Jack, and Zoe aren't cookie-cutter characters by any means and the plot isn't necessarily a cookie-cutter plot. However, the twists and turns that the story takes on it's track to the Gold, are like the strategic moves made by racers. The tone is set from the starting line, and it can only go a limited number of ways with the choices made by the cyclists on their quests for the Gold Medal.

Don't let the predictability of the story sell it short, however. One cannot help but fall in love with eight-year-old, Star Wars obsessed, Sophie, who fights leukemia and tries with all her little might to keep her parents happy. One cannot help feeling for (and as a fairly bashful woman, also relating to) Kate, her mother, who chooses to miss both the Athens Olympics and the Beijing Olympics for Sophie's health. Zoe's harshness and betrayals, while terrible traits somehow make her a character that you simply want to hug and then slap; her fight to receive a Gold Medal overcomes even her humanity. Jack, Sophie's father, deserved a good shake - I think.

In a lot of ways I felt as though I were reading a Jodi Piccoult novels. The way the story went is very reminiscent of her style; in some ways I was surprised - in a good way - that this was written by a man. Neither she nor Chris Cleave are fabulous authors but the can write a story well, with characters that you can believe and love. It's good book junk food: quick, easy, flowing, happy, "correct."

I received this ARC from Goodreads First Reads Giveaways.