Freaking Fast by David Pereda is a young adult novel that thrusts us into the future, reminiscing about today. Alexandra Martin is a successful mathematician living in Asheville, North Carolina, in the year 2066. As she drives her flash, robot car to shoot the man who she describes as the love of her life, she begins to reminisce about her middle-school years, her friends and the day she met the boy who would have such an influence over her life, Ukranian Vitali Borzov. Back in middle-school Alex was your typical nerd; incredibly smart and bright, but equally, totally uncoordinated, shy and doubtful about her looks and her personality. Eager to obtain a scholarship to an elite high-school, Alex is dismayed when she is told she needs to be a more “well-rounded” teenager if she is to guarantee the scholarship – her high grades will not be enough. She knows she’s a faster runner than her schoolmates, so in desperation she decides to give track and field a crack, sprinting in particular. Alex remembers her friends and her time as a rising sprint star along with her new friends and the impact they had on her life, as she heads over to kill the man who she loves more than anything in this world.
David Pereda has produced a fascinating, little story, in Freaking Fast that gives us a peek into what the future might hold, but also spends much time reflecting on the angst and self-doubts that are part of any teenager’s makeup. The characters he creates are typical young teenagers, anxious to prove themselves to their peers, but equally terrified of not being accepted, or of being ridiculed. The author’s style is simple and flowing as should be the case for a target market of young adults. As anything but a young adult, I still found the story compelling and especially enjoyed the deep and meaningful analysis of how Alex faced her sprinting races and dealt with both success and failure. The author made subtle references to how to deal with perceived “failure”, which I appreciated. I also found the little asides, relating to current events of today, both relevant and clever on the author’s part. This was an extremely easy book to read and I can definitely recommend it for not just young adults, but for all those young at heart and especially anyone who tried to follow their dreams, as a young teenager. Freaking Fast is an excellent read.