I’m a runner so when a free book pops up on Pixel of Ink that involves running I tend to download it pretty quickly. Earlier this week I saw Pepped Up (Pepper Jones Book 1) pop up as a free book (still free at this exact moment if you’re still looking) so I decided to give it a try.
Through Pepped Up we follow Pepper Jones in her junior year of high school as a member of the varsity cross country team. Her best friend Jace is a football player (senior) and a bit of a party boy. Pepper on the other hand is very reserved and would prefer to spend her nights relaxing with her Gram. While Pepper is admitting she has feelings for Jace, he on the other hand would be the last one to admit she is anything more than a friend.
Joining the cross country team this year is reigning high school cross country national champion Ryan. He recently moved to Colorado from California and has his eyes on Pepper. Jace is not exactly thrilled and is trying his best to figure out how Pepper fits into his life and what to do without her.
The book follows Pepper, Ryan, Jace & their friends through the twists and turns of high school, recruiting & competing at the national level of a sport. Pepper faces what a number of teens are faced in high school, decisions about drugs, alcohol and sex. As she navigates her junior year her original focus of becoming national champion has a few twists and turns a long the way.
Going into this book I had to remind myself on more than one occasion that it is geared towards Young Adults. There are characters in the book that you want to yell at but you have to remember that they’re in high school & well we all know how high school can go.
On Goodreads someone suggested that they wanted to slap Pepper throughout the book in how immature she was. I felt that way too on occasion but again, it’s high school and thinking back I could see where Ali Dean is coming from in portraying Pepper the way she did. Pepper, while immature, does face what a number of teens face, especially in a larger high school.
I would recommend this book to an older young adult (15/16) if they are looking for a “cheesy” quick romance read. I wouldn’t define it as a romance novel by any means but the love triangle between Pepper, Jace & Ryan does play out a lot through the book. There are a few sex references and drug references so I wouldn’t recommend it to a younger teen.
Book 2 (All Pepped Up) is already out and book 3 in the series is due out May 28th!
This book qualified as my “book with a love triangle” for the 2015 pop sugar reading challenge.