Review: They'll Never Catch Us

They'll Never Catch Us

by Jessica Goodman

Razorbill (imprint of Penguin Random House)

Category: Young Adult
Reviewer: Michelle Falkoff
Sisters Stella and Ellie Steckler share an alcoholic mother, a love of cross-country running, and an unwillingness to disclose anything about their romantic lives with one another. Their hometown is best known as the place where a series of murders happened a few years ago, and both are desperate to leave. Running seems to be the only way out, but competition for scholarships is fierce, and Stella may have already lost her chance because of an incident at a competition that got her sent to anger management.
The competition heats up when Mila Keene moves in. Mila was one of Stella’s biggest competitors, and now she could take the scholarships that Stella so desperately needs. When Mila disappears after Stella sends her a series of angry texts, it’s not long before the town jumps to the conclusion that anger management camp wasn’t enough to save Stella from herself, but Stella’s not the only person with reasons to want Mila gone.
The central mystery in this novel is engaging and complex, with some interesting twists, some foreseeable and others less so. Jewish content is minimal; there’s a reference early on to the parents rediscovering Judaism after the mom completes rehab, as well as one mention of Hebrew school, but that’s all. With that in mind, I’m not convinced They’ll Never Catch Us satisfies the criteria to be considered for the Sydney Taylor award—it has literary merit but very little Jewish content or research. It’s a really fun read, though, so it’s worth checking out regardless.
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Reviewer Michelle Falkoff is the author of the young adult novels Playlist for the Dead, Pushing Perfect, Questions I Want to Ask You, and How to Pack for the End of the World. She lives in Chicago