Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 14 to 18
- Grade: 9 to 12
Twins Crystal and Amber have the same goal: to be the first in their family to graduate high school and make something of their lives. When one gets pregnant during their junior year, they promise to raise the baby together. It’s not easy, but between their after-school jobs, they’re scraping by.
Crystal’s grades catch the attention of the new guidance counselor, who tells her about a college that offers a degree in automotive restoration, perfect for the car buff she is. When she secretly applies—and gets in—new opportunities threaten their once-certain plans, and Crystal must make a choice: follow her dreams or stay behind and honor the promise she made to her sister.
About the author
J. M. Kelly was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and now lives in British Columbia, Canada. When she’s not working on her novels, she writes nonfiction articles, plays, and sketch comedy, and teaches writing to both kids and adults.
"Kelly presents a realistic, yet hopeful, portrayal of teen pregnancy... the characters’ struggles to rise up, discover their identities, and raise a baby remains emotional and utterly believable."
"...Crystal is a sympathetic and original protagonist, and readers hanging in for the possible revelation of secrets may be pleased to find more than expected."
"...the book remains a believable portrait of blue-collar teens struggling to make it work against tough odds."
"The subject and the teen’s efforts to succeed make this a good purchase for libraries, especially those looking for realistic fiction that addresses class disparity."
—School Library Journal
"Crystal's struggles with independence and identity are realistic and palpable. Feminist readers in particular will appreciate this strong young woman who doesn't conform to gender norms."
“I loved this book. I wanted to invite Crystal and Amber over to my house where I could make them a nice dinner and then help them figure out their lives while we enjoyed pie.Speed of Life grabs ahold of your heart on page one and doesn’t let go even after you’ve turned the final page.”
—Eileen Cook, author ofWith Malice