The Traz is a book full of action and adventure, touching on issues such as drugs, gangs, grief, and the meaning of life. The targeted audience are young teens, but it is also a good read for adults.
The story follows the life 13-year old Katrina, who had lost hope and will to live after the night of her parent’s death. She makes reckless decisions and actions to overcome her grief and loneliness. Her choice of following Shrug, a fierce biker of the The Traz gang, changes her life forever. Katrina joined the gang to feel included, but soon life gets tougher. Katrina is at the bottom of the pecking order. Within the gang, there is no mercy and
she becomes the target of their abuse. Her troubles increase when she witnesses a murder of an old friend. Katrina feels too entangled in this mess to come out clean, until she meets Chad, an undercover cop who offered to help her. Katrina starts to feel a bit of hope for the first time. Chad is a nice guy, but oddly enough, he knows Shrug very well, and also knows something else no one knows.
The characters are very complex, having mysterious pasts and roles. Katrina possesses a wide range of emotions too. I find it hard to see her true personality, she can go from vulnerable to vicious. Sometimes I would feel uneasy with the things she has to do and witness, but it is the grim reality. I feel so sorry for what she has to go through. I also feel really sad sometimes, since I can imagine how much potential she can put to use if she was living a normal teenage life, in a family that truly loves her. Shrug is also a significant character that caught my attention. I am confused in the way he acts sometimes, like the time he hit Katrina was totally unexpected. I am curious to see his character develop, and maybe we can discover why he decided to live like a gang member.
However, I am impressed how each little conflict leads to the climax of the story. It reminds me of how little white lies can turn into a crisis. The plot is very original, and I found it fascinating to see what it is like to live in a gang. The Traz’s interesting plot made me want to read more, and I can’t wait for Schuh’s next addition to the series. The Traz definitely makes a great debut.