Escape Velocity


Lou wonders if there is any truth in fiction.

It’s the end of a long hot summer in Alberta’s Badlands, and fifteen year old Lou is dreaming of escape. Then an unexpected crisis turns her dream into reality and Lou is forced to leave Alberta and stay with the mother she has never known. Lou is overflowing with anger, hurt, and, most of all, unanswered questions. Why did her mother never want her? She is convinced the answers lie hidden in her mother’s novels, and is determined to find the truth… no matter what the cost.




“Stevenson… delivers a nuanced story that is both familiar and inspiring, yet never cloying. Escape Velocity is a subtle mediatation on both the ties that bind and the difficulties that divide. While it is clear-eyed about the damage one generation often visits on the next, it celebrates the nobility of our efforts to escape those limitations.” (Quill and Quire, December 2011, starred review)

“Lou is a fully rounded, attractive character. Zoe’s emotional insensitivity toward her, while painful, becomes understandable as her believable back story emerges. Other characters are also nicely, authentically fleshed out, adding depth and a strong sense of reality. A quiet, moving exploration of what it means to be a mother—or a daughter—even when the relationship is unconventional.” (Kirkus, August 2011)

“Stevenson has managed to craft a unique book: she has inserted adventure into a novel about family turmoil…Lou’s desire to know the truth about her family will resonate with many young adults trying to understand their own family dynamics. The central conflict of this book is certainly an intriguing one that will captivate some young adults. Students who enjoy realistic fiction and books about family will be most interested in this book.” (VOYA, September 2011)

“Escape Velocity is a well-written book, a touching story about a mom and a daughter. It’s an intriguing tale with brilliant characters and surprises every other page…. a great book for teens. (Moire B, age 12, YA Galleys)

“This novel exquisitely captures the angst adolescents experience when dealing with parental and peer conflicts… The plot twists and turns, and readers can empathize with Lou’s predicament. Stevenson creates an engaging story which will appeal to female adolescents addressing identity issues and family turmoil. (Library Media Connection, January 2012)

“Beautifully written, easy to get into (and over too quickly, I thought!). While the book has its moments of genuine sadness and unwelcome surprise, it is also inspiring (without ever being melodramatic or sappy)…I would recommend this title for those who enjoy contemporary and/or slightly more sophisticated YA [novels].” (Fabbity Fab Book Reviews, December 2011)

“Stevenson excels at writing stories about complex family relationships and Escape Velocity is no exception.” (Resource Links, December 2011)

“Lou is a reliable narrator and a likable character…Enjoyable for fans of realistic fiction focused on family dynamics and relationships.” (School Library Journal, January 2012)

“This book has a message… that sometimes peceptions are wrong and that there is reason for hope when faced with adversity…. This is a good choice for middle and high school girls who are looking for truth in relationships.” (Tri-State Young Adult Book Review Committee, January 2012)


  • 2011 Resource Links “The Year’s Best”