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Provoided by Simon and Schuster
"Gold" is by Chris Cleave.

"GOLD," by Chris Cleave, Simon and Schuster, $27, 336 pages (f)

Popular British author Chris Cleave’s novel "Gold" enables readers to delve into the minds of three athletes as they gear up for the 2012 Olympics.

Cleave centers his novel on three world-class cyclists: Jack and Kate Meadows and Zoe Castle. Jack and Zoe have already won Olympic gold medals and are eager to repeat the experience. As for Kate, the gold and the Olympics have always remained slightly out of reach. In 2004, she made the decision to stay home with her baby, Sophie. And in 2008, after learning that Sophie had leukemia, she made the painful decision to stay home with Sophie once again.

Now the 2012 Olympics are right around the corner, and Kate is determined to win the gold for herself and Sophie. The only problem is that her long-time friend and rival Zoe has the same goal. When they learn that only one of them will be able to compete in the 2012 Olympics, the race is on.

The fierce backdrop of the race to the Olympics is contrasted by Sophie’s own battle against leukemia. Sophie wants her mom to win the gold more than anything, and so she tries to hide the severity of her illness from everybody.

Cleave sets the drama and the tension that prevail throughout this novel from the very beginning where he delves into Zoe’s mind minutes before she competes in the 2004 Olympics. He then chooses to switch over and highlight Kate’s turmoil over her decision to stay home with Sophie instead. This tension and drama continue to escalate in a manner that is bound to pull readers in until the breathtaking finale.

The past and the present are artfully weaved together as Cleave creates a world that explores athleticism and competition, sacrifice, family bonds, and — above all else — sheer drama and determination. Cleave masterfully presents a tale that combines love and the sacrifices families make against the unforgiving world of athletics in a heartwarming and profound way. However, Cleave chooses to approach the realm of athletics from a harsh standpoint that leads to some strong language, including swearing, and scenes with sexual themes and innuendo geared for more mature readers.

This novel will take readers on an emotional roller coaster as they cheer the characters on to the gold and as they cry for the pain and trials these characters have endured. With the Olympics right around the corner, readers will eat this novel up until they have turned the very last page.

If you go ...

What: Chris Cleave book signing

When: Tuesday, July 17, 7 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com

Danica Baird currently attends BYU and is pursuing a double-major in English and journalism with a minor in editing.