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Race Across the Sky

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Who would you run one hundred miles for? Caleb Oberest is an ultramarathon runner, who severed all ties to his family to race brutal 100-mile marathons across mountains. Shane Oberest is a sales rep for a  cutting-edge biotechnology firm, creating new cures for the diseases of our time. Shane has spent his life longing to connect with his older brother, but the distance bet Who would you run one hundred miles for? Caleb Oberest is an ultramarathon runner, who severed all ties to his family to race brutal 100-mile marathons across mountains. Shane Oberest is a sales rep for a  cutting-edge biotechnology firm, creating new cures for the diseases of our time. Shane has spent his life longing to connect with his older brother, but the distance between them was always too vast. Caleb’s running group live by strict rules, but Caleb is breaking one of them. He has fallen in love with a new member and her infant daughter.  When Caleb discovers that the baby has a fatal genetic disease, he reaches out to Shane. On the verge of becoming a father himself, Shane devises a plan that could save this baby and bring his lost brother home. But to succeed, both brothers will need to risk everything they have. And so each begins a dangerous race that will push them past their boundaries, and take all of Caleb’s legendry endurance to survive. Derek Sherman’s authentic, compelling story of ultramarathons, biotechnology, and family takes us deep into new worlds and examines how far we will go for the people we love.


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Who would you run one hundred miles for? Caleb Oberest is an ultramarathon runner, who severed all ties to his family to race brutal 100-mile marathons across mountains. Shane Oberest is a sales rep for a  cutting-edge biotechnology firm, creating new cures for the diseases of our time. Shane has spent his life longing to connect with his older brother, but the distance bet Who would you run one hundred miles for? Caleb Oberest is an ultramarathon runner, who severed all ties to his family to race brutal 100-mile marathons across mountains. Shane Oberest is a sales rep for a  cutting-edge biotechnology firm, creating new cures for the diseases of our time. Shane has spent his life longing to connect with his older brother, but the distance between them was always too vast. Caleb’s running group live by strict rules, but Caleb is breaking one of them. He has fallen in love with a new member and her infant daughter.  When Caleb discovers that the baby has a fatal genetic disease, he reaches out to Shane. On the verge of becoming a father himself, Shane devises a plan that could save this baby and bring his lost brother home. But to succeed, both brothers will need to risk everything they have. And so each begins a dangerous race that will push them past their boundaries, and take all of Caleb’s legendry endurance to survive. Derek Sherman’s authentic, compelling story of ultramarathons, biotechnology, and family takes us deep into new worlds and examines how far we will go for the people we love.

30 review for Race Across the Sky

  1. 4 out of 5

    Liralen

    Imagine running fifty miles at a time, a hundred miles at a time, running day in and day out on two scant meals a day and four hours of sleep a night. That's the life Caleb has opted for. A decade ago, he shut down his NYC life and moved to Colorado to train with a group of...what to call them? Runners? Misfits? Extremists? Cult members? They live to run. They don't stray from the plan. They don't see their family, or other people from their previous lives. They're allowed to leave, but if they l Imagine running fifty miles at a time, a hundred miles at a time, running day in and day out on two scant meals a day and four hours of sleep a night. That's the life Caleb has opted for. A decade ago, he shut down his NYC life and moved to Colorado to train with a group of...what to call them? Runners? Misfits? Extremists? Cult members? They live to run. They don't stray from the plan. They don't see their family, or other people from their previous lives. They're allowed to leave, but if they leave, they can't come back. I originally shelved this for the ultrarunning aspect, and although I'm no longer as curious about ultrarunning as once I was, it was still a draw here. There are two long races in the book, which opens with Caleb deep into a hundred-mile race and builds up to another, more intense, hundred-mile race through Yosemite...and then there's a final, longer, darker run. But it's not really a book about running. This is not at all a complaint. Running books that are nothing but race litanies are not the most engaging reads. Rather, the book focusses on the relationships surrounding Caleb's life: his broken relationship with his brother, his illicit relationship with a woman in his running cult club, his unexpected care for the woman's young daughter. So it's a lot of things. Multiple points of view. Different risks for different characters. I wouldn't have minded a bit more at the end. There are very real stakes, and there are serious prices paid. But (view spoiler)[the costs for Shane's family are pretty serious (he and his wife have a new baby, she quits her job...and then he burns through his savings and loses his job and faces extremely expensive legal action), and those ramifications are kind of glossed over at the end in favour of ending on a happy note (hide spoiler)] . The other thing I would have liked is a bit more on the race in Yosemite, as it's billed (throughout the book) as a crazy dangerous, intense race, but the details end up being a bit brushed over for plot reasons. Does kind of make me want to read more about ultras again, though.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andrienne

    Caleb is a 40-something who decided to join a running club and abandon his parents, his brother and his old life. Shane is the younger brother who tries to bring him home by offering him a cure (he works for a pharma company) for Caleb's gf's ailing daughter. This book won me over because of the sibling bond, the symbolism of what it means to live, the intricacies of pharmaceutical companies and athlete training, and the sacrifices a parent is willing to take for his/her child. I was reading thi Caleb is a 40-something who decided to join a running club and abandon his parents, his brother and his old life. Shane is the younger brother who tries to bring him home by offering him a cure (he works for a pharma company) for Caleb's gf's ailing daughter. This book won me over because of the sibling bond, the symbolism of what it means to live, the intricacies of pharmaceutical companies and athlete training, and the sacrifices a parent is willing to take for his/her child. I was reading this together with another fiction book and I marveled how when a book is well-written, it's not a struggle to pick it up after a long absence (which I can't say the same for the other book that I've abandoned). The author did a good job in balancing very detailed info about ultramarathon training and pharmaceutical research. The two share similar qualities-both deal with transforming lives, investments (money and endurance), beliefs/faith, and patience (you can't rush training or launching a new drug). At first you think, the running club is all wrong--you need modern science to heal, to cure, to live. But then the reader becomes unsure when modern science seemingly fails Caleb at his time of need. The reader is faced with a tough dilemma when saving a life is tied to profit or when it is tied to a naivete that only benefits the (cult) leader. Great book club selection. Review copy provided by Penguin.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Burd

    This is an interesting book by a new author. It is obvious that Derek Sherman thoroughly researched running cults and biotechnology and successfully intertwined the two to make an enjoyable read. This is the story of two brothers who take different paths in life--the one becomes a successful pharmaceutical salesman; the other leaves the corporate work to pursue running, which becomes an addiction and a way of life for him until he meets a young woman with a daughter who has an unusual genetic di This is an interesting book by a new author. It is obvious that Derek Sherman thoroughly researched running cults and biotechnology and successfully intertwined the two to make an enjoyable read. This is the story of two brothers who take different paths in life--the one becomes a successful pharmaceutical salesman; the other leaves the corporate work to pursue running, which becomes an addiction and a way of life for him until he meets a young woman with a daughter who has an unusual genetic disorder. After years of separation the brothers become united in an effort to save the child's life. More than anything this is a book about love and relationships and how love can overcome all other emotions. While each brother pursues a different path, it is eventually love that brings them together both for one another and for the women and children in their lives. I believe this is Sherman's second novel. His in-depth knowledge of physiology of running and his knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry are evident throughout. His characters are interesting but not complex as is the plot of the story. Because so much of the story revolves around this little girl, it is easy to become emotionally attached to the novel. This book is a good read for anyone who likes to explore new authors and is interested in exploring family relationships in novels,

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    **Please note: I received this book for free from Goodreads First-reads** The author of Race Across The Sky, Derek Sherman, is a Creative Director in the advertising industry. As a fellow advertising creative I was very excited to dig into this novel and see what Sherman had to offer. The result was an incredible blend of Born to Run and a great biotech thriller. The story details 2 brothers who couldn't be more diametrically opposed. One is holistic and one is from the world of pharma. Both appe **Please note: I received this book for free from Goodreads First-reads** The author of Race Across The Sky, Derek Sherman, is a Creative Director in the advertising industry. As a fellow advertising creative I was very excited to dig into this novel and see what Sherman had to offer. The result was an incredible blend of Born to Run and a great biotech thriller. The story details 2 brothers who couldn't be more diametrically opposed. One is holistic and one is from the world of pharma. Both appear to have sold their souls to someone, but in vastly different ways for different reasons. The characters in this book were wonderful. Written in beautiful detail, I felt strong connections to both of them. The only thing I struggled with was the hallucinations Caleb has while running. They come out of nowhere and with little context. I felt that they interrupted the flow of the story. I had trouble putting this book down once I got into it. Following both of these characters on separate paths working towards the same goal created an intense pull. This leaves me questioning all the 1, 2 and 3 star reviews that the book has received. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book and look forward to Sherman's next masterpiece.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sonia Reppe

    This switches viewpoints between brothers, (grown men) but their stories are intertwined from the beginning so it doesn't take you out of one story into another (even though some readers like the two-separate stories-how-are-they-going-to-tie-in structure). The brothers hadn't talked in about ten years but when one is desperate for some help, they re-connect. I liked the characters and the risks they took, and being drawn into their precarious situations; each were compelled to do something out This switches viewpoints between brothers, (grown men) but their stories are intertwined from the beginning so it doesn't take you out of one story into another (even though some readers like the two-separate stories-how-are-they-going-to-tie-in structure). The brothers hadn't talked in about ten years but when one is desperate for some help, they re-connect. I liked the characters and the risks they took, and being drawn into their precarious situations; each were compelled to do something out of love. This also brought up some social and ethical issues, but those do not overtake the good plot and characters.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    Sherman’s emotional triumphant debut story captivates with compelling characters, intriguing dilemmas against the background of ultramarathons and biotechnology. I was not quite sure what to expect from the book but was pleasantly surprised in what seemed like a straightforward plot turned provocative as the storylines explores a moral dilemma from different points-of-view. The book is appropriately titled as there are different types of “races” happening but the most important one is that the r Sherman’s emotional triumphant debut story captivates with compelling characters, intriguing dilemmas against the background of ultramarathons and biotechnology. I was not quite sure what to expect from the book but was pleasantly surprised in what seemed like a straightforward plot turned provocative as the storylines explores a moral dilemma from different points-of-view. The book is appropriately titled as there are different types of “races” happening but the most important one is that the reader will race to see how the story ends. Perfect vacation read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    This book is an emotional tour de force, with zealous characters and moral dilemmas. It challenges a reader's opinions and beliefs with its thought-provoking situations, and lingers in the heart and mind long after its chapters are completed. Highly recommended for book clubs, as once you read it, you will want to discuss it with others. This book is an emotional tour de force, with zealous characters and moral dilemmas. It challenges a reader's opinions and beliefs with its thought-provoking situations, and lingers in the heart and mind long after its chapters are completed. Highly recommended for book clubs, as once you read it, you will want to discuss it with others.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Abhirup Dutta

    Its a great book with relatable characters and its very informative about long distance runners as well as biotechonology industry. It also presents a duality between love in a family-life versus freedom in nature, as two brothers struggle to find out whether they made the right life-choice.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Fantastic book. Could not put it down. Won as ARC through Librarythings and so happy that I did. Book coming out end of July, you don't want to miss this one! Fantastic book. Could not put it down. Won as ARC through Librarythings and so happy that I did. Book coming out end of July, you don't want to miss this one!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Race Across The Sky was a well written, interesting story that held my attention from beginning to end. In my opinion, it should appeal to both men and women readers.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Beth Balen

    What a great book! Thanks for recommending it Patti!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I really enjoyed this book. It was not the kind of book I would normally read. I had a hard time putting it down and was going to give it 5 stars but felt the ending was a little bit of a let down.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Sprole

    This engrossing novel follows two estranged brothers brought together again in their quest to save a baby girl afflicted with a fatal genetic defect. Shane is a consummate salesman, driven from a morally vapid career pushing pharmaceuticals, into the exciting world of biotechnology. Shane describes biotech as a form of medicine predicated on the manipulation of genes, the building blocks of life. This cutting edge science finds unexpected parallels in the monastic lifestyle: instead of conventio This engrossing novel follows two estranged brothers brought together again in their quest to save a baby girl afflicted with a fatal genetic defect. Shane is a consummate salesman, driven from a morally vapid career pushing pharmaceuticals, into the exciting world of biotechnology. Shane describes biotech as a form of medicine predicated on the manipulation of genes, the building blocks of life. This cutting edge science finds unexpected parallels in the monastic lifestyle: instead of conventional drugs and culture, harness life itself (whether the building blocks of life or the body's instinctual proclivities) to heal all that ails you. Shane's brother Caleb left the Wall St. financial realm after 9/11 to pursue an ascetic lifestyle devoted to long-distance running in, let's face it, cult-like conditions outside Boulder, Colorado. Members of the Happy Trails Running Club follow their charismatic leader and eat two "engineered" meals a day, sleep for about four hours and run for eight. They practice energy healing methods like Reiki and convince themselves that their lifestyle generates a mystical "kinetic energy" that can heal and enhance the world. When they're not training, they're winning ultramarathons of 100 miles or more, subtly proselytizing their mission of world enhancement through the allure of their success. Each member holds down a part-time job, and they share their income, their meals, their bedrooms and more. Race Across the Sky explores the spiritual dimension of running and highlights the tragic beauty of sacrificing everything to benefit the most vulnerable among us. Although I found the chemistry between Caleb and his paramour to be utterly lacking, the glimpses into such an extreme lifestyle kept me hooked.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    I am teetering on the brink of a 5 star review. There was one lull in the last quarter of the book that is holding me back, but otherwise, this book was how I wanted to spend my time. I connected with the running. I connected with the Colorado (my town even got mentioned). I connected with the challenges of parenting, especially as my challenges have not been quite so demanding. Then again my running nor my lifestyle have been this demanding either. The story was interesting, entertaining, and t I am teetering on the brink of a 5 star review. There was one lull in the last quarter of the book that is holding me back, but otherwise, this book was how I wanted to spend my time. I connected with the running. I connected with the Colorado (my town even got mentioned). I connected with the challenges of parenting, especially as my challenges have not been quite so demanding. Then again my running nor my lifestyle have been this demanding either. The story was interesting, entertaining, and the ending was satisfying.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marcy Evick

    This book was excellent! Where else can you find a book about both ultramarathon running and medical bioengineering? Plus just how far would you go for love? Family love, the love of a child? The person you are in love with?

  16. 4 out of 5

    Camryn Boersen

    This book is well written and it has a good storyline but I'm a sucker for a happy ending or at least AN ending. I feel like this book just ends; you don't find out the answer to the biggest question the book was asking. I think this book needs about 4 more chapters. This book is well written and it has a good storyline but I'm a sucker for a happy ending or at least AN ending. I feel like this book just ends; you don't find out the answer to the biggest question the book was asking. I think this book needs about 4 more chapters.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Ultra running, big pharm choosing which medicines to pursue and which to abandon, family estrangement and the tension between responsibilities to brothers, wives and children -- this book has it all. Fascinating and full of intrigue, it's a page turner. Ultra running, big pharm choosing which medicines to pursue and which to abandon, family estrangement and the tension between responsibilities to brothers, wives and children -- this book has it all. Fascinating and full of intrigue, it's a page turner.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Karin

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Unfortunately I gave this book to my teenage grandson before I read it completely. It seemed perfect for a high school runner. But it became disturbing toward the end, with drug use, gratuitous sex and the suicide of the protagonist. Such a downer! It should at least come with an age caveat!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brian Dalton

    Great book! The ending crushed me, as it wasn't expected. It shows that some people are not suited to the trappings of a typical, fast-paced life so many have become accustomed to. Great book! The ending crushed me, as it wasn't expected. It shows that some people are not suited to the trappings of a typical, fast-paced life so many have become accustomed to.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

    Very worth reading.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Who would you run one hundred miles for? Caleb Oberest is an ultramarathon runner, who severed all ties to his family to race brutal 100-mile marathons across mountains. Shane Oberest is a sales rep for a cutting-edge biotechnology firm, creating new cures for the diseases of our time. Shane has spent his life longing to connect with his older brother, but the distance between them was always too vast. Caleb’s running group live by strict rules, but Caleb is breaking one of them. He has fallen in Who would you run one hundred miles for? Caleb Oberest is an ultramarathon runner, who severed all ties to his family to race brutal 100-mile marathons across mountains. Shane Oberest is a sales rep for a cutting-edge biotechnology firm, creating new cures for the diseases of our time. Shane has spent his life longing to connect with his older brother, but the distance between them was always too vast. Caleb’s running group live by strict rules, but Caleb is breaking one of them. He has fallen in love with a new member and her infant daughter. When Caleb discovers that the baby has a fatal genetic disease, he reaches out to Shane. On the verge of becoming a father himself, Shane devises a plan that could save this baby and bring his lost brother home. But to succeed, both brothers will need to risk everything they have. And so each begins a dangerous race that will push them past their boundaries, and take all of Caleb’s legendry endurance to survive. Derek Sherman’s authentic, compelling story of ultramarathons, biotechnology, and family takes us deep into new worlds and examines how far we will go for the people we love. My thoughts: I was first introduced to the world of ultra marathoners by a colleague who coaxed me into reading Born to Run which fascinated me yet, by no means did it inspire me to go run up and down a couple of mountain ranges. Or around the block. Still, that kind of dedication and mindset is intriguing. This book is a fictional novel based on the lifestyle of ultramarathoners. These are people who run events of 100 miles or more at a time. They push their bodies past the point of physical pain, past the point that their kidneys shut down and yet they continue to run. They are generally a disciplined population of runners who find a higher level of living when in training. And they are always in training. This fictional group is a running club called "Happy Trails," coached and directed by a man named Mack. They live cult-like and much like a commune. Somewhat off the grid, and generally living as equals. Of course, Mack is the exception and just a little bit of a narcissist. Like a lot. Meanwhile, back in the Bay area, brother Shane is changing career tracks from pharmaceutical sales to biotechnology. This is where the brothers intersect as Caleb, the runner in the commune seeks out Shane's expertise. It was just a little bit too convenient that Shane chooses to move into biotech. So I guess I'll share what gives it three stars instead of four. The general story of Caleb and Shane did not engage me. I felt ambivalent about the brothers, June, and most of the characters on the whole. Except Lilly. I did care about her. Yet the story is a vehicle to providing interesting and relevant information about the world of pharmaceuticals and sales. How the drug reps are pushing doctors hard to prescribe meds that may or may not work but investors need to see a return. There's a huge cushion for paying big bonuses to reps and doctors. Which makes me wary, how about you? On the other side of the same coin are biotech companies that work with the proteins within our own bodies to heal itself by injecting a genetically altered protein that corrects the faulty genes. Not to cure but to control so the sufferer can live with the ailment without all the side effects from the ailment and/or the chemicals in meds. On the other hand, they still work under the rules of the FDA and must adhere to the rules and testing of each trial which is both necessary, ethical, and hugely expensive. Which comes into play in this novel. The author is very well read on the issues of pharma and biotech. He is also convincing in the arena of why someone would choose to leave the rat race to become an ultra marathon runner. The adjectives used paints an intriguing picture of kinetic energy and feelings of peace in nature. Not that I'm convinced to do it, but I can see the allure. Great information. Interesting story line that just didn't quite hook me. I'd still recommend it to people for information.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Lord

    First-time author Sherman’s novel presents two brothers reconnecting after years of estrangement. We meet the first, Caleb Oberest, at mile 65 of the Leadville 100, the hundred-mile foot race (yes, you read correctly) on the crazy-hard trails of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Caleb belongs to Happy Trails, a running commune-cum-cult. Shane, Caleb’s younger brother, sells drugs (pharmaceuticals, OK?), is a devoted husband, and will be a first-time dad any minute now. When Caleb invites him to visit First-time author Sherman’s novel presents two brothers reconnecting after years of estrangement. We meet the first, Caleb Oberest, at mile 65 of the Leadville 100, the hundred-mile foot race (yes, you read correctly) on the crazy-hard trails of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Caleb belongs to Happy Trails, a running commune-cum-cult. Shane, Caleb’s younger brother, sells drugs (pharmaceuticals, OK?), is a devoted husband, and will be a first-time dad any minute now. When Caleb invites him to visit after a ten-year silence, Shane is thrilled and hopes to “get Caleb out of there.” These efforts leave Caleb, to whom running is a sacred activity, aghast. As Shane finally realizes that his brother is happy and free, Caleb tells him why he really called—it’s an SOS on behalf of Lily, the ailing infant daughter of the woman he loves. Since Shane is in pharma/biotech, can he help? Let’s hope so, because Lily’s vulnerability will make any reader with a heart wince. VERDICT Sherman’s imaginative tale offers deeply drawn, affecting characters learning about themselves and the world at the intersection of altruism and selfishness. A Few Extra Comments for Runners: At first glance I was sure that this was another elite enduro-maniac racer’s autobiography full of braggadocio about muscling his way through an insanely long event; Rich Roll’s Finding Ultra (2012) comes to mind. But no, this is a novel in which two brothers reconnect after years of estrangement. We meet one at mile 65 of the Leadville 100; he’s doing well but has to push through his limits (dehydration with uncontrollable puking) at mile 90. Nonetheless, he finishes eighth (!). How? Training! Caleb belongs to Happy Trails, a Colorado-based running cult who live communally in “…a simple house made of planks and beams” two hundred yards from the base of South Boulder Peak. In addition to drinking lotsa beer and smoking a lot of hash, HTers use freakishly unorthodox training methods that build better, stronger athletes who get results; they eat twice a day, sleep four hours a night, and use sex for training. Sherman gets some of the details wrong—a daily eight-hour run? Running up a 70-degree ascent? Going 240 miles at the 24-hour Desert Solstice event? Nnnnno. Still, these are hard-core folk; in the words of their whack job leader, Mack, who believes he can heal people with waves of kinetic energy, these trail races ain’t “…no bullshit Iron Man, watching dudes jog down a highway” (intrigued, iron men?). The rest of the plot gets in the way of the training. VERDICT Endurance freaks, unite! Happy Trails is either a form of Eden or one of the circles of hell. Find this review and others at Books for Dudes, the online reader's advisory column for men from Library Journal here. Copyright Library Journal.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Race Across the Sky is the story of two brothers. The elder, Caleb, was once a well-off successful consultant in New York City who abandoned his life to join a mountain commune dedicated to ultramarathoning. The younger, Shane, is changing careers from pharmaceutical salesman to biotech salesman as he and his wife are expecting their first child. Caleb has found solace in severing all ties with the outside world, including his family, to live a regimented life of running with the commune under t Race Across the Sky is the story of two brothers. The elder, Caleb, was once a well-off successful consultant in New York City who abandoned his life to join a mountain commune dedicated to ultramarathoning. The younger, Shane, is changing careers from pharmaceutical salesman to biotech salesman as he and his wife are expecting their first child. Caleb has found solace in severing all ties with the outside world, including his family, to live a regimented life of running with the commune under the leadership of the radical Mack, that is, until a young mother shows up seeking healing for her sick child. Caleb does the forbidden and falls in love with June, and soon his carefully structured life is crumbling beneath his new love. When he asks Shane for help finding a cure for June's terminally ill baby, Lily, both brothers embark upon a dangerous journey upon which hinges life and death. I had mixed feelings about Race Across the Sky. On the one hand, Sherman has crafted what I found to be a startlingly unique book delving into two subjects that interest me greatly that haven't turned up in much fiction that I've read. Sherman's glimpse into the world of ultramarathon running is fascinating. I've always wondered what makes a runner want to participate in such a punishing sport, and Caleb's life offers an interesting perspective on that and what happens when it's taken to far by Mack and becomes downright cultish. At the same time, Sherman tackles the field of genetic research, revealing a world where there are diseases that can be cured but never will be according to the laws of capitalism. Shane's storyline might occasionally wander into the far-fetched, but the exploration and explanation of the biotechnology industry is extremely enlightening. Debut novelist Sherman does an enviable job of juggling his two unique topics without shorting his characters and without resorting to unrealistic information dumps. Caleb is a fascinating character, driven to find a life that means something in the wake of 9/11. Shane is a sympathetic new dad who would do anything to win back the brother he has always idolized. The only place that Sherman failed, which unfortunately proves to be too memorable in book that is otherwise likeable, is in the quiet moments with his newborn when Sherman attempts to capture the universality of feeling that prompts Shane to risk his career, reputation, and possibly his freedom to help a stranger's baby. Sherman doesn't quite hit his mark with this crucial point, and it leaves a lot of Shane's story to feel, at best, foolish, and at worst, completely ungenuine. Despite this failing, Race Against the Sky is a unique, well-paced, and interesting first novel from Derek Sherman, and I'll be looking forward to what he comes up with next.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Overmoyer

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway. I entered the giveaway because it seemed like a different type of book and I'm trying to broaden the types of things I read. When I won the advanced, uncorrected copy, I wasn't sure what to expect. The story is about running. Not just marathons, either. Ultramarathons. I didn't really know these existed until I read this book. You know how you watch a marathon during the Olympics and think "oh my god, how do those people run 26 miles?" Well, ultr I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway. I entered the giveaway because it seemed like a different type of book and I'm trying to broaden the types of things I read. When I won the advanced, uncorrected copy, I wasn't sure what to expect. The story is about running. Not just marathons, either. Ultramarathons. I didn't really know these existed until I read this book. You know how you watch a marathon during the Olympics and think "oh my god, how do those people run 26 miles?" Well, ultramarathons are between five and sixty-five, or more, miles longer than that. This would take some serious dedication. But Caleb, the ultramarathoner in this story, is literally and figuratively running. He's running from 9/11, from an unfulfilled life, from fear of the unknown. When he... not exactly falls in love with, but falls for the companionship that new mom June and her sick baby daughter bring to the club he trains with, his carefully orchestrated world spins even further out of control. Caleb's brother is Shane. Shane does everything by the book. Sports, school, marriage, good job, kid. At least he does it by the book until Caleb asks him to use his good job to find a way to fix June's sick baby. Then Shane becomes someone he doesn't really recognize as he fights to get his brother back and save his little girl. There is a bad guy in this story. It's Mack, the trainer at the ultramarathon club Caleb joins. To put it mildly, he's a cult leader. He dictates when his people sleep and eat, what they eat, who on the outside world they can talk to, and how long they run - usually 8 hours a day. He takes the money they make from working menial jobs and he "heals" them with kinetic energy. He gets his energy from the women who run for him. I would have given this story four stars, because it was creepy and disconcerting enough to not put it down, if Mack had got what he deserved. It's not a happily ever after, but it needed that.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    The Worlds of Ultra Running and Biotechnology Meet in the Fight to Save a Little Girl's Life As the story opens, Caleb Oberest is running a 100 mile race across the mountains. He hasn't always been an ultra runner. He left his conservative job to join the cult-like training center run by Mack. The rules are strict and the punishment is expulsion. Caleb is breaking the rules, but he can't help himself, he has fallen in love with a new member and her baby daughter. When he learns that the baby has The Worlds of Ultra Running and Biotechnology Meet in the Fight to Save a Little Girl's Life As the story opens, Caleb Oberest is running a 100 mile race across the mountains. He hasn't always been an ultra runner. He left his conservative job to join the cult-like training center run by Mack. The rules are strict and the punishment is expulsion. Caleb is breaking the rules, but he can't help himself, he has fallen in love with a new member and her baby daughter. When he learns that the baby has a rare and fatal genetic disease he calls on his brother Shane. Shane works for a biotechnology company. He isn't exactly estranged from his brother, but he doesn't understand him. When Caleb explains that he needs Shane's help to save the little girl's life. Shane isn't sure what to do, but he is expecting his own baby, and he can't turn away from his brother's need. I found this book hard to get into. The opening chapters focus on running with a graphic description of how painful running a 100 mile race is, calling on every ounce of endurance the runner has. It was interesting, but not being a runner, I found it a bit tedious. The characters are not stereotypes, but they're not complex either. Likewise, the plot is quite straightforward. Since it revolves around the baby girl, it is easy to feel sympathetic toward the struggles of the characters. However, for my taste, it wasn't enough to keep my interest. The book is well researched in both the areas of ultra running, and biotechnology and cancer research. The focus is on people pushing themselves beyond where they think they can go. This is what Caleb finds so addictive about running. I recommend this book if you're a runner, or interested in the sport, but if you're interest in running is low, this is probably not the book for you. I reviewed this book for Net Galley.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Race Across the Sky is a book about what lengths people will go to in order to help or save the people they love. It’s about morals, ethics, determination, and the bonds shared between family members and people who love each other. Because I’m a wuss, the ultra marathoning parts of Race Across the Sky really disturbed me, then became kind of “meh.” I mean, I was fascinated by what those runners put themselves through and why they do it, but the fascination quickly wore off and I found myself payi Race Across the Sky is a book about what lengths people will go to in order to help or save the people they love. It’s about morals, ethics, determination, and the bonds shared between family members and people who love each other. Because I’m a wuss, the ultra marathoning parts of Race Across the Sky really disturbed me, then became kind of “meh.” I mean, I was fascinated by what those runners put themselves through and why they do it, but the fascination quickly wore off and I found myself paying less attention to the parts of the story about running (mostly in order to preserve a minimum comfort level). Learning about what this level of running does to one’s body is interesting, but the wuss in me just couldn’t handle reading about it over and over and over. But the biotechnology and genetic engineering parts are awesome, because SCIENCE. Shane’s part of the story is the best part and that–in addition to parts of the overall plot–is what kept me reading. There is also a lot written about drug companies and what their real motivator is (hint: cha-CHING). I already knew this, for the most part, but there were some real eye-opening things said that I guess I hadn’t thought about before. Race Across the Sky is definitely a page-turner; I read the whole thing in less than twenty-four hours. The writing is good and the overall plot is quite suspenseful. I’d recommend it to runners, people interested in learning about ultra marathoning, and people interested in biotechnology and genetic engineering. This is Derek Sherman’s debut novel, and I’d definitely be interested in reading any novels he might write in the future. Read my full review on Between the Covers...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Race Across the Sky was a well researched novel. I enjoyed the insight into biotechnology and how it will play a role in curing diseases in the future. I was also fascinated by the world of ultra marathoners--how they train, what they think about, their passion, and the pain they put their bodies through. Caleb and Shane are two brothers who haven't seen each other in 10 years, not because any thing happened between them but because Caleb wanted to isolate himself in the world of marathon runnin Race Across the Sky was a well researched novel. I enjoyed the insight into biotechnology and how it will play a role in curing diseases in the future. I was also fascinated by the world of ultra marathoners--how they train, what they think about, their passion, and the pain they put their bodies through. Caleb and Shane are two brothers who haven't seen each other in 10 years, not because any thing happened between them but because Caleb wanted to isolate himself in the world of marathon running (50 miles plus). He lives with a group of marathon runners (Happy Trails) in the middle of the mountains, trains 8 hours a day and works at a copy place. The place is managed by Mack, the enigmatic dictator who comes off as everyone's friend in the beginning. Shane works in sales/marketing and is about to become father. He loves his brother so much, he would do anything to bring him home even if it means working under the table to find a cure for the baby of the woman that Caleb loves. I loved the first half of the book. The set up was great, and I enjoyed getting to know the characters. The second half became a little implausible for me as events started spiraling out of control. Despite that, it was a impressive debut novel, and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future. I received an advanced copy of this book from Penguin First Flights.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kim McGee

    Take two very different brothers and give them a common bond, the love of a child, and miracles may happen. Shane has a wife and baby and is busy trying to create the secure, safe, perfect life for them. He takes a job at a successful Biotech firm and is good at what he does. All seems good until his older brother reaches out to him from somewhere in Colorado. Come, I need to see you. Caleb has literally run the other direction from his brother giving up everything and joining an ultra running cu Take two very different brothers and give them a common bond, the love of a child, and miracles may happen. Shane has a wife and baby and is busy trying to create the secure, safe, perfect life for them. He takes a job at a successful Biotech firm and is good at what he does. All seems good until his older brother reaches out to him from somewhere in Colorado. Come, I need to see you. Caleb has literally run the other direction from his brother giving up everything and joining an ultra running cult. His life is about running impossible distances, punishing his body every day and then getting up and doing it again. The brothers have little in common until Caleb asks for Shane's help in saving a little girl with a severe lung condition. Caleb must get Lily and her mother away from the cult's leader who doesn't believe in medicine and won't give up control of them easily. Shane takes just as much of a risk if not more by borrowing technology from his employer and trying to find a cure. This is a book about love in many forms. Love can give hope, love can keep you going, love can triumph over impossible odds but love can also hurt. I was fortunate to read this as part of First Flights by Penguin. The book is due to be published in July.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This was an unusual book, not one I'd usually pick up. A debut novel about two brothers, one (Caleb) an ultramarathoner who lives in a cultish environment dominated by Mack, who thinks he can heal all diseases by laying of hands and kinetic energy (his own KE fueled [spoiler alert] by having sex with all the women runners in the house); the other a pharm representative (Shane) who switches (at about the same time his baby his born) to working for a biotech firm. Caleb meets June (another runner) This was an unusual book, not one I'd usually pick up. A debut novel about two brothers, one (Caleb) an ultramarathoner who lives in a cultish environment dominated by Mack, who thinks he can heal all diseases by laying of hands and kinetic energy (his own KE fueled [spoiler alert] by having sex with all the women runners in the house); the other a pharm representative (Shane) who switches (at about the same time his baby his born) to working for a biotech firm. Caleb meets June (another runner) who has a baby born with Alpha-1 anittrypsin deficiency; he falls for June and Lily and asks Shane to help find a cure for Lily, which Shane (a new father with a good heart) does by working off the grid. Sherman builds suspense--one thing after another goes wrong on the quest to save Lily--and it's a nail-biter of an ending. The whole ultra marathoner subculture just seems wholly bizarre to me, and June's naive belief in Mack (classic narcissistic power-tripper) made me feel very uncomfortable; at times I felt like the narrator had diverse feelings about it (ranging from whole-hearted admiration to a wary unease).

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    This is the story of two estranged brothers; Caleb, who is an ultra-marathon runner and part of a running cult. He has cut himself off from his family for years, quit his high paying job and just lives to run the ultra-marathon. Shane works for the pharmaceutical industry, married and a new father. When a new member joins Caleb’s ruining club, he begins to fall in love with her and her daughter; who has a genetic disorder. He reaches out to Shane with hopes of finding a cure. Shane and Caleb are This is the story of two estranged brothers; Caleb, who is an ultra-marathon runner and part of a running cult. He has cut himself off from his family for years, quit his high paying job and just lives to run the ultra-marathon. Shane works for the pharmaceutical industry, married and a new father. When a new member joins Caleb’s ruining club, he begins to fall in love with her and her daughter; who has a genetic disorder. He reaches out to Shane with hopes of finding a cure. Shane and Caleb are brothers that haven’t spoken in years; I didn’t feel the connection between them. Although the author has deeply developed the psyche of the ultra-marathon runner and what it takes to be such a person and explains the ins and outs of developing and testing a new drug, the human aspect of the story was ordinary. I was waiting for that big spark that would wrap it all together and it didn’t ignite (not for me). The ending was predictable with a minor surprise. It is a good story from a new author.

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