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Dark Territory

(The Tracks #1)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  140 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Star-Crossed Love, Martial Arts, and Supernatural Evil meet at the Abandoned Tracks in the Deceptively Quaint town of Middleburg...When Ignacio Torrez moved from the rough streets of Los Angeles to a small town dead smack in the middle of nowhere, he never expected to find himself in the midst of a gang war. But, he soon learns, these are no ordinary gangs. The wealthy, pr ...more
Paperback, 504 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by HCI Teens
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4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  140 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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DARK TERRITORY by J Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel I received an ARC for review.

I have never read a martial-arts book before......WOW! I love this book! It is filled with martial-arts action, suspense, mystery, romance, tragedy, forbidden love, gangs, war and it's a YA Read.

Ignacio Torrez moves smack dab in the middle of Nowhereville from the gang banging streets of Los Angeles, only to find the town is not as innocent as it seems. He learns a valuable lesson of honor and magic as he sets out o
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
***Originally posted to Bookish Blog as a part of MEN in YA event!

In his Goodreads review, J. Gabriel Gates called this book "Coolest book ever written. Ever." and it's impossible not to agree with that! It's one helluva story! Dazzlingly imagined and un-freaking-believably compelling, Dark Territory is the perfect blend of literary flavors. This book has everything you could possibly want: forbidden love, breath-taking action scenes (involving some serious martial arts ass-kicking!), delicious
Leah  (Simply Nerdy Book Reviews)
Wow, I loved this book. I loved this book. I swear, it has everything; martial arts (action, action, action), romance, school plays, gangs, train tracks . . . Just wow.

First things first: I have never before read a book involving martial arts. I really loved that aspect of the book; I've always thought that martial arts was such an amazing thing to be able to do, and I reading about it was awesome. The descriptions of the fights and moves flowed really well, and all of the action scenes were eas
Jackie Miller
Jul 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
After getting this book and reading the write-up on the back, I was kind of skeptical about the idea of martial arts playing a large part within the story. On the other hand, I was also really interested because I don't think I've read much, if anything, like it before.

From the first few pages I was intrigued by the mysteries behind the tracks in the town of Middleburg, and I was drawn into the rivalry between the Toppers and the Flatliners. The extreme hatred between the two groups is intense.
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My Opinion:

I thought this book was fantastically written. What a great team of writers,J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel are. They work fabulously together and this book is proof of it. The story is about the town of Middleburg and the people that live there. As soon as you start reading you notice that there are dark forces at work. There is lots of action in this book as well. This book takes you on a journey with the teenagers of Middleburg,with all their own fears and trials going on. Ignac
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read this year! Something is lurking in the dark territory, a stretch of terrority not controlled by signals, in the tunnels in Middleburg, Kansas and it is up to two former friends to stop a war starting with their home town. Raph lived in the flats on the poor side of town as his mom tried to care for him after his dad died in one of Jack Banefield's companies and Jack Banefield refused to pay his dad anything by stating it wasn't the company's fault! When Aimee Babe ...more
Bookish Michelle
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was just about gang wars between two gangs, the Toppers (the haves) and the Flatliners (the have nots). I was wrong about it.

What is interesting about this book is that it is about martial arts. The leaders of each gang (Toppers-Zhai, Flatliners-Raphael) were taught by Master Chin to adhere to a strict code of honor. But when Raphael unwittingly falls for Aimee, A Topper girl, everything went downhill from there. There was something more than meets the eye, and it involves th
Kitty Honeycutt
Jul 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing

The story of Ignacio Torrez is one that young adults will enjoy. When he moves from his rough and tumble, Los Angeles neighborhood to a small town in nowhere land he learns a valuable lesson about honor and magic. He soon finds himself in the midst of an adventure, a quest to bring peace between the Toppers and the Flatliners, two rival gangs on the verge of war over forbidden love.
This book is one I would highly recommend.

-Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud
Jul 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. Seriously is the the best book I have read in a long time. Raphael & Aimee's love story mixed with their intense battles with supernatural evil all while having to hide their feelings from her family really pulled me in. Some parts were so exciting it was like watching a movie. It was so hard to put it down and so good I hated to see it finish. I can't wait for the 2nd book!
Allie Giordano
Jun 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Got my hands on an advance review copy of Dark Territory. Currently five chapters away from the end and I cannot put it down! You'll absolutely love Ammiee Banfield & Raphael Kain but you'll hate Maggie Anderson. This book will have you eager for the next book in the series. It's right up there with Twilight.
Elly Helcl
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a clever little book! The author did a great job!

Totally recommend this book to anyone who likes a good YA thriller/horror story.

Short review because it has been months since I read this and I forgot to rate it.
Found this randomly at the library, and it sounds crack-tastic. Plus, Hispanics AND Asians? This book was written for me, I know it.
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it

With Dark Territory, authors J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel have created an edgy, smart, fantastical story reminiscent of a modern day West Side Story with a splash of Romeo and Juliet.

In the quite town of Middleburg, you’re either a “have” or a “have not”, a Topper or a Flatliner. An intense hatred and distrust exist between the rich Toppers and the working class Flatliners, especially among the teens. Ignaci
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow and WOW! It’s been a while since I’ve read a novel that has incorporated so many new and different elements without overwhelming me, but Dark Territory brings that and more. It has the paranormal, the supernatural, martial arts, time-travel, romance and plenty of action. I was hooked from beginning to end, and was thoroughly entertained by the story and the characters. Since this book had so much going on, I’m going to do this review a little differently and organize my thoughts with heading ...more
Richard (Bound & Determined...)
Full Bookish Disclosure: I reviewed Dark Territory after reading only half of the book. I “knew” what the last half was going to be like, and felt my initial impressions were correct. I gave it 3 Stars. Then I finished reading. Then rewrote my review. And gave it 4 Stars. So there you have it.

Knowing what I know about this book, that it was an idea for a TV show, makes this book work. Somehow, Gates and Keel take a very teen-melodramatic “poor vs. rich” plotline, mix in some martial arts
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pre-2019-read
Wow! I can’t say that I’m exactly speechless over this book, but the words are not coming quickly to me. It’s been over a week since I finished this book and I can still see the action that permeated the pages, the forbidden love that was blooming amongst two of the characters and the supernatural turmoil that lay no-longer-dormant under the city of Middleburgh. This book is 504 pages and there was not a page that bored me or made me want to put this book down. Action begins immediately when the ...more
Carrie Ardoin
Ignacio, or Nass Torrez has just moved from LA into Middleburg, Kansas...and it's nothing like he expected. Nass soon comes to learn that Middleburg has two distinct and warring groups: The Toppers, rich, privileged kids who live in Hillside Haven; and the Flatliners, working class kids who live in the Flats. Nass's mom moved him away from LA so he wouldn't join a gang, but ironically he becomes a Flatliner.

The leader of the Flatliners is Raphael, and the leader of the Toppers is Zhai. They used
Feb 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Review also posted on The Book Barbies.

I started this book with NO idea what to expect. I mean, it sounds pretty innocent right? Rivalry gangs, cute romance, fights. And it was exactly that! For the beginning at least.

What I really enjoyed was the characters in this book. They were fun and relatable and the boys sounded damn hot! There were a few stereotypical characters, Rick, the bully, Maggie, the bitch, but even so, they were real. It was great that the story was told from all different poi
Romancing the Book
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, paranormal
Reviewed by Stephanie O.
Book provided by the publisher for review
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book

When my daughter asked to borrow my ereader, I almost felt my heart stop. As an adult, I can and do read pretty much anything I want to. Mostly leaning towards paranormal romance to erotica. These are NOT acceptable for a 12 year old. My list of acceptable books for her to read, wasn’t very long. So, off I went in search of something she would like and I could approve of her reading.

Wendy Hines
Jan 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Ignacio 'Nass' Torrez is the new kid at Middleburg Middle School. His parents didn't want him to join the gangs like his cousins did in Los Angeles, so now they have moved to a small town in the Midwest. Unfortunately, Nass gets suspended on his first day of school after a fight breaks out in the lunch room. The good part is that he made a friend, Raphael Kain, the leader of a gang.

Aimee Banfield is excited to be going home, after being in a pretentious juvenile center for the past year. She loo
Samantha Boyette
Jul 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
If this book was a hundred or so pages shorter, it would have been five stars! Lets start with the characters, and this book has it's share of them. First with have Nass, transfer student to small town America, Raphael, local bad boy with a heart of gold, Aimee, troubled and kind rich girl, Rick, jerkface rich boy and brother to Aimee, and Zhai, stoic rich boy who doesn't want to fight with anyone. Each character is fleshed out nicely and quickly you become interested in their lives and their pr ...more
Well I liked this book and it has some great characters but it's really long, I felt it would've been just as good if it were missing a few scenes.

There are a lot of characters to meet in the book but I liked how they all became linked to each other by the end and there are a couple who weren't in it much that I think will be more prominent later in the series.

Though this isn't the first book I've read with martial arts in I thought it added something different to a great story, I really liked t
Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews
Originally posted at:

This book, the first book of The Tracks series, is a paranormal Karate Kid meets West Side Story—but so much more. There is a mystery that surrounds the town of Middleburg—a mystery that goes back generations and involves more people than is apparent at the beginning of the book.

The story begins with Ingacio "Nass" Torres being brought to Middleburg from LA because his mother is concerned he will get into trouble with gangs. Little di
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Ok well Dark Teritorty was a really good book, there was a lot of stuff going on in the book and from a lot of different POVs. It's like The Outsiders but with a supernatural twist. Two gangs the Toppers (rich kids) and the Flatliners (poor kids) hate each other, Raph is the leader of the Flatliners and Zhai is the leader of the Toppers used to be best friends until Raph's dad dies in an accident and Raph's dad dies at work due to shotty work conitions and his bosses which happen to be Zhai's da ...more
Nov 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
My Book Report

In Dark Territory by J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel,
Raphael was the leader of a gang when something from inside
the tunnel, and on the train tracks came out from a whole other
world… Can Raphael save the girl he loves, or will he die trying?
I really liked Dark Territory by J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene
Keel. Raphael was the leader of a gang named the Flatliners. He
Was very noble, multidimensional, and a little bewilidered. He was
noble because he faced the monster, whi
Krista (CubicleBlindness Reviews)
For the majority of this book I could not help but be reminded of the Karate Kid movies. A new kid attending a new school, gets into some rough times with another gang of boys. They call themselves the TOPPERS and the FLATLINERS. They fight each other with martial art skills that can become deadly and serious very fast.
The twist to this story that takes it away from being too similar to Karate Kid is the combination that we get to have half of the story from a Aimee, and that was nice to get so
Ashley - Book Labyrinth
I was definitely intrigued when I first read the description of this book, with all those different elements. And it turns out that ‘Dark Territory’ blends genres well. It has a contemporary high school setting, and yet there’s also a paranormal/mystical element going on in the background of the town, and with the rival gangs there’s also an action/martial arts element to it. You also can’t forget the forbidden romance between Raphael and Aimee. Somehow all of these aspects work well together, a ...more
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was in the mood to read something with martial arts ( I watched a Bruce Lee movie) and I completely forgot I owned this book so I decided to give it a try. This takes place in a town that is divided by railroad tracks between the wealthy ("Toppers") and the poor("Flatliners"). There is also an air of mystery/danger surrounding the Tunnel at the tracks. The leaders of the gangs are both studying martial arts with the same Master. Master Chin is a very likeable and wise Master but he did sometim ...more
Paula Ratcliffe
Jul 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I received this from HCI Teens for a honest and fair review, and oh my god this was totally different then anything I have read lately. This story had me on the edge of my seat, seeing aspects of the story of Romeo and Juliet. You have the flatliners who are a misfit group doing the best they can in a society where the Toppers succeed and the flatliners just try to get by. Nass is new to Middleburg and the last thing he needs is to join a gang but what he sees in the flatliners is more than a ga ...more
Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa)
When I first ooked at the description and started to read the book I thought that it would be similar to "West Side Story". You have two gangs. One is the wealthy kids who live on the hill and the other is the poor kids who live on the wrong side of the tracks. There is a romance that builds between a girl from the hill and a boy from the poor section.
They live in a small town that has lost its luster since the railroad was rerouted.

I was wrong. Yes, there are those elements present, but this st
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Author J. Gabriel Gates is a native of Marshall, Michigan. The son of an English teacher, his passion for the written word began at a young age. During college, another passion – for performing – led him to get his B.A. degree in theater from Florida State University.

During his years in Los Angeles, he appeared in a dozen national TV commercials and penned several screenplays while laying the grou

Other books in the series

The Tracks (3 books)
  • Ghost Crown (The Tracks, #2)
  • Shadow Train (The Tracks, #3)