Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Book review: Runaway by Wendelin van Draanen

Title: Runaway
Author: Wendelin van Draanen
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction
Subject: Homelessness
Publisher: Laurel-Leaf
Release date: Sept, 2006
Length: 276 pages
I got this book: On the book depository

Holly is an orphan that has been in "the system" for a while. Her current foster family starves her in the cold laundry room. Holly doesn't trust adults and she is very sceptic when her teacher gives her an empty journal to write in to make her feel better. When she can't take the abuse any more from her foster parents, she decides to run away and try for a better life. Holly takes the journal with her and this becomes her lifeline through her travels. When her escape becomes more of a struggle to survive, she has to face the fact that she is 12 years old and homeless. 

Personal opinion:
This story is told from Holly's point of view through her journal entries. I usually love this kind of style to tell a story, and this book was no exception. She starts out as an angry teen scolding her teacher for giving her a lame journal. Her emotions come off as very strong. She is naive and pigheaded at the same time, which I liked about her. The things she has been through are harsh. She lived on the streets before with her mother and doesn't even remember her father or the happy times of her childhood. The story is fast paced and it made me want to keep reading. The resourcefulness of Holly is amazing and she manages to rescue herself out of many difficult situations because she is very streetwise. 

Futher in the journal, we get to read more and more about how bad Holly was treated and the things she has been through are shocking for a girl of her age. Even though I read through it fairly quick, I wouldn't consider it a light read and I am not sure if I find it really suitable for younger teens. The book covers some heavy subjects, like violence, abuse and drugs. I have read books that we're heavier then this but for a teen book, I found it rather deep which I didn't expect when I picked it up. The story pulled me in though and this is always a good sign. I got another pleasant surprise when I found out that food, or actually the struggle to get food, was a major topic in this book. This is a totally different take on food and how far you can go, when you need to survive. I give it a 4 out of 5 total and I will gladly add it to the foodie's reading challenge, even though I didn't read this book with that purpose.

Liked it!

Some quotes:
"Food in the trash is like the tossed-and-found."

"Street people use cardboard all the time, and bum alleys are just shanties or lean-tos, though. They’re nothing like my house! Mine is deluxe! It’s a big, thick, super sturdy refrigerator box that I found at an appliance store!"

"(Actually now I’m remembering that the goodbye chow isn’t spelled that way. It’s ciao or something weird like that. It’s Italian, right? But I’m not an Italian gypsy, I’m a hungry gypsy. So spelling it chow makes total sense.)

Purchase links: The book depository, Amazon
Other reviews: None yet.
If you have reviewed this book and want your link here, please leave a comment with the link, and I will add it  :)

1 comment:

  1. I like books with food as a major topic, too! This book is YA so probably not for me.

    Glad you enjoyed it!