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Runaway

by Van Draanen


Runaway
     by Van Draanen, Wendelin

Publishers Weekly :

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Through her journal entries, 12-year-old Holly Janquell reveals her experiences living in foster homes since her mother died of a drug overdose two years ago. Holly has already thwarted the sexual advances of one foster father and now, living with the Evans, things aren't any better. Mr. and Mrs. Evans accuse her of lying, stealing and drug use, then, as punishment, lock Holly in the laundry room for days. It's her teacher, Ms. Leone, who gives Holly the journal ("It'll help you turn the page"). After a terrible scene with Mr. Evans, Holly runs away, eventually making her way to California. Constantly moving from place to place, Holly is caught off guard when Sammie, from the soup kitchen, offers help. Sammie introduces Holly to two women (mother and daughter) who eventually become the family Holly has been longing for. Holly's diary entries, which include poetry, unspool as ongoing conversations with Ms. Leone. Van Draanen's (the Sammy Keyes series) portrayal of Holly's situation is gravely realistic, though some of Holly's entries seem too perfectly written for a poorly educated 12-year-old. Still, readers will be drawn to Holly as she shifts between her search for a safe place to live, her anger at the foster care system and her reflections on the circumstances that led up to her mother's overdose. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Runaway
     by Van Draanen, Wendelin

School Library Journal :

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Gr 6-8 - Readers won't look at homeless people in quite the same way after meeting Holly and seeing her through five long months on her own. An urban, female version of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet (Macmillan, 1986), this novel chronicles the daily struggle for food, shelter, safety, and cleanliness that becomes the focus of life once a home and income are stripped away. Twelve-year-old Holly knows a lot about living on the streets, since she lived that life with her drug-addicted mother before the woman's death from an overdose. She determines that it is preferable to continuing in her abusive foster home. A journal provided by a compassionate teacher is where she records her lonely and difficult struggle for survival. While the plot has the occasional convenience, readers will be drawn to the gripping details of both physical and emotional landmines hidden in the ordinariness of everyday life. This is a great book to hand-sell or booktalk to young teens who enjoy a dose of emotional trauma in their fiction or for reluctant readers who need suspense to keep them turning the pages. Van Draanen has shown great versatility in adding another dimension to her already respected body of work.–Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

distributed by Syndetics Solutions, LLC.:
Runaway
     by Van Draanen, Wendelin

BookList :

From BookList, September 1, 2006, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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From May until November, Holly writes in her journal, by turns fierce, angry, scared, heartbroken, defiant. Her teacher gave Holly the journal in the hopes of allowing her to work through her mother's overdose and stays in a succession of foster homes. But Holly has more immediate issues--hunger and shelter and not being cold. Running away again from an abusive foster family, she makes her way by stealth and cunning to Los Angeles. She writes poetry in her journal, too--vivid and wired poems that it seems a smart 12-year-old actually could write. She refuses to see herself as homeless, but as a gypsy, making a home where she can--libraries and schools are among her favorite places to hide. As her situation gets increasingly desperate, readers long for Holly to find a bath and a hot meal and someone to care for her. The ending of this taut, powerful story seems possible and deeply hopeful.
GraceAnneDeCandido.

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