Thursday, December 29, 2016

Keplinger, Kody. Run.

Keplinger, Kody.  Run.  Scholastic Press  2016  293p  $17.99  ISBN 978-0-545-83113-0  hs  Realistic fiction         VG-BN

This novel has that special quality that makes it a book of note.  That special quality is the pairing of two unlikely friends, one blind, and the other challenged by her drug-addicted mother, her poverty and her reputation.  Agnes is the blind one, a teen who faces the challenge as well as the “chain” around her neck of two overly caring and overbearing parents.  Bo has the reputation.  It may be true or false, but others have formed an opinion about her as a girl to avoid.  Agnes does not judge, however, and the two forge a friendship based on need.  Their gimmick to entertain themselves?  They learn about each other by asking, “What is something you have never told me before?”  Interestingly, the use of Bo’s voice in one chapter followed by Agnes’s in another, in alternating fashion, serves not only to align the reader with each girl’s own unique point of view, but also with differing time periods, and this forces the reader to really think.  Bo’s point of view is current, whereas Agnes delves into their past.  The title indicates  that someone is going to run away, probably Bo; however, when her mother is arrested yet again, Bo finds she is not alone this time.  Agnes flees with her.  The tether of overly watchful and worried parents must be broken, and Agnes has not known how to do that until now.  The girls set out in a “borrowed” car and survive quite well until they hit a snag as they near Bo’s father’s town.  They are recognized, and they get a flat!  The resolution is real, the pain is palpable, and the life lesson is a hard one to swallow.  Teen readers will be engaged and enraged from the first page of this story to the last.  Kody Keplinger knows the blind so well that one suspects she did a great deal of research.  Wrong.  Keplinger herself is blind and knows that world intimately.  Teen readers will wonder how often she cleverly wove real life with fiction, and that is the beauty of this book.  It makes you think.

With some content designed for a more mature audience and one sexual encounter, this book is best for high-school libraries.  However, mature middle-school readers will be able to handle the profanity and the reference to the sexual act.
Summary: Bo is the town slut.  Agnes is the goody-goody who is blind.  Each has a story to tell, a life of problems to overcome and a world outside of Mursey to discover.  Bo tries to find caring parents, whereas Agnes wants to break away from hers.  Can this unlikely friendship save both girls from their demons?

Friendship-Fiction, Conflict-Fiction                                                                          --Martha Squaresky

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