Book Review: Run

alt=Book cover for "RUN." Two girls sit side-by-side, one looking down and the other looking off in the distance with a blue and white background.

Title: RUN

Author: Kody Keplinger

Genre: YA Contemporary

Rating: 5 stars

Bo Dickinson is a girl with a wild reputation, a deadbeat dad, and a mama who’s not exactly sober most of the time. Everyone in town knows the Dickinsons are a bad lot, but Bo doesn’t care what anyone thinks. Agnes Atwood has never gone on a date, never even stayed out past ten, and never broken any of her parents’ overbearing rules. Rules that are meant to protect their legally blind daughter — protect her from what, Agnes isn’t quite sure. Despite everything, Bo and Agnes become best friends. And it’s the sort of friendship that runs truer and deeper than anything else. So when Bo shows up in the middle of the night, with police sirens wailing in the distance, desperate to get out of town, Agnes doesn’t hesitate to take off with her. But running away and not getting caught will require stealing a car, tracking down Bo’s dad, staying ahead of the authorities, and-worst of all-confronting some ugly secrets.

I’m a little late on this review since I finished the book several months ago, so I’m not going to get into story details too much. Not that I really should, since we try to be spoiler free, right?

Let me start by saying that I rarely give five star reviews and contemporary is really not my style so the fact that a contemporary YA inspired me to give 5 stars?

alt=gif of Millie Bobbie Brown making a "mind blown" motion.

This book is good. Actually, it’s better than good. It’s fantastic.

Told in alternating chapters, where Bo is telling the current story and Agnes is telling us the history of the girls’ friendship leading up to their dramatic escape. I’ve NEVER had a contemporary story suck me in so much. I would sit in my car just to finish a chapter and then lament having to go back to my life instead of listening to another chapter!

Okay, okay. Characters. The audiobook narrator is stellar, I’d definitely recommend listening to this over reading it. She puts an uncertain waver into Bo’s voice, bringing her insecurities to life. You can hear Agnes’ patience and forgiveness, but also her desire to do more than she’s allowed.

Bo is my favorite. A misunderstood bad girl who really isn’t so bad. She’s from the wrong family at the wrong time, but she has a heart of gold and all I wanted was for her to succeed. Agnes is a little more Sunday school. Sheltered by her parents because she is legally blind, Bo is a real disruption to Agnes’ life.

Bo tells the story of the two girls on the run, but Agnes is the one who relates how their friendship started–it’s an adorable slow burn, by the way–and how they slowly breakdown stereotypes and barriers to forge, as the summary says, a truer and deeper friendship than anything else.

My gosh, guys, it’s so good. Keplinger is a master of the cliffhanger. Even though Agnes is telling the history, every chapter left me wanting more. The book starts with the girls running away, but you don’t figure out the mystery of why until the very end (thanks to the narrative style, which lets the author keep it a secret without it feeling like a cheat).

I’ll be honest, I mostly picked up RUN as research. Since I’m writing a blind main character, I seek out YA books with blind characters to learn how other people write about them. The best part is Agnes is blind like Skye (although the two girls are very different in most other respects)  and RUN is ownvoices story–the author is blind, herself, which made this book an AMAZING resource for me. But I’d read it again just for the story. It’s beautifully told. I’ll definitely be buying Keplinger’s future stories.

If you’re looking for something with supportive female friendships, a story that hooks you from the first page and takes you along for a wild ride, pick up RUN today.

Author: V. Kane

I write YA fantasy, blog about it, and then take my dog out for therapy. My current manuscript is ANATHEMA, a story of two sisters caught up in a war between the gods. Find me on Twitter at @ValkyrieWriting or Instagram at books_and_dogs

2 thoughts

  1. I’m not a big contemporary fan, but Kody Keplinger is one of my favorite authors. I don’t think I’ve read one of her books that wasn’t a 5 star read. I’ve been meaning to get this one since it came out, but haven’t been able to yet…. I’m going to get on that ASAP!!!


  2. This seems right up my alley. I’m adding it to the to-be-read list. And while we are on the subject- I just finished Khaled Housseni’s 3rd book And the Mountains Echoed and it was phenomenal as expected. Grab it when you get the time (ha!) if you haven’t already. 🙂


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