THE RUNAWAYS by Kristin Butcher


Age Range: 10 - 12
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A 12-year-old takes a short flyer from home and finds a double cause in this earnest debut. Nick hasn’t adjusted to his mother’s new marriage; when she announces that she’s pregnant, it’s the last straw. He runs away, taking refuge in an abandoned mansion where he meets Luther, a fixture on the streets of Nick’s town who eats from garbage cans but talks like a college graduate. After an uncomfortable night, Nick turns himself in, and, dramatic gesture behind him, realizes that it’s not so bad to have a home and two caring adults. He starts to visit Luther on the sly, and also begins work on a school report about the town’s poor and homeless that takes him through a run-down neighborhood and into a soup kitchen for a talk with a real runaway. Butcher has an obvious cautionary message to impart, but allows readers to observe and draw their own conclusions from events, and Nick is more than a mouthpiece. In a shrink-wrapped ending, Nick learns that Luther is a well-known author of children’s books, driven into the streets by personal tragedy. Nick’s friendship and his report, published in the local newspaper, persuade Luther to start writing again. It’s a tidy but convincing view of the sparking of a young person’s social conscience. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
ISBN: 1-55074-413-5
Page count: 168pp
Publisher: Kids Can
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1998


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