CHARLIE'S RUN by Valerie Hobbs


Age Range: 10 - 12
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Although this novel is burdened by various issues of credibility, Hobbs delivers a fast-paced, engrossing read with two characters on opposite ends of the ethical spectrum who meet in the all-too-human middle. Dubbed “little Mister Sunshine” by his mother, good-natured Charlie, 11, has always been the emotionally stable fixer in his family, the one who “jumped in and tried to make things right.” When his mother and father announce that they are separating, Charlie decides to run away from home “to teach his parents a lesson, make them realize what a broken family felt like before it was too late.” Making use of his Boy Scout training, Charlie packs his knapsack with survival gear and takes to the road. The straightforward but emotionally engrossing plot immediately catches fire when Charlie hooks up with Doo—an outwardly tough, inwardly vulnerable 14-year-old girl who is on the run for far more pressing reasons—and culminates when they meet up with some unsavory youth. Without preaching, the simple but eloquent narrative and realistic dialogue illuminate Charlie, a principled child who struggles to keep his head up in increasingly turbulent moral waters. Hobbs asks readers to suspend disbelief through encounters in drug dens and tough-guy police grillings; once they do, the story will have them in its grip. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 28th, 2000
ISBN: 0-374-34994-0
Page count: 166pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2000