At the age of twelve, Holly finally succeeds in running away from her abusive foster family. She thinks living on the street will be nothing compared to the abuse she suffered at the hands of the various adults who were supposed to take care of her throughout her life. She decides to go to California all by herself. She doesn't need anyone or anything - or so she thinks.
As with story Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dumphrey by Margaret Peterson Haddix, Runaway by Wendelin Van Draanen begins as a class assignment and is written in first-person journal entries. Even though Holly despises her teacher - remember, she thinks adults aren't trustworthy - she keeps writing in her journal throughout her travels. She sleeps outside on park benches, stows away on trains, and steals food to fill her empty stomach.
The author did a great deal of research for this book, and it shows. Runaway is a real eye-opener of a book. It deserves a lot of attention, and will inspire a great deal of discussion in the classroom and in the home.
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