Review Blog

Jun 25 2018

Running on empty by Sonya Spreen Bates

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Orca Sports series. Orca Book Publishers, 2018. ISBN 9781459816534
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Themes: Sport - Athletics, Family, Overcoming difficulties. Leon experiences the worst outcome during his High School 4 x 100metre relay event - the end of his sprint career due to a mid-race accident. The turmoil of having his life turned upside down because of his injury, results in family difficulties and emotional distress. Nothing will ever be the same again! A chance meeting at the Physiotherapy clinic with Casey, the feisty, spirited and attractive teenager, changes his direction, and potentially leads him towards a new way of living. But is her direction healthy, or does her own struggle in life put Leon in danger of some unwise choices? Can he run again, or should he just give up?
This book takes the reader into the story of an American teenager on the brink of College life, whose hopes for an Athletics scholarship get crushed because of injury. Family relationships and disharmony are addressed, as well as the generational dilemma of coping with a grandparent on the brink of dementia. But essentially it is a story of someone at the crossroads trying to deal with difficulty in their life and to recover from disappointment, all within the context of school athletics and sporting aspirations. Casey's problems are intense, and we know there are major problems, but her power to inspire Leon gives hope where there was none. Problems do not disappear, but the future for the two teens will not be plain sailing. This book will be appreciated by sports fans, but also by others who understand the teenage predicaments that the characters face.
Recommended for readers aged 13+.
Carolyn Hull

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