RUN by Kody Keplinger
Run is the 2016 young adult novel by American author Kody Keplinger, who is mostly known for writing her first ever novel, The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) when she was in high school, a book that went on to become adapted for cinema in 2015. Run was published by Scholastic Press and handles such moving themes as friendship, life as a disabled person and embracing one’s sexuality.
Run is about the close friendship, akin to sisterhood between two seventeen-year-old girls, Agnes Atwood and Bo Dickinson. They both come from a small conservative town called Mursey, a place they ardently wish to escape and so they decide to run away from home.
Agnes was born blind and is therefore used to people fussing over her needlessly and constantly questioning her capabilities. Bo on the other hand is a renowned delinquent whose broken home and drug addict for a mother earns her the disdain of their community. The two forge an unlikely friendship, quickly becoming the talk of the town. They are drawn together by their mutual respect for one another and their burning desire to escape.
Run features a blind main character whose perspective is told in a thoughtful and penetrating manner, in that Agnes is a reflection of the author, who is also blind*. Reading about Agnes’ life therefore felt very personal and deeply in touch with the experiences of like disabled teenagers, even those who are not blind.
It also endows Bo, the so-called delinquent with the same level of depth and explores just how damaging it can be to condemn a young person who has no control over the environment they are born into. Despite this, Bo takes solace in her love of poetry and platonic love for Agnes.
This novel has a fast-paced, straight-talking quality that complemented the urgent fugitive-like feeling of being on the run. There were also more still moments where I could fully appreciate the underlying meanings of the story, that of friendship and deciding for ourselves what paths we will take and which will pave the course of our histories.
“Because she was the best friend I’d ever had. And I would have followed her off the edge of the earth if I had to. That was our poetry. Our story. And it was one I’d be telling until the day I died.”
Click here to read an article posted on Kody Keplinger’s goodreads discussing her experience living with a disability.
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