Recently, I read a YA book for my sister-in-law’s book review blog, Jenna Does Books, which is always a treat. I am certainly not the reviewer that she is, but it’s fun to give my opinions on a book when she asks. Here is the review that I shared with her for her blog…
One of the many perks of being Jenna’s sister-in-law is that she shares books with me. She knows me well enough to know when I will like a book. So, when she asked me last month if I wanted to read a book about a runner and review it, the answer was a quick YES.
I am a runner. I love to run. I have not always loved it; in fact there was a time that I would joke about only running if I was being chased. But running became a way of dealing with stress and heartbreak and taught me how strong I really am. And that is exactly what takes place for Alice Davis, the main character.
Alice is a senior in high school, the class valedictorian, and an over-achiever. She is the daughter of a dermatologist and a lawyer, has a best friend named Jenni, and a pet rat named Walter. Despite having everything she could ever want, all she wants is to go to Yale. When she is rejected, she feels like a failure and has to find something to do. And that is how she starts to run.
It’s not pretty at first, but running teaches her new lessons and leads her to meet new people. It shows her how to push through pain and limits and to be strong when she feels she can’t. She befriends the owner of a local running store, a patient of her mother’s, and takes on a part time job. She also meets a boy, cleverly named Miles. Being rejected by the one and only college she ever wanted to go to sends her down a different path that ultimately leads her to bigger decisions, better relationships, and helps her through heartache.
I really enjoyed this book. I love the running aspect because I can sympathize with running for the first time and feeling like I can’t possibly do it again. And how getting lost in a run, good or bad, can give you the clarity you need for just about any situation. Even though it is fiction, the development of Alice’s running is pretty spot on… It is well written, easy to read, and the characters all work well together. I especially love the use of SAT words throughout with the definitions, such as this…
As the sole offspring of two conspicuously consuming professionals riddled (“filled or permeated with something unpleasant”) with guilt about working too much and not paying enough attention to their precious child, I am often the beneficiary of bouts of excessive spending.
The author, Rachel Toor, is also a senior writer for Running Times magazine and has written Personal Record: A Love Affair with Running, a book that I have already added to my to-read list.
You can also read my review on Jenna Does Books here.
Read more about Rachel Toor here.