Review: On the Run

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It’s the 1990s in California. Pablo is a young, wealthy Central American man leading the good life. Until one day  he witnesses and is blamed for a vicious crime which leaves him with both the police and drug lords after him.

His money gone and a bounty on his head, Pablo descends into crime himself in order to survive. He heads across the country to New York to seek out the only person he can think of with the knowledge and skills to assist him – Mad Dog, his best friend’s cousin who himself has been working in the drug trade for the last ten years. Pablo will face many challenges in his new life underground, but one of the biggest will be dealing with his new ally, whose way of seeing the world is very different to his own.

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This book is so much fun! Pablo is an interesting study of what a person will do when they are pushed to the limit to find out what they are capable of.  His own horror at his initial actions is realistic and he then rather than bottoming out he seems to equalise and find his new moral compass.

Mad Dog, however, is my favourite character. He is a hardened dug dealer who has seen bad things and had bad things happen to him. But he is not a bad guy. He’s not just interested, but invested in Pablo’s welfare and continually tries to expand Pablo’s thinking and encourage his self-development and self awareness. Mad Dog also has concern for his clients – he doesn’t see an addiction to cocaine as being any different to an addiction to sex, money or power (although is worse as it could kill you). All of these things indicate someone is trying to fill a hole inside them. Pablo gets really frustrated with Mad Dog’s “new age crap” but realises he has no choice but to suck it up because Mad Dog is literally saving his life. On the Run is essentially a journey to self for Pablo, with Mad Dog as his guide.

The book is incredibly well researched and intricately detailed. There were times I had to remind myself that I was reading a work of fiction rather than a memoir. The story is well paced and will completely suck you in!

4 out of 5 offshore bank accounts.

With thanks to Netgalley and the author for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Review: The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs

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It’s April 19 and the morning of  April’s 18th birthday. April’s hyperthymesia, a rare memory condition which means she can recall most of her personal experiences from her life, has her ruminating on all the tragedies of previous Aprils: from Lincoln’s assassination to shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech University.

This story occurs over a few hours on April 19, and is told by 7 voices. Lincoln went to school with April before he left Delware for Nebraska. For some reason he is drawn to think of her while he spends time with Laura, the Honors student he is infatuated with.Sandra Heslip has let the few stragglers that turned up to her English class on Senior Skip day go. She can’t stop think about what Adrian George said to her yesterday. Mastermind has a plan and a number of people who are ready to go out into the world and do his bidding.

April is the Cruelest Month, April is the Weirdest Girl.

I’m going to keep this review short and sweet, because I just loved this book and can’t think of much more to say other than “it was awesome, read it!”

This book is an intense meditation on what it is to be a teenager. My teenage years were a while back now, but I can still remember that particular flavour of powerlessness and shame that you carried around with you on a daily basis – well, maybe you didn’t, but I sure did.

Of course teens these days have different tools at their fingertips – skype, chatrooms, facebook and so forth. These don’t necessarily make life better, and can instead make things more intense by letting people be continuously connected, when disconnecting might be more beneficial for them.

Combs juggles a lot of balls in the crafting of this novel, but I think she has done a fantastic job. My only criticism is that the title phrase is used a couple of times too many in the book. The story is well-paced, and beautifully put together. Make sure you’ve got some tissues lying around for the end.

5 out of 5 #effingwins