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  • Runaway
  • Written by Wendelin Van Draanen
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780307975973
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  • Runaway
  • Written by Wendelin Van Draanen
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780375849121
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Written by Wendelin Van DraanenAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Wendelin Van Draanen

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List Price: $7.99

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On Sale: March 11, 2008
Pages: | ISBN: 978-0-375-84912-1
Published by : Laurel Leaf RH Childrens Books
Runaway Cover

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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

"It's a cold, hard, cruel fact that my mother loved heroin more than she loved me."

Holly is in her fifth foster home in two years and she's had enough. She's run away before and always been caught quickly. But she's older and wiser now--she's twelve--and this time she gets away clean.

Through tough and tender and angry and funny journal entries, Holly spills out her story. We travel with her across the country--hopping trains, scamming food, sleeping in parks or homeless encampments. And we also travel with her across the gaping holes in her heart--as she finally comes to terms with her mother's addiction and death.

Runaway is a remarkably uplifting portrait of a girl still young and stubborn and naive enough to hold out hope for finding a better place in the world, and within herself, to be.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

May 17th

It’s cold. It’s late. I’m trapped in here, trying to sleep under this sorry excuse for a blanket, and I’ve just got to tell you—you don’t know squat. You think you know what I’m going through, you think you know how I can “cope,” but you’re just like everybody else: clueless. Writing. Poetry. Learning to express myself. “It’ll help you turn the page, Holly. Just try it.”

Well, I’m trying it, see? And is it making me feel better? NO! Giving me this journal was a totally lame thing to do. You think writing will get me out of here? You think words will make me forget about the past? Get real, Ms. Leone!

Words can’t fix my life.

Words can’t give me a family.

Words can’t do jack.

You may be a teacher, Ms. Leone, but face it: You don’t know squat.

May 19th

Oh, you really took the cake today. “Put your most embarrassing experience in the form of a cinquain poem.” What did you expect me to do? Write the truth? I knew you’d read them out loud and you did! How do you spell idiot? I spell it L-E-O-N-E.

Did you like my little poem about spilling my milk in a restaurant? Stupid, I know, so give me an F, see if I care. Like I can even remember ever being in a real restaurant.

You want a cinquain poem about a most embarrassing moment that actually happened to me? Okay, here you go:

Prisoner

Chained outside

Shivering, huddling, sobbing

Naked in the rain

Alone

Oh, yeah. That makes me feel SO much better.

May 20th

My mom died two years ago today.

I’d been scamming food, she’d been shooting up.

I miss her.

More than I have tears to cry, I miss her.

May 20th, again

You want to know why I was crying at recess? That cat Camille is why. She called me a homeless freak. Told me I had a face only my mother could love. Normally, I would have told her to eat dirt and die, but today I just couldn’t take it.

I didn’t tell you because I knew you wouldn’t believe me. Everyone knows she’s your favorite. “Miss Leone, do you need some help?” “Miss Leone, do you want me to pass those out?” “Oh, Miss Leone, you look so pretty today!” Adopt her, why don’t you?

Oh, that’s right—she already has two parents.

May 20th again, again

When they moved me in with the Benders, the social worker told me that they were “very kind and very patient people.” What a laugh. They’re phonies, is what they are. Mrs. Bender is a heartless witch, and Mr. Bender is a total creep. He’s always touching me. On the shoulder. On the hair. On the hand. He gets that same look that Mr. Fisk used to get when his wife wasn’t around.

Social services won’t believe me if I complain. They’ll say I’m just looking for trouble. Lying. Faking. Overreacting. “Self-inflicting.”

Well, I’m not going through that again. I’d rather DIE than go through that again. So tonight when Mr. Bender started massaging my shoulders, I told him, “Stop it!”

He didn’t. “I’m only trying to help you unwind,” he said in his snaky voice.

“Stop it!” I shouted. “Don’t touch me!” And I slapped his creepy hands away.

That brought Mrs. Bender running. “What is going on in here?” she asked, and after he explained it to her, I got locked in my room. Not the room they show the social worker. That’s the room they tell me I’ll get when I’m a “good” girl. The room I really get is the laundry room. They give me a mat, a blanket, and a bucket to pee in.

So sweet dreams, Ms. Leone, in your feathery bed or whatever you have.

Do you really believe words are going to keep me warm and safe tonight?

May 21st, early morning

Why am I doing this? Why am I writing to you again? I’m shivering in this room, huddled under this blanket writing to you, and why? What good is it? I’m hungry, I can’t sleep, I’m locked in here, and I’ve got to pee. I hate using the bucket, I just hate it.

Man, I’ve got to go. Hold on a minute.



Oh, that’s better.

Maybe I can get back to sleep now.



Nope. I’m too cold.



So you want to hear how I get a drink when they trap me in here on weekends? I turn on the washer. Pretty sly, huh? I used to put my blanket in the dryer and get it roasting hot, but the dryer quit working and of course I got blamed.

I don’t mind the size of this squatty little room, it’s the cold that gets me. Why can’t they give me a better blanket? How about a sleeping bag? Would that kill them?

Whatever. No matter how much I try, I’ll never be “good” enough to sleep in the real room.

I’ve got to come up with a plan to get out of here.

May 21st again, lunchtime

What is it with you and poetry? It’s like some crazy obsession with you. And I couldn’t believe your stupid “Life is poetry” statement. Maybe your life is poetry, but mine’s a pile of four-letter words. “Find the motion. Find the rhythm. Find the timbre of your life.” Whose idea is all this? Yours? Did somebody teach you this stuff? How’s this ever going to help me in life?

And guess what? You can forget it. I’m not doing it. Write your own stupid poem about your own poetic life.

Mine would just get me sent to the office.

May 21st again again, after school

I hate you, you know that? I hate you for making me write that poem. I hate you for making me lie about my life. But most of all I hate you for acting so sweet to me. You don’t really care. I’m a job to you, like I am to everybody else. I know it, so quit pretending you care.

And you probably think you’re doing a good job, but guess what? You’re not. I can see right through you, so just leave me alone, would you? Forget I’m even in your class. Forget you’re supposed to be trying to “help” me. And quit making me write poems!


From the Hardcover edition.
Wendelin Van Draanen

About Wendelin Van Draanen

Wendelin Van Draanen - Runaway
Books have always been a part of Wendelin Van Draanen’s life. Her mother taught her to read at an early age, and she has fond memories of story time with her father, when she and her brothers would cuddle up around him and listen to him read stories.
 
Growing up, Van Draanen was a tomboy who loved to be outside chasing down adventure. She did not decide that she wanted to be an author until she was an adult. When she tried her hand at writing a screenplay about a family tragedy, she found the process quite cathartic and from that experience, turned to writing novels for adults. She soon stumbled upon the joys of writing for children.
 
Feedback from her readers is Van Draanen’s greatest reward for writing. “One girl came up to me and told me I changed her life. It doesn't get any better than that,” she said. Van Draanen hopes to leave her readers with a sense that they have the ability to steer their own destiny—that individuality is a strength, and that where there's a will, there's most certainly a way.
 
Her first book was published in 1997, and since then her titles have won many awards. Now in its sixteenth installment, the Sammy Keyes Mysteries have been nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Children’s Mystery five times, with Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief bringing home the statue. Additionally, she has won the Christopher medal for Shredderman: Secret Identity, the California Young Reader Medal for Flipped, and the Schneider Family Book Award for The Running Dream. Her books have been translated into many foreign languages, Shredderman became a Nickelodeon made-for-TV movie, and Flipped was released as a feature film, directed by Rob Reiner. She lives in California with her husband and two sons. Her hobbies include the “Three R’s”: Reading, Running and Rock ’n’ Roll. 
 
Fun Facts
Born January 6 in Chicago, IL 
 
Previous Jobs
Forklift driver, coach (sports), musician, high school math and computer science teacher 
 
Inspiration for writing
The past, the future, and the struggle for a happy ending!
 
Favorites
. . . food: sushi
. . . clothes to wear: Sneakers, shorts, and sweatshirts
. . . colors: Emerald green with a splash of midnight blue
Praise

Praise

“Readers will be drawn to the gripping details of both physical and emotional landmines hidden in the ordinariness of everyday life. This is a great book to hand-sell or booktalk to young teens. . . . Van Draanen has shown great versatility in adding another dimension to her already respected body of work.”–School Library Journal

“Readers will be drawn to Holly as she shifts between her search for a safe place to live, her anger at the foster care system and her reflections on the circumstances that led up to her mother’s overdose.”–Publishers Weekly


From the Paperback edition.

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