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Running on the Cracks Hardcover – September 15, 2009

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–9—Still reeling from the recent death of her parents in a plane crash, Leo, a 15-year-old girl of mixed Chinese and English descent, runs away from an unpleasant living situation and boards a train to Glasgow. Remaining incognito in the city proves to be difficult, but she eventually finds refuge with a kindhearted, mentally ill woman. After seeing Leo's picture in the paper, Finlay, a 13-year-old Goth paperboy, figures out who she is. They become friends as he learns of her circumstances and volunteers to help her locate the Chinese grandparents she's never known. Finding them is imperative, as Leo doesn't want to be forced back to her aunt's home, a dangerous environment with a leering Uncle John. Donaldson's novel, told from the shifting perspectives of Leo, Finlay, and Uncle John, is slow to start, but picks up as Leo's predator uncle appears on the scene to track her down. American readers will find bits of the dialect hard to understand, but the slowly building suspense, strong characterizations, and a narrative that includes information about the Chinese immigrant experience in Scotland and insight into the lives of the mentally ill make the book a worthwhile read.—Shawna Sherman, Hayward Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Leo’s plight is universal and sure to attract the attention and empathy of many American teens.”—Booklist

“This fast-paced, richly characterized Scottish import, imbued with the important message that friends are the family you choose, will be a boon to libraries looking to add more world literature to their teen collections.”—Kirkus Reviews

“This engaging, bittersweet story follows biracial British teenager Leonora ('Leo') Watts-Chan… The fast pace and short chapters should appeal to readers, who will celebrate the hopeful ending.”—Publishers Weekly


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805090541
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805090543
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,510,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Julia Donaldson is the author of many successful books for children, including the classic THE GRUFFALO, which has won the Smarties Prize and the Blue Peter Award for the Best Book to Read Aloud. THE GRUFFALO'S CHILD was one of the biggest best-sellers of 2004 and won WHS Children's Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. Julia has also written many children's plays and songs, and runs regular storytelling and drama workshops. She lives in Glasgow with her family.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Running on the Cracks, by Julia Donaldson
Rating: 3-ish/5

My Summary: Leo is scared. She's not quite sure what to think of her kooky uncle anymore, and she doesn't want to take chances. What if he does something to her... Leo runs away. She goes in search of her grandparents, her only living relatives. She accidentally gets her photo in the newspaper, and had to hide. She meets a boy named Finlay, who seems to be the one who's going to put an end to her new freedom... at first anyway. But then Finlay becomes a friend to Leo, and he becomes her key to staying away from her uncle. Leo will do anything to keep from being found and being sent back there. She ends up staying with a crazy lady who is hospitable enough, but refuses to take her medication and whose friends aren't much better. Then she realizes that her Uncle is on her tail. How will she stay away?

What I thought: Running on the Cracks was an enjoyable read. When I first saw the cover, I imagined an action filled YA novel with a lot of suspense. Although there was suspense, it wasn't anything that got your blood racing. I thoroughly enjoyed this book when I sat down to read it, but I had to be in the right mood to do it.

The Writing: The format of writing was different than I'd read before, but it was very engaging. It switched viewpoints, had pieces of the story in written-story form (meaning a whole chapter was just a letter or a newspaper article or an e-mail), had whole sections where it was just dialogue (those were my favorite sections--mostly it was when characters were on the phone, and they were all very funny) and even had a few chapters from the "crazy" person's perspective (it's always interesting being inside the head of a madman...).
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By Cole on November 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a fairly short book, but very good and suspenseful. This book is well worth the money and a book I will personally be reading over and over again.

Its about a Scottish-Chinese girl whose parents die in a plane crash, and she is forced to live with her creepy uncle. She decides to run away and find her father's parents who disowned him, and makes her way to England where they live. Meanwhile her disturbed uncle is conspiring how to get her back.

Once you get past the British humor and terms the book is very good, and I found myself unable to put it down. So, I would recommend this book to anyone.
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