Running on Empty by Colette Ballard
Publication date: May 6th 2014 (first published November 25th last year)
Publisher: Tulip Teen
Number of pages: 376
Series: N/A but there is a companion book
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: From the publisher for review. This is my honest opinion.
What does it feel like when you die—in those final moments? Do you feel the physical pain, or just the pain of your regrets? What does it feel like when you realize you can’t answer these questions because you’re not the victim?
You’re the killer.
River Daniels lives an ordinary life as a high school junior growing up in the confines of rural Texas until her boyfriend’s brutal attack leaves her both a murderer and a fugitive. When River’s closest girlfriends come to her aid, they make a hasty decision to not only help her, but leave their own troubled lives behind and join in her escape. The girls manage to elude police for months, but with every near-miss, River’s life spirals further out of control, until she finally hits rock bottom. Realizing she must stop endangering her friends and find evidence proving she acted in self-defense, the girls decide to make a risky move. River must face her ugly past and the one person she was protecting the night her world caved in, the guy she has loved for as long as she can remember.
This was…not what I expected.
As per usual, I read the blurb ages ago and had totally forgotten what this was about. But it was quite different from other contemporaries in the fact that it was set in a high school.
River had the two greatest friends in the history of contemporaries. Three, if you include Justice. They were dedicated and determined to help River after the accident and went to extreme lengths to do so. Under their tough exterior, they were better inside than the kids that had been brought up with riches. Typically in most contemporaries, the main character has some sort of fight or falling out with her best friend in the book, so I’m glad that River had such great friends to help her on her “journey”.
When the feels came in this book, they hit hard. Only just missed the bullseye. A bullseye is very difficult to get, by the way. I think that both the characters and the author handled the tougher situations very well. Even though I would never do even half those things, when River and her friends executed those things, they seemed liked it was reasonable to take that option.
I also love the cover. It looks very polished and professional – it was definitely the thing that attracted me to this book.
What I didn’t like was that I found some parts a little boring. The good bits and the unexpected twists were exciting but the inbetween seemed to just drag on a bit too much. In all honesty, I think that I was well and truly ready for the book to be over by 75%. I can’t give away the parts that dragged on for me without spoilers but I thought there was a lull period inbetween the more exciting scenes.
The other thing I didn’t like was that Justice was too perfect. He was ALWAYS there for her and what ever he said seemed to take whatever relationship he had going with River at the time, back even further. It just started to bother me, especially since I thought they got past all of that.
I’m looking forward to reading Justice’s point of view. I think I’m going to like it just as much or even more than River’s point of view. I did like his character. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a different sort of contemporary – in other words, one that isn’t set in a high school.
The Earth shook. If they thought the Leaning Tower of Pisa was leaning before…
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Goodreads author bio:
Colette grew up on a dairy farm in rural Kentucky. She survived the high school experience back in the day when Aqua Net was bought in bulk and mullets were cool. That’s also when she realized that her constant daydreaming wasn’t a curse, but a useful skill—one she used like a lethal weapon to combat her frustration over the haunting question: What does the alphabet have to do with math anyway? Unfortunately, her ninja daydreaming skills only increased her desire to write—not her algebra grade.
After surviving the hairstyles and torturous math classes of her high school years, she wandered a bit—even moving to the farthest northwestern corner of the United States, then to the farthest southeastern corner. She finally settled in the one red-light town she started in, where she continues to live today with her husband and three children.