On the Run

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Overview

Fifteen-year-old Luke is a skilled thief with a perfect record until the day he is caught running from a robbery gone wrong. He chooses to save the life of a blind girl, Jodi, rather than escape cleanly. As a result, Luke is given a shot at freedom if he will train to be Jodi's guide in the London Marathon. The friendship that develops between the two offers Luke one last chance to discover just how far-and in what direction-he is willing to run. A taut, unpredictable read, this novel will appeal to anyone who ...

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Overview

Fifteen-year-old Luke is a skilled thief with a perfect record until the day he is caught running from a robbery gone wrong. He chooses to save the life of a blind girl, Jodi, rather than escape cleanly. As a result, Luke is given a shot at freedom if he will train to be Jodi's guide in the London Marathon. The friendship that develops between the two offers Luke one last chance to discover just how far-and in what direction-he is willing to run. A taut, unpredictable read, this novel will appeal to anyone who has changed course in life . . . or is trying to figure out how.

When a persistent youth offender is caught yet again, he is sentenced to community service as the partner to a blind runner.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Luke Reid, the 15-year-old protagonist of British author Coleman's (Weirdo's War) problem novel, has been arrested for theft more times than he can remember. But his talent for picking locks goes horribly awry when he attempts to steal a pair of running shoes from a 4x4: two neighborhood thugs known to Luke, Lee Young and Mig Russell, cut in and steal the car. Then, as the car's owner arrives on the scene, his teenage daughter in tow, Lee and Mig mow him down with the vehicle and miss the daughter only because of Luke's intervention. Luke is caught and eventually brought before a juvenile court, where the car's owner's daughter, Jodi-who has been blind since infancy-asks the judge to have Luke perform community service by acting as her guide runner in an upcoming marathon. Jodi inspires Luke by her example, and his exposure to organized sports apparently helps undo a lifetime of unwholesome influences. All along Lee and Mig (who have gone unpunished) tell Luke not to "grass" (snitch) on them or they will hurt Jodi. But by this time readers will already know that Luke can go the moral distance, and the climax, while tense at times, seems chiefly designed to put him through his paces. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Fifteen-year-old Luke Reid is a thief. When he steals a pair of running shoes from a locked car in a parking garage, the theft goes terribly awry. Luke does not know it but his life as a Persistent Youth Offender from a gritty British housing estate is about to be turned around by a cheerful, spirited girl named Jodi Webb. Jodi has been blind from infancy, and the running shoes were hers. She convinces her parents to petition the court to let Luke work out his punishment for the theft by acting as her guide runner as she trains for the London Marathon. There are vivid descriptions of what it is like to be a guide runner, as Luke gradually discovers the rewards of helping others and also the rewards of the sport of running. Tension builds as he is caught between the desire for respect from the toughest neighborhood thugs, who value his skills as a lock-picker, and respect from the world he meets through Jodi, the visually impaired and their families. The story builds to a climax when he is pressured to commit another crime the morning of the marathon, in order to protect her. The author knows how to write a page-turner, so the reader almost does not care if some twists and turns of the plot fit too neatly together as the story races to the finish. Skilled third-person narration conveys Luke's discovery of feelings and aspirations he never thought he could or would have. 2004 (orig. 2003), Dutton Children's Books, Ages 12 to 15.
—J. H. Diehl
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9-Luke is a petty thief with a talent for picking locks. While breaking into a car, the 15-year-old is shoved aside by two schoolmates who steal it. In the melee, the owner's family returns and the daughter is nearly run down by the vehicle but Luke has the presence of mind to push her to safety. The thieves drive away, but Luke is chased and then tackled by the girl's father. The ensuing arrest lands him back in the juvenile justice system, which is more familiar to him than his own family, particularly his father, who is in prison for fraud and burglary. Honor among thieves prevents Luke from ratting on his schoolmates, but a sympathetic parole officer arranges an unusual community service project involving the girl he rescued. Luke learns that Jodi is blind and wants help training to run a mini-marathon. The unlikely partnership is awkward as Luke guides her along the track using voice commands, but her confidence and determination transform him, and give him a purpose that is no longer self-serving. Fans of British fiction will enjoy the urban dialect, and Jodi's triumph over her disability is inspirational, adding depth to the story. In a page-turning climax, Luke is blackmailed by the car thieves to help break into a garage on the day of the marathon and predictably outruns his demons for a somewhat sentimental but satisfying ending.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An absorbing British import about the redemptive power of trust. Luke Reid is a skilled thief for whom picking locks is life's greatest joy. When caught in the act of stealing a pair of running shoes from a car, Luke takes flight. His victim, who wasn't buying running shoes for nothing, follows, but breaks his leg in the chase. Luke may have to serve time for this one, but his victim's blind daughter offers him an alternative. With her father in a cast, Jodi needs a guide to help her realize her dream of running in the London Marathon. As Luke learns to guide Jodi, he finds that being responsible for another individual elevates him in many ways. Coleman's story doesn't offer solutions that are too pat, as Luke has to run hard to escape his criminal past and start a new life. Thus the fairy-tale ending satisfies. (Fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525473183
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/11/2004
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 10 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Coleman is the author of Weirdo's War, which was short-listed for the Carnegie Medal and called "tense and psychological" by the London Times.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2005

    Great!

    This book was so good. I finished it in just a few hours. This story i just couldt but it down. My heart beat fast during the in tence part. I could feel what he was going though...kind of. You should read this book it is very good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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