The Runaways


A novel for young adults

Tells of a boy's friendship with a homeless person.

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A novel for young adults

Tells of a boy's friendship with a homeless person.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Twelve-year-old Nick, struggling with the news that his mother and her new husband are now going to have a baby, decides to run away from home. Turns out Nick has more in common than he realizes with Luther, the old homeless man who hangs about the streets of Andersonville. This is a story about friendship blooming in unlikely soil, and about a boy coming to terms with his changing relationships with the adults in his life. Butcher's novel reads easily, and young Nick is a likeable character.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8An interesting, sensitive portrayal of homeless citizens in our cities. The novel centers around the friendship that develops between Nick Battle and Luther, a homeless man. Nick is an assertive yet sensitive 12 year old who is struggling to accept his new stepfather. Luther and Nick literally run into one another the night the boy runs away after being told that his mother is going to have a baby. He is soon reunited with his parents, but the encounter with Luther shocks him and challenges his beliefs about homelessness and he continues to visit him. Butcher has created a sympathetic character in Luther, but she does not shy away from some of the darker aspects of the issue. One night, Nick visits a soup kitchen and meets some seriously disturbed and poverty-stricken adults and teens. Some of the dialogue falls flat, in an apparent attempt at humor; and the mystery surrounding Luther's identity and life choices is neatly resolved in the end. Otherwise, the story is well crafted. Nick's mother and stepfather are intelligent, caring, and articulate, and contribute to the plot in constructive ways.Lucinda Lockwood, Thomas Haney Secondary School, Maple Ridge, BC
Kirkus Reviews
A 12-year-old takes a short flyer from home and finds a double cause in this earnest debut. Nick hasn't adjusted to his mother's new marriage; when she announces that she's pregnant, it's the last straw. He runs away, taking refuge in an abandoned mansion where he meets Luther, a fixture on the streets of Nick's town who eats from garbage cans but talks like a college graduate. After an uncomfortable night, Nick turns himself in, and, dramatic gesture behind him, realizes that it's not so bad to have a home and two caring adults. He starts to visit Luther on the sly, and also begins work on a school report about the town's poor and homeless that takes him through a run-down neighborhood and into a soup kitchen for a talk with a real runaway. Butcher has an obvious cautionary message to impart, but allows readers to observe and draw their own conclusions from events, and Nick is more than a mouthpiece. In a shrink-wrapped ending, Nick learns that Luther is a well-known author of children's books, driven into the streets by personal tragedy. Nick's friendship and his report, published in the local newspaper, persuade Luther to start writing again. It's a tidy but convincing view of the sparking of a young person's social conscience. (Fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781550743791
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 168
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.95 (d)

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