Runner by Carl Deuker - book review

I very rarely buy class sets of books for students without first having read them, but I bought a class set of Runner by Carl Deuker on a whim with some spare cash left from last year’s budget. I read it over the summer and was a bit worried because the conclusion is sad (and a bit cheesy). However, today, as I passed through one of my 8th grade classrooms, the teacher was singing its praises and the students were enthralled. I’ll be excited to see how they feel about the ending……

Synopsis: Chance Taylor is a high school senior who lives on an old dilapidated houseboat in Puget Sound with his alcoholic father. Chance gets the opportunity to make some money when a man notices him running around the pier and docks and approaches him about delivering some packages during his run. It doesn’t take long for Chance to figure out that something fishy is happening at the pier (oh…. such a bad pun, but too easy :-). Throw in a cute girl, a terrorist threat and a climactic ending and you’ve got an exciting read for all readers, reluctant readers especially.

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Genre: Action/Adventure Fiction
Age: Young Adult - 7th grade and up
Pages: 224
Themes: coming of age, making tough decisions, friendship, father-son relationships Interdisciplinary Content: Running, Alcoholism, US military, Terrorism
Character Development: Not a character driven book, but characters are likable and realistic
Plot Engagement: High energy and engaging to reluctant readers especially boys
Originality: Good premise. Well thought & executed
Believability: Some loss of believability during the conclusion, but kids are more forgiving than older folk like myself
Advisory: Terrorism will need to be discussed with younger students. No specific population is profiled, so terrorism is handled broadly.
Publisher: Graphia
Date: April 2007
ISBN: 978-0618735051

Here's the book's website

Carl Deuker grew up in San Fransisco and is a Giants baseball fan. In the 1960's he was a student and English major at UC Berkley. There he participated in many protests during the Vietnam War Era. After graduating, he taught for many years. You can learn much more about him on his bio. page.


© 2007-2011 Cheryl Vanatti for
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