Girl on the Run

Random/Underlined. Oct. 2020. 272p. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780593179819.
Gr 7 Up–White 16-year-old Katelyn Reed always thought her mom was overprotective, maybe even a little paranoid. But now that they’ve been settled in the same town for nearly a year and Katelyn is finally allowed to get a part-time job and her own computer, she figures her mom might be ready to loosen up in other areas of her life. Little does Katelyn know that the simple act of uploading her mother’s photo to an online dating site will turn her life upside down, revealing alarming truths about their secret past. True to the title, the girl is quite literally on the run for the rest of the book, the plot setting a relentless pace through Katelyn’s previously unknown past. The action sequences are frantic and violent, rendering characters’ injuries with almost reverent precision. Meanwhile, the portrayal of the central mother-daughter relationship is thin, offered mainly in convenient flashbacks when Katelyn calls on her mother’s lessons to find an escape route or charm a janitor out of his keys. Malcolm, the Black hacker Katelyn teams up with, is similarly more of a plot device than a character, several times using “computer stuff” to get the pair out of a jam.
VERDICT A fast-paced thriller that is driven more by plot than character. Recommended only for very large collections.

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