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Literature / Run

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Run is a 2016 Young Adult novel by Kody Keplinger.

Bo Dickinson is a girl with a wild reputation, a deadbeat dad, and a mama who’s not exactly sober most of the time. Everyone in town knows the Dickinsons are a bad lot, but Bo doesn’t care what anyone thinks.

Agnes Atwood has never gone on a date, never even stayed out past ten, and never broken any of her parents’ overbearing rules. Rules that are meant to protect their legally blind daughter—protect her from what, Agnes isn’t quite sure.

Despite everything, Bo and Agnes become best friends. And it’s the sort of friendship that runs truer and deeper than anything else. So when Bo shows up in the middle of the night, with police sirens wailing in the distance, desperate to get out of town, Agnes doesn’t hesitate to take off with her. But running away and not getting caught will require stealing a car, tracking down Bo’s dad, staying ahead of the authorities, and—worst of all—confronting some ugly secrets.

The book was met with very positive reception, but also wound up in the centre of a controversy when literary journal VOYA recommended it suitable for high school readers only due to the presence of a bisexual character—read more about that here.

Tropes Present in Run:

  • Abusive Parents: Almost all of Bo's entire family is pretty abusive to her. Her mom is the worst because not only is she physically abusive, but half the time she's genuinely kind and loves Bo. Her dad is another story since he walks out on the family, and when Bo meets him again he doesn't make any attempt to help her and lets his new wife kick her out.
  • Buddy Genre: Between the trip in the present and their meeting in the flashbacks, it hits all the required notes.
  • Deep South: It's set in Kentucky.
  • Disappeared Dad: Bo's dad walked out on the family.
  • Disabled Means Helpless: It's certainly the mindset that her family and friends have towards her. While there are a few things that Agnes does need help with, such as if she's in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar voices, she's quite independent. It takes befriending Bo to give her the confidence to start striking out on her own.
  • Disabled Snarker: Agnes, though she didn't start that way. She picks it up from Bo.
  • Dream-Crushing Handicap: Agnes' blindness, in her parents eyes, means she won't ever be successful on her own. Agnes' dream, of course, is simply to get out of town and away from her family.
  • Fiery Redhead: Bo can get this way.
  • Foster Kid: Bo has been this before, but was eventually returned to her mama's custody. She had it so bad that she doesn't want to call social services on her again, even if things get bad, which is why she opts to run away instead at the beginning of the book. At the end of the book she is put into the system, but is lucky enough to end up with a very kind family.
  • Helicopter Parents: Agnes' parents are always interfering with Agnes' life out of fear that she'll get hurt, and eventually admitting that deep down they don't think she'd ever be able to leave Mursey after high school. Fortunately they get better.
  • How We Got Here: While Bo's chapters show the girls running away, Agnes' show the start of their friendship and what led to them leaving in the first place.
  • Important Haircut: The girls cut their hair shorter to help hide from the authorities.
  • In Medias Res: The book begins with the two girls running away.
  • Lower-Class Lout: Most of the Dickinson family.
  • Never Accepted in His Hometown: Bo, Colt, and all the Dickinsons are hated by everyone else in Mursey for being no-good white trash drug-dealing vagabond. Bo and Colt also seem to be the only good ones in the family.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: After Agnes finds out that Bo was searching for her dad and was never trying to find a place for her and Agnes, Agnes abandons her and calls her parents to take her home. Fortunately they make up by the end.
  • The Runaway: Bo and Agnes.
  • Small Town Boredom: Part of the reasons Agnes and Bo want to leave Mursey.
  • Switching P.O.V.: The book swaps between Bo's perspective in the present and Agnes' in the past.
  • Team Pet: Bo's dog Utah.
  • White Sheep: Bo and Colt seem to be the only good people in the Dickinson family.
  • Wild Teen Party: Bo and Agnes go to a one in Mursey, where Agnes has her first beer and first dance with Colt.