Running Lean is a book that I’ve treasured for years. I’ve watched it grow and change. I’ll confess that I was once critique partners with Diana Sharples long before either of us were published authors. This book was good back then. I knew it. And I’m so thrilled that it’s finally found a home with Blink. It’s been years since Diana and I were critique partners, so I was excited to buy and read the final version of Running Lean. I’m so glad I did! It turned out even better than those early versions. She’s really done amazing work. This is an outstanding first novel.
This is the story of a teenage couple. Calvin is one of eight kids, and he recently lost his eldest brother in Afghanistan. His girlfriend Stacey has been there for him like no one else these past months, but lately something is weird with her. She’s paranoid, she’s changed her clothing style completely, and she’s not eating. At all.
Calvin tries to talk to her about it, but she clams up, then gets defensive, then mad. And so goes the story as Calvin tries to figure out what’s wrong and Stacy tries to pretend everything is fine.
I’ve read some negative reviews of this book on other sites, and here’s what I think the problem is. This is not a froufrou romance novel. There is some romance in it, yes, but this is a book about real people. And real life isn’t always pretty and doesn’t always fit a feel-good romance plot. Diana Sharples writes characters who are so realistic, I think I’ve seen some of them in my youth group. Only mine don’t speak with a southern accent. But they have personalities and problems. They’re funny and sometimes say the wrong thing. They’re young and learning how to do life as best they can. They’re a delight to read about.
This book is real life, and well worth the read, especially for girls who think they’re somehow less than others.
Age Range: 12 and up
Part of a Series: no
To support Diana, I’m giving away my ARC copy of Running Lean. U.S.A entries only on this one. Giveaway ends September 27th, 2013. To enter to win you can: tell me what is your favorite realistic story, follow Diana on Twitter, tweet about this giveaway, or “Like” Diana’s Facebook page. Good luck!