young adult book reviews & more

The Running Man by Michael Gerard Bauer

The Running ManJoseph Davidson is a shy and artistic boy. So naturally, when he’s given a school assignment to make a portrait, he is unsure of whom he wants his subject to be. So, he never expects to pick him mysterious neighbor, Tom Leyton. At first, he tells Caroline, the sister or Tom Leyton who first suggested Tom as the subject, that he will think about it. But when another neighbor thinks that Joseph would be too afraid, he takes up the challenge.

Gradually, Joseph spends more and more time with Tom and gets to know him. Tom at first is very cold and reclusive and doesn’t respond much to Joseph. But soon, he opens up, and Joseph and Tom’s meetings are spent taking care of Tom’s silk worms more than working on the portrait. But Tom’s eyes are still stony and cold; Joseph feels that he cannot capture Tom’s true self until he can see what’s really behind Tom’s eyes.

The Running Man is set up a little like The Luxe by Anna Godbersen in that it begins with a funeral and then flashes back to the events before it. However, the two stories are extremely different, as one could expect. The Running Man goes much deeper and is not filled with gossip about high society; rather, rumors circulate about Joseph’s mysterious neighbor Tom. In some ways, this reminded me of Boo Radley from To Kill A Mockingbird, because Tom and Boo are so similar in many ways.

The Running Man was a beautiful and touching story. It’s about the tentative friendship between two people who need each other. It’s also one of those deep books filled with metaphors that can seem confusing at first but are explained. It’s about the miracles that friends provide for each other and conquering the demons in your past. It’s about reaching out to others who need you and making peace with your life.

I recommend this novel to readers who are up to a thought-provoking read. While The Running Man is not full of excitement or suspense and is more of an emotional novel, readers will not be disappointed. This book has already been published by Scholastic, but it will be published again by HarperTeen in July.

Rating: 4.0

Review copy from publisher HarperCollins

16 munch(es) :

Liv said...

While I was reading it, I was totally thinking about Boo Radley. I had just finished reading it for school for like the sixth time and I really saw the connection too! I wish I had finished, but I just wasn't in the mood to think as much as the book required to actually get in to it. Great review though!

Steph said...

Wow, this book sounds good. I'll look into getting it from somewhere...

paperxxflowers said...

I like the new layout! I recently changed mine, too!

Anonymous said...

The cover reminds me of the one from another book... GAH. Can't remember the name.

Great review. :) And I love the bright springy layout.

Jessica Burkhart said...

Adding this to my list! :)

Keri Mikulski said...

Sounds like a good one!

Unknown said...

I read this with school, and was personally disappointed with the choice. I would have liked something altogether more classic.
But in fact, it wasn't as inane as I expected. The writing itself was basic and not stunning. But the imprint that the meanings left was beautifully thought-provoking.
The poem "The Silkworms" has since become a fixture upon my bedroom wall, and the references to William Blake and John Milton were apt and a point of real breakthrough for me.
I recommend the book simply because I have had some months to mull over it - but others fresh from the pages might not be so happy.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Oh, it sounds interesting. I'm big on thought-provoking books. :)
great review.

addicted reader said...

I have had this book for a while, but never got to read it. lol

Anonymous said...

We had to read this book for school and I was so convinced that it would be a boring choice of literacy - until i actually read it. Loved everything about it. I cried at the end because it was so intense and real. Loved it!

Anonymous X said...

geng you qian le.
this novel is so good!
i could read it so many times and not get sick of it!
good work michael bauer! :D

Anonymous said...


woot! nice novel david bauer,
oops, i meant michael

Anonymous said...


this book sounds really good...my school library has it, I might check it out. (will add a comment after reading) ^_^

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

far out dude, so many typos. Quote * Tom at first is very cold and reclusive and doesn’t respond much to Tom*.....jeez read through it

Anonymous said...

Poster above is a complete fool. There is 280 pages in the book :)

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