Running on Empty
Running on Empty by S.E. Durrant, is a story about family and not only learning to ask for help but to accept help when it is given.
AJ's family has always relied heavily on his grandfather. He's the one who always makes sure the bills are paid and that everyone is taken care of. But when Grandad dies, things slowly start to fall apart and AJ is afraid if he doesn't keep it together, he will be sent away from his Mum and Dad. The only thing that keeps AJ from falling apart himself, is doing what he does best: running.
As the pressure builds and the pressures of adulthood begin to weigh on his twelve-year-old body, AJ doesn't know what to do. Will be be able to sort everything out and compete at nationals or will everything fall to pieces?
This book has a lot of heart and deals with themes we don't often see in juvenile literature. AJ's parents both have developmental disabilities and they have always relied on others to help them navigate things like bills and bank accounts. AJ takes on these responsibilities and the weight of them is too much.
A lot is packed into this little story. Death and grief, disabilities, family issues/struggles, financial issues, worrying about foster care, losing and making friendships, being part of a team, knowing when to ask for help... being kind. The more I think about the book, the more I can pull out of it.
There's a lot going on "behind the scenes" in Running on Empty. AJ isn't the only one struggling and overcoming something. His parents, Eddie and Alice, both have these beautiful, underplayed, moments of growth. Alice with her cake and Eddie leaving the house. Even Tyler, has this moment of change.
I think this book is going to be underrated, but it addresses so many things that any kid would find something to relate to. This one gets 4 stars from me.
That's all for now!