Cover Image: Running


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Member Reviews

RUNNING follows the life of young Mari during her father's presidential campaign. During this campaign, her views don't align with his father's political views and she also finds out some truths behind his campaign.

This YA debut is utterly authentic and thoughtful! In the beginning, I didn't agree with some of Mari's attitudes/behaviors and found her a bit reckless, however seeing her growth throughout the story I soon began to root for her. This book shows us the importance of speaking up your beliefs and standing up for what you think it is the right thing to do - Mari's voice in this novel was so powerful as she didn't choose to be erased or silenced. Sylvester digs deep into the politics and social issues and shows us that our voices shouldn't be buried under the social pressure and one's image.

I found Mari's journey quite tiresome yet real in a sense that it's not an easy task to change the many realities which we encounter, knowing that they are ultimately cracks in the foundation. It is an invisible line between supporting and performing and Sylvester did a fantastic job addressing this theme. Moreover, topics of gender role and privilege are also richly explored.

The characters were developed in nuance and I really enjoyed how my opinion changed about Jackie. I found the friendship between Mari and Vivi very genuine and precious. The relationship between children and parents is a highlight in this novel that I want to discuss with everyone.

RUNNING is a YA that packs a punch and I can't recommend this novel enough!
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It feels strange to read election year books during the pandemic; The authors obviously had no clue that COVID-19 was going to happen and rightly assumed that the biggest issues surrounding the election year would be vastly different. That said, I do think Running does something very unique in focusing on a Latina girl with a convervative politician father. We usually hear primarily from liberal families in YA novels focused on politics, but in reality not every teen with progressive views is coming from a family that shares them. I'm so glad this book exists for teens like Mari, who are still figuring out who they are and what they believe amidst their family's values and choices, and standing up for what they believe is right. It is especially powerful for this book to focus in on a young Latina women, a group which are often up against traditional, paternalistic Latino family structures that can be to their detriment. A powerful, timely read.
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Five stars all the way for this debut YA book about Mari, a 15-year-old Cuban American girl from Miami Florida, whose father is running for US president.  Its about family, finding your voice and growing up Latina with a healthy dose of current issues that are very familiar in other parts of the country.  I’m so glad authors are finding ways to connect teens other than romances. Natalie Sylvester knows how to appeal to young leaders and activists. One thing, these past 3.5 years have shown us is intelligent, well-spoken kids ready to take on leadership roles. A very timely book.
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I really enjoyed this politically based YA Contemporary. I think it really showed how being in a family going through the election process is effected. 

Mariana is stuck in the limelight when her father decides to run for president. She has to watch her every once & when she pushes back her parents don’t take her seriously. Over time she starts to realize her father is not the person she believed him to be & that they don’t see things the same way. 

I really liked Mariana and her strength to stand up for what she believed in. It is difficult to call out your own family but she was fearless and didn’t shy away from any possible consequences. 

I also liked reading a YA that focused on the issues and the main character without having to have a love interest. The friendships were important and navigating the family dynamics that come with such a high profile family really made this one! I’d definitely recommend it!
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Mari and her abuelo are easily my new favorite dynamic duo! I loved Mari the second I met her. Her voice was strong and unique from the beginning and it only grew from there. I was truly blown away by her. She has all the traits of a 15-year old girl: awkward, self-conscious, a little rebellious. But all of this was amplified after her father announced his run for president.

I am truly amazed that this is Sylvester’s debut YA novel. She perfectly captures the feeling of being a young adult and coming into your own political beliefs that happen to be at odds with your parents’ beliefs. She perfectly shows the innocence, angst, and awkwardness of being a teen without ever being cringey about it. I am grateful to have had the privilege of watching her find her voice and using it to stand up for herself, her beliefs, and her friends. She grew before my very eyes and I cannot overstate how incredible it was to watch her tell her dad that he broke his promises to his constituents, and to her. I felt the guilt her father forced on her and her deep disappointment in him, but I also felt so much pride in watching her use her voice.

Thank you to the author and the publisher for access to this e-ARC.
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Running by Natalia Sylvester is a wonderful YA novel about Mariana, a fifteen-year-old Cuban American whose life gets turned upside down as her father runs for president. Though she grew up with him being a political figure, a presidential campaign puts Mariana in the spotlight on an entirely different level and makes her life both at home and at school a lot more difficult than she'd like. 

She wants her father to succeed, but she's tired of being told what to do and wear and put on an act for the press. Especially when she's thrown into the center of a scandal herself. Eventually, Mariana takes a look at her father's policies and platform and realizes that not only do they not align with her own ideals, but they are also causing harm to those around her.
I loved absolutely everything about this book from the writing, to the story, Mariana's character, and the fact that parts of the book are based on real events. Mariana's disillusionment with her father was really well captured and a great exploration of growing up and seeing things as they are. 

I also love the message in the book about the importance of speaking up for what you believe in. 

Many thanks to Clarion Books and NetGalley for the advance copy.
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This inspiring, authentic, and gorgeously written novel about waking up and speaking out is perfectly timed for this election year. Many teens will relate to Mariana as she deals with the fact that she has different political views than her older family members and cheer her on as she finds her political voice.

When fifteen-year-old Cuban American Mariana Ruiz’s father runs for president, Mari starts to see him with new eyes. A novel about waking up and standing up, and what happens when you stop seeing your dad as your hero—while the whole country is watching.

In this thoughtful, authentic, humorous, and gorgeously written novel about privacy, waking up, and speaking up, Senator Anthony Ruiz is running for president. Throughout his successful political career he has always had his daughter’s vote, but a presidential campaign brings a whole new level of scrutiny to sheltered fifteen-year-old Mariana and the rest of her Cuban American family, from a 60 Minutes–style tour of their house to tabloids doctoring photos and inventing scandals. As tensions rise within the Ruiz family, Mari begins to learn about the details of her father’s political positions, and she realizes that her father is not the man she thought he was.

But how do you find your voice when everyone’s watching? When it means disagreeing with your father—publicly? What do you do when your dad stops being your hero? Will Mari get a chance to confront her father? If she does, will she have the courage to seize it?
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By looking at my Goodreads “pre”review of this book, you will see that I was super excited to read this from the moment I knew what it was about. I don’t even think the cover was announced before I smashed my mouse down to say To-Read. And now that I”ve read it, it was definitely worth all the excitement I had for it.

Mari’s dad, Senator Ruiz is running for President. Which means his family is also running. But Mari is beginning to hate everything that comes with it, like a live tour of her room and doctored photos. It gets worse as Mari learns the things her dad has on his campaign and she doesn’t like what she sees.

My only real gripe with this was Mari. I just didn’t see how she might have been part of the First Family and she had no idea what her dad’s campaign was about. I get it if you have no connection to anyone and you choose not to vote and things like that, for that to be your dad and there’s a chance you might move to the White House and you’re not even a little bit curious to look into what he says before then? Idk man, I just didn’t sit right with me. But as for everyone else, I loved her family. I wish we had gotten to see more of them. Everything seemed so surface level. I wanted to know more about them. And her friends were awesome. They weren’t afraid to ask the hard questions, even when they made people uncomfortable. And we all need people like that in our corner.

Everything else was awesome. Sylvester’s writing style. I was so invested in this one that I was really taking down some notes on who I might vote for in that situation. I would have liked to see more of the opposing team’s views instead of just at the very end, but I get why she might have done it that way.

I also liked this because of it’s readability! Another very important book that’s teachy and not preachy. The young ones are going to change the world, and after reading this, I hope they (and the adults reading this) really believe it. I also hope that those reading this will see all the things wrong and then apply it to actual life. This book shows the importance of having a voice, whether they are able to vote or not. I hope this encourages them to look more at what’s happening around them and be knowledgeable about some things. (Not enough to where they’re scared and stressed like me because man, I know that struggle. But enough to know what to expect.) I also learned that this featured a real bill. Being from Texas, I didn’t know about it. I looked more into it and I hope others do as well when they read it.

I had a few gripes, but for the most part, this book is going to be very powerful. I hope they realize it and apply what they learn to everyday life. I’m so glad this important book comes out right when these teens need it the most.
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This is the perfect book to read this year!  It's perfect for teens who are looking to find their voice, or those that may not feel the need but will after reading this one!  There are so many important discussions between the main characters and loved ones. I love that it brings up topics such as immigration, climate change, and political corruption, which really makes you think.  Thank you hmh teen and netgalley for my arc!
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Mariana doesn't have a dad, she has a politician dad and soon may have the President as a father. That's if he can win the primary in Florida. The family agreed they would support him but Mariana didn't know how much she would have to sacrifice to make that happen. Little does she know, not all her father's policies are "clean". Running is a unique look into a politician's child's life. How in front of the cameras they may look perfect and well put together but behind the scenes, the family can be falling apart. Sylvester does a stunning job of depicting the life of Mariana and her family. Representing the political family with authenticity and humility. Yet, there seemed to be a superficialness with how their stories were told. As if this book was just scratching the surface and needed to go a little deeper to give the characters depth. This was the case for Mariana's viewpoints,  school project, and father's political record. I wanted more detail and insight into the causes she was advocating for. Especially since the issues Sylvester incorporated into the book are so important. Environmental conservation/waste, LGBTQIA rights, immigration, and political funding are all important issues address but were only glossed over. This is an important book for young adults to read and know the importance of voicing their ideas and concerns. I had just hoped Sylvester had invested a little more time on the issues to give the plot a more equal distribution
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Running is a coming of age story about fifteen-year-old Cuban American Mari and her father’s presidential campaign. Mari spends most of her life unfamiliar with her father’s political stance and just going along with her family’s expectations of her as the daughter of a politician. At school she meets and is challenged by a classmate and starts to take a look at herself and her father and the issues he’s running on the those affecting them and their Miami community. Mari begins to find her voice and question her father’s beliefs.

I’m so happy to see a YA book that addresses politics, current issues, and how they can affect family relationships. Growing up in Miami as the daughter of Cuban immigrants, I realized that often times the older generations (like Mari’s parents and grandparents) can have a very different world view then their children and grandchildren. This book addresses how to reconcile these differences and stay true to yourself. At times it felt like Mari and her father were worlds apart and I loved seeing the way Mari handled these differences, found her voice, and confronted her father. I really enjoyed this book and recommend to any reader who enjoys YA and is looking for a timely book about politics and standing up for what you believe. This is also a book that I’d recommend for every middle and high school library.

Thank you to @netgalley and @hmhteen this e-galley.
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I was really impressed by Mari. She is a girl who believed her father and his promises her whole life until she couldn't. This book tackles the moment when we realize our parents aren't perfect only Mari has to realize that while under a microscope. I liked how the author handled not only the political talk but the family moments. I found myself proud of Mari and her character growth as the book came to a close.
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I absolutely adored this story for so many reasons. It stirred up a lot of emotions -- I was infuriated to the point of texting a friend at one point, but it also made me reminisce about what I was like in high school. I was not politically aware or active at all, and I wonder if I would have bee more so or less so if my father was running for president. I completely empathized with Mari and I thought her character arc was fabulous. It also made me hopeful as someone who has to live in the U.S. and as a parent -- the kids are alright.
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Mariana's father is a Senator from Florida who is running for President of the United States. She's always been supportive of his political career, but now that she's 15 and it's a presidential campaign, she's noticing that her father's politics and her own life are getting much more scrutiny than she's used to and comfortable with. For the campaign, they invaded her room with a camera and broadcast it to the world. Ugh. Mariana's grandparents were Cuban immigrants, so why did her father vote against immigration reform? Even more disturbing, he sponsored a bill that led Miami straight into a water contamination problem. Mariana doesn't know for sure how to deal with these revelations, the invasions of privacy, and the fact that even when she wants to protest to her father, he doesn't even listen to her. Amid all the pressure and whirlwind of activity in the campaign and her life, can Mariana find a voice that will be listened to and the courage to make it heard?

This YA book is a breath of fresh air, and I hope that it receives a wide audience. Far too few stories are concerned with civics, political engagement, and are concerned with policy issues that affect our lives, and this book addresses all of that with a political campaign as the backdrop. I enjoyed how it got into some of the finer details of the campaign trail, and how it observed the fact that what politicians say and portray isn't always what they vote for and support. Mariana is a great character and I loved seeing her journey throughout this story as she dealt with the reality that she'd have to oppose her powerful father, and coming to realize that she had power herself. Social and political engagement is so important, because the people we vote for affect our lives in tremendous ways. I felt like the Miami water contamination aspect was particularly important because it emphasizes the harm that local and state politicians can bring to our lives personally. Running by Natalia Sylvester receives my highest recommendation, both for its compelling story of youth empowerment and civic engagement, and for its relevance in our politically-charged society today.
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Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for an advance reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

This is such timely book, with both  the upcoming US elections and everything else that’s been going on recently in the US and around the world, 

When Mariana’s father decides to run for President of the US, Mariana finds herself challenged with supporting her father, or following her own conscience when it comes to some important topics - like the environment . 

I loved Mariana and watching her really come in to her own and stand up for herself and her beliefs. I think she is a reflection of the new generation of young adults we are seeing around the world, who have strong beliefs when it comes to diversity, inclusion , the environment and other important topics, and are not afraid to speak up and be heard - even when they have to disagree with their parents.

This is a own voiceS story. I appreciated how the author explored the different perspectives of the LatinX community in Florida,  

4..5 🌟
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Coming of age: I think many of us came to a point in our teens where our parents were no longer our greatest heroes. I know, for me, it was a matter of breaking away to rebuild a stronger relationship with them. This book intimately discusses this with a political spin. In Natalia’s debut YA novel, Mari just happens to go through all this while her father is running for president. She had seen signs but largely ignored them, maybe for the sake of the family or maybe because it’s more convenient to ignore hard truths. Mari must decide whether her beliefs are worth fighting for. This book adeptly discusses this topic and so much more. Natalia is a voice for this generation.
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"Sometimes I think if she were still here [...] maybe I wouldn't care as much. Maybe I wouldn't be marching. And then I feel bad because that means I'm exactly like the people Jackie says are part of the problem: the ones who are happy to do nothing about injustice until it affects them or someone they love."
Mariana Ruiz's father has been a politician her whole life, but the family's made efforts to keep the politician separate from the Papi. Now, he's running to be his party's nominee for President. As the stakes rise & Mari & her brother's involvement in his campaign grows, that barrier begins to breaks down. And Mari's growing awareness of Candidate Ruiz's politics & her desire to stand up for the place + people she loves will put her on a collision course with the father who's been on a pedestal.
What Sylvester does so well in RUNNING is capture the feeling of being part of a movement as it’s cresting, whether your personal awareness is fully realized yet or not. I started this awhile back and then set it down in favor of a few other books in a row. That turned out to be serendipitous, bc this book hit all the harder for being read mostly in a cool dark room as I rested up after taking to the streets with thousands of other citizens for D.C.'s BLM/Defund the Police protests. Sylvester nails the necessity of movements being inclusive enough that people can grow inside of them, as well as the uncertainty of working out an identity separate from your parents' in adolescence. RUNNING also contains glimpses of a really strong sense of place, with descriptions of Miami that convey its rich cultural heritage (& precarious ecological situation).
I did find it kind of wild that Mari was 15 & seemed to have sat on stage for an infinite number of her father's speeches, but still had only a vague sense of any of his policy positions. The plot is predicated on her cluelessness, which didn't always seem to toggle with she & her brother's level of involvement in his campaigns? But I could just be misremembering the degree to which 15 year olds pay attention to what's happening around them.
Thanks to @clarionbooks for the chance to review this dARC. Out July 14th!
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Politically active teens have an incredible array of books to connect with now! Running is a thoughtful exploration about finding your activist voice and discovering what you believe in. Mari's father is running for president and she admits that she's never looked into any of this platforms or positions. She's always assumed he's well-liked and will do the best he can for his constituents. She starts hearing buzz about some of his policies and finally looks into it for herself.  Mari has so much character development throughout the entire novel and she is authentically portrayed as a real teen who is grappling with change in her life. Natalia Sylvester provides a road map for teens who are starting to question authority and policies. Mari finds a personal connection to an issue and finds herself more and more involved as she learns more. She takes personal responsibility for making change in her family and her community.
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4.5 stars

What a great story! I enjoyed the development of the main character, in this case Mariana Ruiz. The story follows a girl trying to find herself while being the daughter of a prominent politician. Being in the public's eye, Mariana struggles with being her own person, not sticking to what is being provided for her as the daughter of a politician. The author created a character that was relatable, completely flawed and grew throughout the book. This story is great for young adults that are looking to find their voice and not shy away in fear of what others will say. The cultural aspect was spectacular, I feel like now a days we need more representation and this had the perfect amount to learn about Mariana's culture.
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RUNNING is a timely YA about Mariana, who is the daughter of presidential candidate, Antony Ruiz. This book is centered on a coming of age story of a girl with very different political beliefs than that of her father. Will she stand up or stay silent? Will she fit the mold of the model US president daughter that is being created for her? This book gives so much insight into family dynamics and how children and parents relationships' are either harmed or strengthened by differences in personalities and beliefs. Standing up for what you believe in is very hard as a child, even if you are right. This novel is about embracing your own beliefs separate from your parents, standing strong in your identity, and loving who you really are!
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