Cover Image: Runaway Train

Runaway Train

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Actual rating:: 3.5 out of 5


Tw: death, suicide, alcohol, drugs, sex, mental illness


Runaway Train follows Nico as she deals with life and grief after suddenly losing her sister. She goes on a road trip, bringing her bucket list and a mixtape she made for her sister with her idol, Kurt Cobain’s house as her destination. A book filled with emotions and dealing with those emotions with music.

Took me a while to read this book because it also took me a while before it sucked me in. I was struggling to read it because I couldn’t connect with the main character and the decisions made by all the characters were all so questionable and I sometimes couldn’t push myself to read them. But I got through it and when I got to the point where everything was crashing together and falling apart, I started to be completely interested with the book.

Because of how the book and I started, I didn’t really expect to end up liking anything about it, but I bounced back to having good expectations because the book finally started giving me something. When Nico finally started to actually face her issues and discuss them, that’s when I felt attached to her. At first she just sounded like a whiny teenager but as time went by I started to understand and see from her point of view just as she started to open up and understand herself as well. 

I absolutely loved certain parts like whenever she does something to check off one of the things in her bucket list (though some of the things she did, I definitely do not support). The way the scene during her first time singing in front of an actual audience was written was amazing! I felt it in my heart and the rest of the book after that was really great. I’ll definitely check out the sequel because DUHHHHHH EVAN?? I need more of him.
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Nico is sassy, fun and honest. Her voice, as it it a first person person narrative, is angry, upset, and drowning. She finds solace in spiralling out of control with drugs and alcohol. 
But to pull herself out if that, she is on a quest to find herself and her identity, fighting her parents' neglect. 
Her arc was beautifully done in a way that it pays tribute to the last events that shaped her, and as she gains a sense of self. 

There are also many other interesting characters that we meet along the way. 
This novel was truly a delight to read and I can't wait to read more from this author.
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If I were 13 and back in my I-am-not-like-other-girls phase, I would probably like this book, because the protagonist was the definition of not like other girls. Some parts of the story were also so unrealistic: like her parents just letting her go live with her best friend's mom without actually asking the latter if it was okay. The writing was cringy and it read like a badly written fanfic. I am not a fan of male authors writing teenage female protagonists, because oftentimes they write laughable stuff, but here it felt like the author watched a later episode of Riverdale and decided that that is in fact how teenagers talk. No, we do not call each other "bitch" every other sentence and we most certainly do not punch each other in the boobs.
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I usually love any retro 90s stories and this one was a pretty good one. There were times when I felt like Nico was a little too whiney I enjoyed following her on her journey to complete her bucket list. This one brought back some memories of high-school which I thoroughly enjoyed. I absolutely loved the music references and how each chapter was titled after a song. I'm so glad that Nico found herself and ended up happy and healthy. It shows that even when you think there's no where to go other than rock bottom that as long as you don't give up things can get better.



Go Into This One Knowing: drug use, suicide.
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The premise of Runaway Train sounded so good, I was expecting this to be at least a 4 star read, however I found it just wasn’t for me. I tried and failed to connect to the main character Nico,     which in turn made the book harder to get through because I just didn’t care about her. I did really enjoy the 90’s references though. 
I can see why a lot of people enjoy the story but sadly that wasn’t the case for me. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. 

DNF
TW: Abortion, alcohol, drugs, fatphobia, S.A, Self harm (mentions), death, underage drinking and drugs, no consent. 

Runaway train follows Nico's journey after the death of her sister Kristen, She makes a bucket list to check off along her trip.

I got up to 40% before I decided I couldn't keep reading. The premise made me think it was similar to "Love letters to the dead",  both lost MCs had lost their sister, looked for a way to cope, liked Kurt Cobain, etc. Well, I didn't like this book.
I felt really uncomfortable about how the sex was handeled, a grown up man writing about a teenage girl wanting to have sex with each and every guy who crosses her eyesight was weird.. 
I have nothing good to say about this book
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This just wasn`t for me. I had a hard time connecting with Nico through the pages. I understand she was mad and all, But running away like that, just felt wrong. She was understandably mad, but it felt like that was almost all she was mad and sad. The parents were just ghosts and didn`t take care of her like they should have. Plus the fact that Nico`s mother got angry with her, when she was the one who had f-ed up..ugh. Sadly not for me.
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Runaway Train is at times a heartwretching story and at other times, a heartwarming story. Not the normal kind of novel, for me, but well worth the read. Nico has recently lost her sister to an unexpected death. Things with her parents aren't going well either. So, she decides to run away, using her bucket list as her inspiration. She travels the west coast, coming across some amazing and some not so amazing people. Nico also experiences some amazing  firsts. If you're a fan of coming of age novels and/or 90s grunge music, you're sure to enjoy this story.
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“Runaway Train” is emotional, moving, adventurous, and uplifting. We all go through the phase where we lose someone close to us. If we don’t get the outlet to release these emotions, they bottle up and hurt in the long run. The author beautifully shows how Nicole’s life becomes a runaway train about to collide unless she takes control and makes changes.

Firstly, I loved the way the author paced the story. Nico’s adventure got me glued to the story, and I had to find out what happened to her. It was interesting to see the various situations and people she came across as she tries to check off the items in her bucket list. I also adored Winter and Jeremy and even Aunt Carly.

Also, let’s not forget all the pop-culture references. Although I was never into the grunge scene like Nico, I loved all the musical and pop-culture references the author makes of the early 90s. I also adored the 90210 references, as it is one of my favorite shows. The author did a fantastic job of making me feel like I was in the 90s era as Nico experiences the various events. One scene that particularly stood out for me was how the author brought Courtney Love’s speech at the vigil to life.

However, there were certain times when I was not fond of Nico and didn’t appreciate how she treated those around her, particularly when she lashed out at Stephen and Evan. Although I understand her reasons for behaving this way, I wished she saw things from their perspective.

Apart from that, I loved reading this story. Overall, if you are looking for an emotional, adventurous, coming of age, YA novel that talks about life, I recommend “Runaway Train.”
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Nico is about to crash.  Her sister died not long ago, her parents are a train wreck themselves and her friends are just as messed up if not more than Nico.

She ends up making a bucket list and going on a journey encouraged by her two best friends.  I loved how she felt her sister with her the entire time.

It is a well written coming of age story.  I loved all the nineties references, especially the music.
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Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. 

TW: death, underage drinking, underage smoking, doing drugs, mentions of self harm, some grief, sexual assault, fat phobia, no consent, abortion, and suicide. 

Why? Just why?

I expected to rate this book around 4 stars but it was a huge disappointment. 

Pros: None. 

Cons: The main character, Nico, was horrible. I couldn’t connect to her at all and she felt like a shallow character to me. Just like the rest of the characters. There was absolutely nothing interesting about them and I was either bored or annoyed while reading. 

The events of the book were boring. There was nothing that kept me interesting and I wanted to DNF the book the entire time, but I kept reading just so I can review it. 

This book might be nice to other people but for me it was dissatisfying.
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this book is so sensational. i love nico so, so much-- she's such a character.. she has an amazing personality, her sense of humor is immaculate, her sassiness remains unparalleled and she's so brutal and honest... to a fault. this book captures the "live while we're young" "smells like teen spirit" type of vibe. a perfect example of teenage angst, runaway train does not care about the readers emotions at all. it's a lightning fast book with traces of dark humor and sarcasm all over but it's smoothly laced and not overdone to the point where it'd be plain edgy;- this book is such a classic, you shouldn't be sleeping on this at all. i'd also like to thank nico for introducing me to grunge;- i finished this book yesterday morning and i haven't been able to stop listening to green day and nirvana!
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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with ARC of Runaway Train in return for an honest review!


Wow, I am in love with this gorgeous book. It was so hard-hitting and emotional. This is the kind of book every teenager needs in their life.
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2/5

It was just... can’t describe it but the best words are probably it just wasn’t good. It wasn’t horrible and the premises sounded interesting but that’s all there is to it.

Nico, after the death of her sister, runs away and tries to check off her bucket list while dealing with her grief and meeting new people on a journey of self discovery accompanied by music of the 90s.

Nico, the mc, was just unlikeable. Theres a difference between lashing out bc you just lost your sister and jsut straight up being a shit person (making a weird comment jsut because someone wants to save themselves for marriage?). Speaking of that, imo it had a lot of discussion of sex, drugs and alcohol, cussing & suicide, a little too much to be really young adult. Honestly this is suitable for 16+.

Another issue i had was the development of the mc, who has a passion for singing but is afraid to sing in front of people, something that hinders her from pursuing this. Getting convinced on her road trip to sing in a local cafe it was like bam magical voice. Everyone was blown away by how perfect her voice is and that’s it. Her fear of singing in public is gone after that and she never struggles again because her voice is so perfect? just doesn’t seem realistic in a book that tries very hard to portray struggles in a realistic way.

The characters were just meh, there wasn’t much to them they were flat and that’s it. The friendship between the mc and her supposedly two closest friends was horrible, they didn’t even seem to really care for each other unless they’re intoxicated.

The writing was okay, even thought i struggled to really get into the book. I didn’t laugh or cry but it could’ve been worse.

Overall it was just underwhelming. I wouldn’t recommend it to really anyone unless you’re looking for a quick average read that you might forget in a week
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Well, the author was truly able to capture just how annoying teenagers can be.  I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't get into it.  While I did appreciate the music references and some of the emotional turmoil that she went through, I feel like some of the actions of the main character were just too over the top sometimes.   Not for me, but others seem to like it, so I'd still recommend.
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This was a very charming story about finding yourself and dealing with overwhelming grief. The book begins with the death of Nico's sister, Kristen, who had a brain aneurysm. Grief and anger consume Nico and she acts out in typical teenage ways: staying out late, drinking, being rebellious, but none of it is working or helping her. A friend makes an off hand comment that she should run away in order to get away from her parent's neglect and the shadow of her sister's death, and Nico decides to do it.

Nico's journey is heartbreaking and painful, but all those challenges eventually help her understand herself better and find her place in the world. Her story shows that there is no one way to deal with grief, everyone reacts differently and gets through it differently.

I really enjoyed all the 90s references in this book, especially the music. 90s grunge has always been one of my favorite genres and I loved how it was such a vital part of the story. It was also a delight seeing how the table of contents was structured like a record, with a Side A and Side B and songs as the titles of chapters.

There were a few things I wasn't a big fan of... Nico's voice throughout the book didn't really seem all that consistent and it was hard to believe she was a teenage girls sometimes. The "teen speak" was a bit hard to handle sometimes, I really don't think teens use the word "like" THAT much. Also, the heavy presence of sex was a little uncomfortable for me since I am an adult reading about a teenager, and I feel like it wasn't really necessary to include.

All in all, Nico's journey through loss and self-discovery was well done, even though she was presented as a very stereotypical 16 year old girl.
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A very warming book about grief in Runaway Train by Lee Matthew Goldberg. While not for me, it was a good read.
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I think I am not the target audience for this book (I am a middle-aged woman with a son older than the main character, Nico).  However, I really enjoyed the book! Nico reminded me of a 1990''s version of Dorothy searching for Oz,, but in this case, the wizard may be Kurt Cobain.   Similar to Dorothy, she meets a variety of characters with their own unique stories and motivations and along the way help put her on a path to heal and find out all can be right in the world even when there is tremendous pain and loss.  In the end, there is no place as home - home can be wherever we find ourselves, surrounded by love and forgiveness of self.  

The book is structured like a 1990's playlist and it brought back my own feelings and memories of these songs.  These feelings helped me empathize with Nico.  I at first wanted the book to end the chapter before the "bonus track" because it felt like a beautiful place to pause, but after I reluctantly read on, I did end up liking the ending.

I highly recommend this book and realized it will be a part of a series - I can't wait to read the next one!
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A story that shows us that there is no single right way to grieve. Some people require a solo road trip full of new experiences and the backdrop of a playlist containing songs from bands like Nirvana. Though I didn't like many of Nico's decisions and how she treated some people, I appreciated how she, after all of her adventures and realizations, ultimately arrived at her destination. I don't recognize any of the songs mentioned but I'm sure those who do will love the nostalgia this book brings.
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Runaway train by Lee mathew Goldberg


TW: suicide, death, abortion, sex , drugs , alcohol and smoking .
We follow our main character Nico who has lost her sister and is afraid that she may die too . She makes a bucket list and goes on this road trip to rediscover herself .
On this trip dhe meets various people, each play a huge role in shaping her new character.

Liked - The 90s teen rebellion and angst personality was perfectly represented .
Happy ending wasn't cliche and seemed realistic .
Thr grunge music theme and how much knowledge I obtained fron this book about the 90s grunge music. As a fan of Nirvana , this book was really entertaining to me .

Disliked - 1)suicide is the easy way out and this was said about Nirvana's lead singer and really respect Kurt Cobain and this was a personal attack to me .
2) Cortney reading Kurt's suicide note to the public was just such a mess , I didn't grasp anything abd although it had the potential it just didn't evoke any emotions.
3) Winter and Jeremy didn't seem like real friends of Nico , they were so egoistic and jealous and they never truly cared about each other except for when they were high.
4)CHEATING parents troup , I'm tired of this boring troup , I've seen it enough and I'm just bored of it 
5)Nico never says the word lesbian like it's a forbidden word and she's always like " do your. ....?". This is just straight up homophobic. ( Yes she has a gay bestfriend but that doesn't change it )
6) Thr BIGGEST PROBLEM in this book was CONSENT , nothing Nico does sexually was consented in this book. She goes to making out with Jeremy whose gay ,even though he kept pulling away. She kisses Sam , who doesn't want to kiss anyone before he is married . This wrong idea of consent is a huge problem according to me. This idea is what contributes largely to the huge number of sexual assault cases . I know that in most YA books they're not like "can I kiss you ?" But they give signs and that makes it alright according to me.
I can't believe just five hours ago I would have given this book 4 stars .
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