Cover Image: The Runaway's Diary

The Runaway's Diary

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Member Reviews

The story was interesting and engaging, no surprise from James Patterson there.. he knows how to create a mystery and build it up!
The illustrations didn't really work for me? They seemes a bit too.. "childish" but in a forced way, as in even a younger reader might find them not all that appealing.
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Emily Raymond is a longtime James Patterson collaborator, particularly on books meant for middle or high schoolers. The Runaway’s Diary is no different, except for it being a graphic novel. Conceptually, I loved this book. Why is it that Patterson writes a deeper, more philosophical and nuanced story in a graphic novel aimed at young teen girls than, say, an Alex Cross novel? No idea. My one concern is that, if you miss the twist, you miss the whole foundation of the story and could be left with some questions. Currently looking at the advance reviews on Goodreads and about half of them criticize elements of the book that make sense if only you read and understand the very final panel of the book.

Eleanor is a fifteen-year-old girl who runs away from home to find her sister in Seattle. All she has to go on is a couple of postcards that are months old, a phone number that rings but is never answered, and just enough money to take the bus to Seattle. Very quickly after stepping off the bus, Eleanor learns that finding her sister isn’t going to be the grand adventure she thought it would be.

Lost and alone, she takes refuge with a grumpy woman who gives her a place to stay in exchange for cleaning the house. She walks the streets of Seattle looking for a job and trying to make money while searching for her sister. Patterson and Raymond portray a very sanitized view of homelessness and poverty. Other than a creepy guy whose advances are easily thwarted, Eleanor never really encounters any real danger. 

She meets a group of homeless teens and befriends them as they teach her to survive on the streets. Multiple leads on her sister end up in failure, leaving Eleanor to contemplate life as a homeless teen in Seattle. But then, right at the end, there’s a big break and—spoilers!—her sister is found, happy and healthy, and Eleanor goes back to live with her parents. 

This easy ending has left some people with a lot of questions. Eleanor has a phone. Do her parents never call her? Is nobody looking for her? Her sister has a phone. Could she not have called Eleanor, even if she had a new number (which is why the old number never worked)? Isn’t the portrayal of homelessness rather simplistic? How does Eleanor’s busking by telling stories make any sense? There’s a very real concern that The Runaway’s Diary might glamorize running away as it wraps everything up quite neatly in the end with no real harm done. 

But read the title and read the last panel. The Runaway’s Diary. And the last page portrays Eleanor going home, using her real name for the first time “My name is Jane Lucia Mitchell. I live on a farm in Payette County, Idaho. I am an artist and a storyteller. And I am going home. Or maybe I never left.” Miss what that means and you miss the entire premise of the book. Why do some of the story’s decisions seem like plot holes written by a child? Because Eleanor—Jane—is the one writing the story. The story is told as if a fifteen-year-old is the one writing it. So of course the portrayal of homelessness is sanitized. Of course there’s a Cinderella ending that doesn’t make a lot of sense. The Runaway’s Diary is about a young girl processing her trauma through story.

Or is it only a story? Is Jane fantasizing about finding her runaway sister? Did she actually run away and she’s telling this story as a happy ending, making it up like she makes up stories while busking on the streets? What is truth? What is fiction? Why is the story being told? Patterson and Raymond leave all those questions unanswered. If you’re paying attention, it’s a clever turn that the duo hint at throughout the book. All the signs are there, if you’re paying attention. 

Imaginative, thought-provoking, and fun—and filled with excellent artwork by Valeria Wicker—The Runaway’s Diary is a surprisingly nuanced story about the power of storytelling.
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Thank you so much for allowing me to read this book in exchange for a review. I have to say that I was surprised over this book, but I really enjoyed my time. Overall, I highly recommend this book!! Thank you!
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This was a great change from the normal James Patterson books I read. I loved that it was a graphic novel and can reach those young adults that maybe don't usually pick up a book to read it, Very well written and enjoyed the dual writing of James Patters on and Emily Raymond. 

Eleanor is on a mission to find her sister that has run away to Seattle. Following in her sister's footsteps of being a run away, Eleanor has to find clues as to where her sister is and the only one she really starts out with is a postcard from her. Eleanor has to rely on the kindness of strangers to help her make it on the streets. 

Eleanor gets creative on ways to make money and help support herself while she is on her journey to find her sister as well. She ends up telling stories to make money, which was rather different for a way to make money, especially for a teen. Will Eleanor be able to find her sister, even though she may not want to be found? You will have to see how things end for Eleanor and her sister. Very well illustrated book that I think teens will enjoy! 

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All opinions are my own. Thanks to Netgalley, the authors and the publisher for an advanced copy of this book.
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I love books in diary form, but they also have to capture my attention and this book just did not deliver.

Slow pacing and too many details are two issues that I struggle with, and this book has both.
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I enjoyed the graphics in this novel, they were well done. The story itself seemed lacking. There wasn't much depth to it. I had a hard time understanding parts of it. Not a bad read but I felt there was so much more potential.
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First off thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for granting me a copy of this book in return for my honest review.    James Patterson is one of my favorites.  I love all of his children's books and was so excited to get the opportunity to read this one.  It is a graphic novel which children love.  I really want to give it high praise and five stars,but sadly it just did not live up to those standards. The book takes us through a beautiful city and we see amazing sites, but there just didn't seem to be any debth to the story. This book could have been so much more.  Why didn't her parents seem to be searching for her?   Why didn't we see the dangers that exist when a child is homeless and roaming the streets alone? The dangers runaways face were just not touched on. Sadly I can not recommend this one. I can only give it 3 stars.  Not one of Patterson's best. Could have been so much more.
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Eleanor runs away from home to Seattle looking for her 18 year old sister Sam who is also a ran away.  Her only leads are a couple of months old postcards of Seattle locations.  She relies on the kindness of others to help her stay safe on the streets and her own instincts.  Told as a graphic novel this book is nicely illustrated and Eleanor is cleaver in how she gets money by using her talent to tell stories.  But beyond that the book didn't make a lot of sense to me.  She has a phone but seemingly her parents never try and call her on it and she doesn't have a realistic plan to find her sister.  She does managed to visit some iconic places in Seattle.  Written for 9 and up it is an okay story but not one I would purchase for my elementary school library.  I think it is more appropriate for middle schoolers.  Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for a temporary eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Full review closer to publication date!

I'd like to thank the publisher, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Netgalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Eleanor runs away from home to find her older sister who also ran away from home. Through her, we learn how difficult life can be for a teenage runaway: relying on the kindness of strangers, begging (or in Eleanor's case telling stories) for money, finding a safe place to sleep. Eleanor won't give up on finding her sister, but it looks like her sister doesn't want to be found. Will she go home or go all in?
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