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Running On The Cracks Julia Donaldson

Running On The Cracks

Julia Donaldson

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 About the Book 

Leonoras parents, gifted musicians, died in a plane crash and Leo, their only child, is sent to live with her Aunt Sarah and Uncle John and their two girls, Flo and Caitlin. Sarah and Leos mother were never close sisters, and the cousins are mean to Leo. But it is Uncle John and his creepy bedside manner that has Leo fleeing Bristol on the day she was meant to start school for the first time, after years of home schooling.She has one chance left, one hope to run towards: her fathers parents. All she knows about them is that they had a Chinese restaurant in Glasgow, and that they never spoke to or saw her dad again after he met Leos mother. With a surname like Chan, however, and no other clues to go on, Leo knows it wont be easy to find them. And with her picture appearing in the paper and the Big Issue, she has to keep her head down.A friendly woman called Mary takes her in, as she takes in many strays, and a local boy, Finlay, helps Leo track down her grandparents. But as Mary stops taking her pills and gets more and more unstable, and with Uncle John close on Leos heels, its only a matter of time before her hopeful new existence unravels.This is an engaging story, simply told and well written. It would appeal more to the age group its marketed at than adult lovers of YA: it was a bit too simple for me, a bit lacking in depth. The characters existed only in the vaguest of ways prior to the beginning of the narrative - we get only glimpses of Leos parents, for instance, and know very little about them or Leo herself, for that matter. Same with all the other characters, with perhaps the exception of Kim, a relative Leo discovers with Finlays help, who gets to tell the story of how she came to live in Glasgow from China.The characters personalities come through in more subtle ways, but it still had the feeling of existing in a bit of a bubble. When you are genuinely interested and want to know more, this can be disappointing.The reference to running on the cracks is mentioned briefly, or rather implied, and if I understand it correctly it refers to an old story Leos dad told her of a dragon hiding in the cracks - a metaphor for Uncle John, I assume, but its a rather haphazard connection. To be honest, I was never really clear about the title.I did like learning a little bit about the Scottish Aberlour Child Care Trust, which helps runaway children and teens without forcing them back to the life they were escaping from. It came up at the very end but it sounds like a good system to have.