Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Runaways by Joe Layburn

6th January 2011, Frances Lincoln 
144 pages, Paperback 
Review copy 

Children's, fantasy

Telepathy, homeless, life on the streets, begging, fear, family upset & love, the power of compassion & reassurance, turning over a new leaf, being yourself, 

Summary from Frances Lincoln 

Ordinary kids with extraordinary powers, the Street Heroes return to help children around the world. Fatima, Georgie, Hyun-mi and their friends fight evil in all its human forms. But whose is the mysterious telepathic voice threatening the heroes? And how can they exploit the world's reality TV addiction to make their message heard by people without their telepathic powers?
Street Heroes: Runaways is a fast-paced thriller that deals with important issues while keeping readers gripped from start to finish. 

Nayuleska's thoughts
Yay! I read this as soon as it dropped on the doormat. Just like the first one, Street Heroes, there is heaps of danger and suspense. Perhaps more so because I already know most of the characters, I know what their hopes and fears are, so from the first page I feel at home. I was scared about the mystery voice. That person goes further than taunting people, he leaves physical messages and scares people. In that way I think he's a coward. Fatima gets the biggest scare, and yet she finds it in her huge heart to accept the strange voice and find out about the person behind it. When the person is revealed his point of view is used in a chapter, which was very interesting. It gave a good idea what it's like for those children who didn't have Fatima to guide them as they came into her powers. 

One of the main theme of Runaways is children sleeping rough. Georgie had his own reasons for leaving home. I don't blame him for leaving - he was so scared of his father and people his father had once known.  Life living on the streets is tough. He only gets some food and water from his friends who see him occasionally. They risk angering their parents by sneaking him food. He encounters people who think he is dirt, and others who see that it's not necessarily his own fault. Hopefully this book shows that running away for no good reason is foolhardy and dangerous. The people who runaway from home have troubles that no child should have to go through. 

The other new character, Hyun-mi, is incredible. I knew nothing about North Korea, other than it was at war with South Korea and it isolated itself from the world. Through her story, the way her father gets punished for doing nothing wrong, the way she has to evade capture, I learnt more about the situation. I feel sad for all those oppressed there, and anywhere else in the world. To have every word monitored, to be forbidden from hearing or seeing anything that goes against the law of the land must be difficult to deal with. There are several points where Hyun-mi would probably have given up, if Fatima hadn't constantly been by her side. I honestly couldn't see how Hyun-mi could be saved, which made the ending very emotional for all concerned. She has suffered so much, as have other citizens in her country. I feel thankful for living somewhere that promotes freedom. I really felt for Hyun-mi, I was near to tears while reading her story. 

When they are all together, what the group of children do is very relevant to society today. They address an issue which some simply don't see is wrong. They aren't saying get rid of that particular thing altogether, but they are opening people's awareness to what can be done in this world. I'm hoping there might be more in the series! 

Final conclusion 
A brilliant sequel that thoroughly explores what happens after a huge life changing event. I hope it's not the end of the road for the hodgepodge group of friends. 

Make sure you've read the first in the series, Street Heroes, as well as the stand alone Ghostscape.

This book counts towards 


Cliona said...

Fab review! This book sounds thrilling.

Nayuleska said...

It is!