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Reviewed by Lisa McCombs for Readers' Favorite
In Running Away to Home: A Young Adult Novel by Reni Bumpas, I believe the title says it all. Adolescents have been on similar quests for generations and not all are fortunate enough to find their way. When Maggie makes the decision to flee from the emotional abuse of her father, the pay-off is actually worse. Living with her mother and step-father, Maggie experiences injustices far exceeding her father’s actions. While working hard to reinsert herself into the lives of old school acquaintances, Maggie is pleased to be accepted as an equal, to the point of embarrassment. But when she becomes the hot topic of the boys’ locker room, her societal inexperience plunges her into a darkness for which she has no solution.
Bumpas successfully incorporates scripture and positive reinforcement in the pages of Running Away to Home that do not “preach” to young readers, but provide an avenue for further study and a chance to draw personal opinions and faith decisions. Several times while reading this, I actually became uncomfortable with the content as I reflected on my own teenage years. I believe that Reni Bumpas gives us an accurate, honest image in which adults will reflect upon their past decisions and young readers will evaluate the complexities of their own choices in life. Although the author gets a bit wordy with dialogue, the end result of this book is one of spiritual inspiration. By concluding the story with a list of study questions, Bumpas makes it possible to incorporate this novel into a classroom curriculum.