Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary YA romance newly published by B.R. Myers. GIRL ON THE RUN tells the story of Jesse Collins, a grief-stricken champion runner who can’t figure out the next step to take, now that her dad’s gone. It’s melancholy and funny and irreverent and harrowing, as Jesse takes on the role of summer camp counselor to four of the worst boys at Kamp Krystal Lake…and learns that she’s got to stop running from her guilt to get her feet back on the right path.
About the book:
When seventeen-year-old track and field star Jesse Collins’ dreams of a full scholarship are shattered after the sudden death of her dad, she leaves home to work as a summer camp counselor to escape the small town nosy stares…and her own secret guilt.
After a mix-up at registration, she’s put in charge of a boys’ cabin, and the head counselor, Kirk, predicts she won’t last the first two weeks. In the midst of fending off four twelve-year-old boys who are hell-bent on mortifying her and a growing attraction to Kirk, Jesse finds the inspiration to run again from an unlikely source. But getting her old life back isn’t that easy and soon Jesse will realize that a good pair of legs can take a girl far, but she’ll never outrun the truth.
4.5 Stars for this contemporary teen novel.
Jesse Collins is an exceptional runner who will not even don her track shoes since her father died three months ago. She was so devastated by his loss, in a terrifying and tragic incident for which Jesse feels guilty, that she’s sworn off running. This upsets her mother, grandma, and best friend Chloe something fierce, and they are all relieved that Jesse has decided to work as a summer camp counselor, thinking that the break will give her the chance to find herself again.
What Jesse finds at Kamp Krystal Lake is that she was mistaken as a male, on account of her name (she’s named for legendary Olympic runner Jesse Owens) and she’s bunked in with four 12 y/o boys. Spencer, the rich-kid troublemaker, identical twins Liam and Duff–who is deaf–and Scotty, who seems to be the good one, but definitely does some nasty pranking. While settling in, Jesse is besieged by pranks–like waking to an eel in her bed! and having her panties paraded in front of the camp.
No matter what, though, Jesse won’t allow herself to look weak in front of the head counselor: Kirk. She battles on, always looking for the bright side on the outside. On the inside, Jesse’s a big a mess as she was back home. Check that, she’s messier. She can’t let out her grief, fearing that the boys in her cabin will be waiting for any weakness to pounce. She’s not noticing how well she’s won over her campers, or even Kirk, until most of the way through the book.
Jesse is a pragmatic girl, and she knows she isn’t a cupcake counselor, pretty and petite with all the female <i>accoutrement</i>. That said, she’s sporty and fun, and a guy magnet for that reason. Also, she’s able to give insight to her hormonal cabin mates, all of whom want to learn how to better communicate with the girls at camp. Jesse’s a compassionate person, and her tenacity results in more than kisses and championships. She makes a difference for her campers, and for herself.
There is no returning to the Old Jesse, however, and that’s okay, because this new Jesse is a strong independent girl, well on her way to becoming a fierce woman her father would have been proud to know. There are some romantic tensions, and the possibility of a love triangle, but that’s settled out really quickly. I enjoyed the secondary characters very much, and they had plenty of time on the page to demonstrate their full selves, while helping Jesse to find her path. Jesse’s 17 and does date in the book. Expect fade-to-black loving that’s fully teen-appropriate. Also, expect Jesse to weather some harrowing and hilarious scenes like the champion she is. So many times I shook my head in amazement and sympathy. Poor Jesse!
The one complaint I had, besides Jesse being kinda clueless about her friendships, is that I had no idea where we were in the world. I am figuring Eastern Canada, but I REALLY would have liked to be told so at some point early in the story. I read a LOT of books that are set in “America” but are written in British English, and that irritates me as a reader. It’s not the case here, as there is no definite setting, but I would have settled into the book sooner if I had been told by the author where I was when I turned the first few pages.
About the Author:
Always in the mood for a good scare, B.R. Myers spent most of her teen years behind the covers of Lois Duncan, Ray Bradbury, and Stephen King. When she’s not putting her characters in awkward situations, she works as a registered nurse. A member of the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia, she lives in Halifax with her husband and two children—and there is still a stack of books on her bedside table.