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Running on the Cracks (Oberon Modern Plays) by [Julia Donaldson]
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Running on the Cracks (Oberon Modern Plays) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 ratings

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Kindle $5.49
Kindle, October 19, 2016

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–9—Still reeling from the recent death of her parents in a plane crash, Leo, a 15-year-old girl of mixed Chinese and English descent, runs away from an unpleasant living situation and boards a train to Glasgow. Remaining incognito in the city proves to be difficult, but she eventually finds refuge with a kindhearted, mentally ill woman. After seeing Leo's picture in the paper, Finlay, a 13-year-old Goth paperboy, figures out who she is. They become friends as he learns of her circumstances and volunteers to help her locate the Chinese grandparents she's never known. Finding them is imperative, as Leo doesn't want to be forced back to her aunt's home, a dangerous environment with a leering Uncle John. Donaldson's novel, told from the shifting perspectives of Leo, Finlay, and Uncle John, is slow to start, but picks up as Leo's predator uncle appears on the scene to track her down. American readers will find bits of the dialect hard to understand, but the slowly building suspense, strong characterizations, and a narrative that includes information about the Chinese immigrant experience in Scotland and insight into the lives of the mentally ill make the book a worthwhile read.—Shawna Sherman, Hayward Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Running on the Cracks
Station Loo
This is the bit I've planned. I know what I've got to do, but it would help if my hands would stop shaking.
It would help if there was more space too. I should have gone into the disabled loo instead of the ladies. The cubicle is tiny; the gap under the door feels huge. What if anyone peers under it? Instead of seeing two feet plonked apart facing forward, they'll see a bulky school bag and various clothes going in and out of it.
First, off comes the brand-new, snooty blazer with the high school crest on it. Poor blazer--it'll never enter the high school now.
A door swings. Footsteps, coming toward me. Another door bangs in my ear. Someone is in the loo next to mine. I freeze with my tie half unknotted.
Don't be so paranoid! No one's looking for me yet.
I unbutton the white shirt and slip out of the black skirt.
An echoey announcement wafts through the air. It's for the Exeter train, not mine, but there's not much time left.
I rummage in the school bag. Beneath the empty filesand folders and the unused gym kit is my precious sketchbook. That's not what I'm looking for, though it's good to feel its familiar battered corners.
Here it is, the secret carrier bag. And inside it, the jumble-sale clothes.
I still think that jumble sale was a brainwave. A total disguise, and such a cheap one--only £3.50 altogether for the beige hooded anorak, the white T-shirt and red sweater, the definitely nondesigner jeans and trainers (how Caitlin and Flo would slag me off if they saw them!), and the pair of sunglasses.
Actually, I'm not so sure about the sunglasses anymore. Maybe they'll just draw attention to me. After all, the clothes aren't summery. In fact, they're too hot for this warm September day, but then Glasgow is bound to be colder than Bristol, and it'll be winter all too soon.
Now for the cleverest trick of all. Folded up inside the carrier bag is a flimsy nylon hold-all--another jumble-sale bargain. It cost all of 40p and is big enough to contain my school bag and all its contents. Now I won't have to leave the school bag in the station or risk having it spotted and identified on the train.
The hold-all even has a zip pocket for my purse. No need to check the contents of the purse, really, but I do: £39.60 and a ticket.
The wrong ticket.
That's all right, though; it's all part of the plan. Insteadof a ticket to Glasgow, I've bought a standard day single to Paddington. The ticket will be as unused as the school uniform, and it cost a lot more than the jumble-sale clothes, but it was worth it. Along with my note, it should put them off the scent for a while. "I'm going to see the Dali exhibition at the Tate Britain," I told the ticket clerk. He'll remember me now. That's the plan anyway.
The £39.60 is just enough to pay for my ticket on the Glasgow train if I have to, but I do hope I won't. I'm planning some more sneaky visits to the loo, timed to coincide with any ticket inspections.
I remember Mum's scorn for fare-dodgers. "Sorry, Mum, but this is different," I tell her. I don't really believe in heaven, but I still find myself talking to her--and to Dad too.
The transformation is complete, and the ladies is all mine again. Furtively--no, casually; I mustn't look furtive--I emerge and look at myself in the mirror.
The clothes and hold-all are nondescript, which is the effect I wanted. My face is unfortunately not nondescript at all. I look Chinese, like Dad, instead of English like Mum. (For some reason, thinking about Mum and Dad isn't hurting so much as usual. I suppose the excitement and nerves are covering up the hurt.) If my hair had been long, I could maybe have cut it, but it's short, black, and shiny. Hood up? Hood down? Sunglasses on? Off?
No time for dithering, as a crescendo of train wheelsand a floating announcement remind me: "The nine forty-five for Glasgow Central is now arriving at platform one. Calling at Cheltenham Spa, Birmingham New Street, Preston, Carlisle, and Motherwell. Platform one for the nine forty-five to Glasgow Central."
Suddenly I feel sick. It's the thought of all those stops and starts. It's going to be a long journey, and I don't know what's at the other end.
Copyright © 2009 by Julia Donaldson
--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B01M6YWURB
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Oberon Books; 1st edition (October 19, 2016)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ October 19, 2016
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 768 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 104 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 25 ratings

About the author

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Julia Donaldson is a top selling author of children’s books with over 65 million books sold worldwide. Among her greatest successes are Room on the Broom, The Gruffalo and Stick Man (all illustrated by Axel Scheffler), What the Ladybird Heard (illustrated by Lydia Monks) and The Giant Jumperee (illustrated by Helen Oxenbury). Julia’s books have been translated into over 72 languages.

Julia lives in the UK with her husband Malcolm and divides her time between Sussex in the South and Edinburgh in Scotland. From 2011 to 2013, she was the UK Children’s Laureate. Julia writes fiction, poems, plays and songs, as well as picture books. The TV films of The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom have both been nominated for Oscars.

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
25 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on January 28, 2018
Reviewed in the United States on October 2, 2009
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Reviewed in the United States on November 5, 2012

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S. Bradley
5.0 out of 5 stars enchanting but gritty
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 26, 2012
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5 people found this helpful
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4.0 out of 5 stars Really liked it !
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 19, 2013
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One person found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 8, 2015
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great teenage orientated novel from Julia Donaldson
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2015
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Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Running on the Cracks
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 10, 2009
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2 people found this helpful
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