Running on Empty

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review

Twelve-year-old AJ lives within a stone’s throw of the London Stadium, where he saw his hero Usain Bolt win the 100 metres at London 2012.

AJ’s dream is to one day run there himself. However, he desperately needs new shoes to train in.

It’s not just his old trainers that are starting to fall apart at the seams. Grandad (who always helped the family manage money) has died and the bills are starting to mount up. How can AJ get them the support they need, without the social services thinking that he and his parents can’t cope?

AJ’s situation is described with powerful realism, and yet with the very lightest of touches. He is essentially a young carer, whose parents have learning difficulties, but there is never a sniff of a stereotype or call for pity. Durrant makes important points about avoiding assumptions with huge subtlety, sensitivity and humour.

Convincing, uplifting and immensely readable.

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