Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Book Review: Runaway Train

How proud of you of me for having a post every day? I'm out of control, peeps! OUT. OF. CONTROL. I have something for you every day and then maybe I'll talk about some health stuff coming up? Maybe. I'll try to get it together and do that because I feel like I've got a lot going on there. 

In the meantime, let's talk about this book, which was a hidden gem for me. 

Runaway Train - Lee Matthew Goldberg

Everything changed when the police officer knocked on the door to tell me – a 16-year-old – that my older sister Kristen had died of a brain aneurysm. Cue the start of my parents neglecting me and my whole life spiraling out of control.

I decided now was the perfect time to skip town. It’s the early 90’s, Kurt Cobain runs the grunge music scene and I just experienced some serious trauma. What’s a girl supposed to do? I didn’t want to end up like Kristen, so I grabbed my bucket list, turned up my mixtape of the greatest 90’s hits and fled L.A.. The goal was to end up at Kurt Cobain’s house in Seattle, but I never could have guessed what would happen along the way.

At turns heartbreaking, inspiring, and laugh out loud funny, Runaway Train is a wild journey of a bygone era and a portrait of a one-of-a-kind teenage girl trying to find herself again the only way she knows how.
Alright, I'll be honest and tell you I don't love this cover. I saw this and felt the whole "whomp, whomp" and was really worried I wouldn't like it. 

This will be the only time I admit that my initial cover opinion was wrong. I'm normally completely on point and this time.... obviously I'm low on sugar or sleep or something. That's what I'm going with. 

I swear to everything, the 90's was THE BEST time to be alive, for a lot of reasons, but the music. The music was amazing and it'll never be that good again. It just won't. I fell in love with this book as soon as I realized that chapters are named after songs. Every song listed is exactly what an MTV Alternative Nation (that was a great show, if you don't know what it is, you need to educate yourself because it was amazing) episode would be. In fact, I think I had tapes with every song listed in this book. The kicker? The title? Named after a song. 


We have the classic perfect daughter dies, leaving not so perfect daughter behind, parents are distraught and basically neglecting left over daughter so she peaces out to road trip to Kurt Cobain's house, as any teen in the 90s would do, and life changing shenanigans ensue. That's the book in a nut shell and if that alone doesn't make you want to read this. But if you're too young to enjoy the 90's and are calling me a boomer right now, the story itself is really good. I just could remember that teenage angst and I don't care who you are, you can relate to Nico. 

If you're a fan of strong character development, you will enjoy this. The writing felt a little clunky but honestly, it's written in the POV of Nico, and Nico is very much a teenager. If I had to list anything as a ding... I'd say the mental health tidbits. I think suicide is referred to as the easy way out and as a person who is diagnosed with suicidal ideation (I'm not planning a suicide, but I maybe wouldn't hustle out of the way of the bus, and I think about dying/being dead... I'm just not actively planning anything), that really bothered me. Don't sit here and tell me that a suicidal person should just try harder, if you know anything about actually BEING suicidal, you would know it has nothing to do with laziness or having to try harder. It's an illness. You wouldn't tell a diabetic to just make your pancreas work, God, are you even TRYING?! I mean, come on. 

So that got to me, but even with that? A solid 4 star read for me. I really loved the drive down memory lane with the musical references, and I loved the characters Nico meets along the way. Each one makes a contribution to Nico's growth throughout the book. I also loved that this is the first in a series to come, and I'm pretty excited about that because I'd definitely read it. 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for having me on this tour! 

This post contains affiliate links.

1 comment:

Laura's Reviews said...

This sounds like one I would enjoy - I love the 90's and character driven stories!