The Runaway By Claire Wong

Most teens find themselves thinking at one time or another about running away when they cannot handle relationships, emotions and anger in their lives. Rhiannon does more than think about it she does it. After a heated argument with her aunt/guardian, she leaves, carrying herself as fast as her legs will take her into the forest. As with most impulsive actions she gave little thought to her needs and was totally unprepared to survive. Deep in nature, she struggles to care for herself. The hardship and loneliness cause her to fantasize and create her own stories to escape the harshness of her environment. Her inspiration is the folklore told to her throughout her childhood by a kind woman named Maebh. The story is a great testimony of how our actions large or small affect others not just ourselves. Much like the ripple effect of a stone after it is thrown into a pond.
Her leaving stirs up many things in the little Welsh village. Far more than just concern for her return, but the stress unearths long buried secrets, bitterness, and past failures. The villagers are forced to face the “skeletons in the closet” from the past and deal with them. To their credit they want to heal and move on, not attempt to hide them again. I saw another lesson here. You can try to cover up past mistakes, denying they ever happened, but they are still there. Someday you will be forced to confront them and make a final decision to take responsibility to make things right.
The story allows the reader to view Rhiannon’s experiences and thoughts and those of the town’s residents. The traditional stories and myths were interesting and entertaining. I must admit some parts of the book were hard to get into or moved rather slowly. It was a different kind of read for me.
I received this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.