Kelly's Reviews > Running Wide Open

Running Wide Open by Lisa Nowak
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Nov 22, 11

bookshelves: ya-fiction, read-in-2011

More like 2.75, but the voice won me over. Would have been a solid 3 if not for the unnecessary 1980s setting. I'm really over that trend, 2011 YA novels. Teens today don't relate, and it's not historical fiction. Stop, please, stop.

15-year-old Cody got in trouble with the law, and he's been sent to live with his uncle to get his act together. Except his uncle is weird and lives in a trailer and races stock cars. Then things take a wrong turn, and it's Cody who has to step up and take care of himself.

Nowak's novel had great voice and great lines throughout. Cody was realistic to me, though at times he could come off a little more intelligent than a 15-year-old trouble making guy should. But I think for a lot of guy readers, that might be the appeal. Also, he's a big reader and writer (a story line that didn't quite flesh out as well as it could have).

That said, it was REALLY LONG and unnecessarily so. I think it could have been cut by 70-100 pages and tightened up to be stronger. The middle drags, and Cody actually loses a lot of what's appealing about him in terms of his internal thought processes about this time, and it almost disappears completely in the end. What was so strong at the start fades, and while it's proof of his understanding of change in himself, it's still losing his voice, which shouldn't change that much.

I enjoyed the stock car racing more than I thought I would, though I found the Kasey-Race story line to be underdeveloped, particularly where it came to her running the shop and being a bit of a bimbo about it. She was a strong female character, one which Cody found himself surprisingly respectful of right from the start of the story, but in making her sort of an idiot when it came to paperwork, I felt she became a stereotype of everything he'd already believed in. As the only decent female in the book (because mom and grandma suck), it was disappointing to see that.
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Reading Progress

11/21/2011 page 50
15.0% "SO refreshing."
11/21/2011 page 120
36.0% "really digging the voice."
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