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Running Out of Night

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  342 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Fans of Elijah of Buxton, Trouble Don't Last, and Stealing Freedom will be drawn to this tale of the incredible journey of an abused twelve-year-old white girl and an escaped slave girl who run away together and form a bond of friendship while seeking freedom.

Every day is a misery for a nameless, motherless Southern girl who is treated cruelly by her pa and brothers. Her l
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published November 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  342 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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Wandering Librarians
She's never had a name, and she's never known a friend. She takes care of her father's house and is treated brutally. Everything changes when Zenobia, a runaway slave, stumbles into her home. Zenobia names the girl Lark, and the two set out together, determined to find their freedom.

Such an interesting story. Very different from other middle grade of YA stories I've read about slaves running during the 1800s. First there is the aspect that Lark is white, but no less a slave than Zenobia is. She
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is the author's debut novel, and it was very well written. I loved the story of two girls from very different situations and how they join together to free each other from the slavery they are experiencing. The book jacket describes the story by saying, "Readers will readily connect with Lark and Zenobia in this suspense-filled journey that explores why being a slave is about more than the color of a person's skin." Parts of the story were hard to hear because it's hard to remember tha ...more
Ms. Yingling
Nov 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Okay, but didn't knock my socks off. I already have a lot of books set during this historical period that no one ever reads, so will pass.

And... Picked it up again in January 2016. Got halfway through before the Quaker use of "thee" as nominative made me remember I'd read it already. Sigh. And yes, Quakers apparently used the oblique "thee" as a subject instead of "thou".
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it

Girl’s Ma died birthin’ her and her Pa and brothers treat her like a slave. The only kindness she had in her life is now gone with the recent death of her grandfather. When a girl with skin the color of dark clover honey shows up on Girl’s doorstep looking for food, Girl is worried trouble will follow. Trouble does follow when Pa and the brothers return home with the news of a reward for a runaway slave AND they discover their food is missing. Zenobia has been separated from her family by the cr
Feb 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended to Sarah by: Joann Pluckebaum
I liked it but somehow walking away I feel like it was missing something. It was a decent story and I do like the language the author used. The Southern aspect could be hear just through the writing alone and the author also described things in a way that was unique. One line mentioned that someone felt "as heavy as the stones Pa used to drown the spring kittens." I was just dumbfounded by this description. It gives depth to the meaning of "heavy" and how the character was really feeling about t ...more
Story Circle Book Reviews
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
"Mama gave her last breath just as I took my first."

That simple sentence both opens Sharon Lovejoy's YA novel and defines the life of its main character, twelve-year-old, unnamed "Girl."

Although Pa and my big brothers never said they blamed me for her death, I always felt it achin inside me, like the rotten tooth our blacksmith plied out of my mouth. Why else would a pa and his boys let a little girl come into the world and live for twelve years without givin her a name?

My brothers and Pa always
A twelve-year-old white girl with no name--her family simply calls her Girl--befriends a runaway slave named Zenobia who names her Lark. Both girls set off in search of freedom since it's clear from her abusive treatment at the hands of her father and brothers that Lark, too, is enslaved in her own way. The girls must travel at night and hide and sleep by day since not only are Lark's family members in pursuit of her, but they and other slave catchers want to find Zenobia and collect the reward ...more
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
After a slow start (if only to get used to the 1860's Virginian country dialect it which the story is written), I became utterly absorbed in this story of escape, of abuse, of the horrors inflicted on slaves, as well as the hope of reaching the Promised Land through the Underground Railroad. There are some raw scenes that will sear themselves into the minds of young readers: hand it to those who have some background knowledge and prepare to hand them some tissues. ...more
Courtney Umlauf
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lark and Zenobia are two runaways trying to hold on to hope and find freedom. For Lark it's freedom from an abusive father, for Zenobia it's freedom from slavery. They become each other's family, a family that grows larger as they cross paths with other slaves on the run, and with Quaker friends who will help them in their escape.

3.5 for my own personal reaction to the story (I can't say I was ever engrossed), but rounded up to 4 stars because this book does quite a few things very well.

The sto
Valerie McEnroe
Lark is a poor white girl who is mistreated by her pa and brothers. When a runaway slave girl shows up on her porch, she makes the quick decision to hide her in the food cellar. Together the girls run to the woods, but Pa and the dogs are soon on their trail. Dangers await in the woods, but eventually the girls and a boy named Brightwell make it to a Quaker hideout. They are captured by a hateful man who aims to return Lark and the slaves to their owners for the reward money. Lark's quick thinki ...more
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This no name girl goes on an adventure running away from wasn't really a home in the first place.
The pore nameless girl is treated badly by her own family. Her dad never named her because when she was born her mom died and he decided that he didn't like her so much to not even name the girl. Now she is treated like a slave in her own house. When she meets a run away slave named Zenobia and helps her they become friends and run away for a better life.
Tracy Smith
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lark is a formerly nameless girl whose father and brothers use her basically as a house slave. When she meets up with runaway slave, Zenobia, she gains a friend, a name and a chance at a life of freedom. Very action-packed and heart wrenching - it seems as though there are too many set backs and narrow escapes, but I cannot imagine the hardship slaves endured to gain freedom! The folklore and superstitions at the beginning of each chapter are fascinating additions to the story.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story, interesting characters, never boring--I'm surprised no one ever thought about making this book into a movie. I'd recommend it to children, teens or adults. It's the kind of book that transcends the age barrier. Four stars. ...more
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it
3.75, it's a cute story ...more
Emma Owens
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Running out of night" is a really good book, I loved it a lot, but it wasn't the best book I've read before. ...more
 Jia ♥
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book! I hope there is a sequel!
Reagan Larson
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 5th grade and up
Great historical fiction novel. I really loved every character.
Marcus Whitson
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A thrilling tale of brokenness, love, racism and worldview, you will enter in the life of Girl as she as she learns what it means to have family in a broken society.
Brooke Nadzam
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Categories/Genres for this class fulfilled by this book: Middle Grades

Estimate of age level of interest: Grades 5-10

Estimate of reading level: Grade 5

Brief description:

This is the story of a young white girl who is abused by her father and brothers. Then, a runaway slave girl shows up on her doorstep and everything changes. The two girls decide they are going to runaway together, trying to find a place where they can be free.

Identify at least 2 characteristics of this genre and subgenre and dis
Mar 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Running Out of Night is a twist on the typical slave's-race-to-freedom story. The book is narrated from the first person point of view of a white girl from an abusive home which never even bothered to give her a name after her mother died in childbirth. Girl is twelve years old and, essentially, a slave and punching bag to her white trash father and two older brothers. When Zenobia stumbles across Girl's family cabin on her escape, Girl ends up going with the black runaway. While their relations ...more
Natalie {I'd So Rather Be Reading}
Reviewed by Ms. Leger of Leger's Ledger. Full review can be found HERE at I'd So Rather Be Reading.

I enjoyed reading Running out of Night. Lovejoy did a remarkable job researching this era in history and it is a fantastic first novel. I was impressed with the use of dialect during the set time period of 1858. The dialect was used in a way that was true to the south but not so broken that a student would not be able to understand it. There was little to no confusion as to what they meant in the
Hannah Fjeld
Estimate of age level of interest: 4-8
Estimate of reading level: F&P level V, grade level 6

Girl lives with her father and brothers, who treat her badly and never bothered to give her a name when her mother died as she was born. When Zenobia, an escaped slave, shows up at her door, things quickly change for Girl. The two girls run away together, heading north, and the story follows their adventures. It is told in first person (in a somewhat distracting dialect) by Girl, who is renamed Lark by Ze
April Johnson (Patton)
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-grade
Running Out of Night by Sharon Lovejoy follows Lark and Zenobia on their escape to freedom: Lark from an abusive family and Zenobia from slavery. An unusual aspect of the escape saga is that they never make it out of Virginia. Despite their traveling and hardships, they cover what seemed no more than a few miles from Lark's home. Their goal is to get connected to the Underground Railroad, but even with Zenobia's knowledge, the railroad isn't easy to find. When they finally find a safe house run ...more
The year is 1858 and as Girl was born, her mother left the world. She lived with her Pa and her brothers who choose to treat her harshly and relentless and when a Negra girl shows up in her yard, she realized that although she thought their two worlds were different, they were rather the same. With a bounty on her head, Zenobia is taken in by the compassionate Girl, who knows the consequences of her actions should her family find out. Speaking to her mother whose spirit she feels occupies the ro ...more
Dec 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beaten, starved, downtrodden and unnamed 12 year old "Girl" is given the name "Lark" finally by Zenobia, the runaway black slave girl who joins Lark in her attempt to flee her abusive Pa. The tale of budding friendship pushing beyond the boundaries of race could still make this a worthwhile read; as well as the open-ended finish which lacks in satisfying conclusion but could bring on some interesting discussions on "what do YOU think happened next?"

**Spoilers**This wasn't great. The voice of the
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: royal
Having lived for 12 years without a name after her mother died in childbirth, “Girl” has never experienced anything but hatred and disdain from her father and brothers. When runaway slave Zenobia shows up, “Girl” hides her in their cellar, and realizes that if Zenobia can get away, she can, too. On the run from her family as well as from a variety of slave catchers, “Girl” is re-named “Lark” by Zenobia and the two experience all sorts of trials and tribulations as they attempt to make it to the ...more
Apr 17, 2014 rated it liked it
In Running Out of Night, Lovejoy weaves an exciting and historically accurate story with good messages about friendship, family, and acceptance. The book, scheduled to be released in November, will be a perfect read for those from 4th to 6th grade who enjoy historical fiction and strong female leads (although this book isn't just for girls!). The book is a great choice for any teachers wanting to show their students more about the history of the underground railroad, slavery, and life in the 185 ...more
Nov 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Running Out of Night by Sharon Lovejoy follows Lark and Zenobia as they attempt to escape together, Lark from an abusive father and brothers and Zenobia from slavery. I have a mixed review of this book. I liked the perspective of a white girl at the time who probably judged and thought she had nothing in common with a slave girl together, so that they could find some common ground. I liked the mentions of Harriet Tubman and the underground railroad. I liked that reading this book might teach kid ...more
Lorin Cary
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Set in Virginia during the 1850s, this young adult novel tracks Lark, an abused white girl, and Zenobia, a runaway slave girl, as the two flee from their oppressive situations. Lovejoy, whose previous books are nonfiction, has plunged into fiction with gusto and skill. The characterization of both girls is top notch, the pacing and tension of the story are wonderuflly handled---all in all an excellent read. I liked how the historical context is just that, a context within which the story unfolds ...more
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, new-books
Virgina, 1858, two girls Lark and Zenobia are in trouble. Lark is running from her abusive father and brothers, and Zenobia is a slave running for her freedom. Together they set out on a terrifying journey with scent hounds and slave catchers nipping at their heels. They're scared, and much too young to face the harsh wooded lands and inhospitable people on their own. It's not good, and bad situations keep coming their way. Luck finally comes through inside a small cabin run by a kind, brave wom ...more
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Naturalist, author, and illustrator Sharon Lovejoy’s passion for nature led her to a lifetime of cultivating wonder for grown-ups and children. Her honors include the National Outdoor Book Award for Children’s Literature, 2010 Gold Award from National Parenting Publications, the key to the city of Indianapolis for her work with youth, numerous Garden Writer’s Association awards, and one of the Bes ...more

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