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4.17  ·  Rating details ·  435 ratings  ·  133 reviews
When fifteen-year-old Cuban American Mariana Ruiz’s father runs for president, Mari starts to see him with new eyes. A novel about waking up and standing up, and what happens when you stop seeing your dad as your hero—while the whole country is watching.

In this thoughtful, authentic, humorous, and gorgeously written novel about privacy, waking up, and speaking up, Senator
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 14th 2020 by Clarion Books
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  435 ratings  ·  133 reviews

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Natalia Sylvester
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Friends, today I'm thrilled to share the cover of my debut YA novel, RUNNING, with you!

Coming July 14 2020, it’s the story of 15-year-old Mari & how she begins to find her voice when her father runs for president. Artwork by Alex Cabal, design by Sharismar Rodriguez at HMH teen.


Add it to goodreads:


AND enter to win an advance copy on Instagram at
Claude's Bookzone
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Cuban-American Mariana is running. She is running to keep up with her rapidly changing life as her father's political career becomes front and centre for her family. Her life will now play out in the media for all to see. Every blemish will be noticed and every smile judged for it's sincerity. I thought this was a good exploration of how violated a person can feel when they become a public figure up for scrutiny. Finding out that your parent may not be the hero you always thought they were is al ...more
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
What a phenomenal and incisive book that asks some really fantastic questions about politics, privacy, and family, power dynamics -- and what it means to stand up for what you believe in, even at the detriment of your parent's career.

- Follows Mariana, a Cuban-American teen and daughter of a GOP presidential nominee. Growing up, Mariana has always separated her life from her father's political career, but when her privacy is invaded and she can no longer turn away from her father's political pos
Karen (idleutopia_reads)
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can vividly recall the first time I stood up for myself to my mother. It was an inconsequential thing, for most of my childhood my mother had dressed my sister and I in similar outfits. We were often confused as twins since there’s only a two-year difference between us. I can’t recall why this bothered me but it did, so one day I told my mother that I didn’t want to dress alike anymore, that I wanted my own style. I remember feeling scared that I would hurt her feelings but also the importance ...more
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars

CWs: Mild instanced of bullying, invasions of privacy, and some derogatory comments

This is an AMAZING story and the perfect gateway into Natalia Sylvester's work. Running tells the story of a young Cuban-American girl named Mariana who's trying to come into her own and find her own voice all while being watched by the entire nation as her father runs for President. It's such a thoughtful depiction of our current political landscape in Ameria, where the advent of social media, clickb
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This May 2020 release is one you're going to want to pop on your radar! While I love dipping my toes into YA reads, I rarely find one that isn't centered around a romance so really enjoyed the coming-of-age focus that was built around opinion and politics.
This is a brilliantly engaging story about young Mari finding her voice amidst the backdrop of her dad's presidential campaign. As his campaign amps up, the nature of his associations and his policy positions are brought to Mari's attention, a
Natasha Rulason
I cannot believe this is Sylvester's YA debut novel. Just. Wow. A phenomenally well-written book. This will absolutely be one of my top books of 2020.
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
15-year-old Mariana's father is running for president in the United States, and she's just starting to realise that maybe she doesn't agree with his positions and policies. They're a Cuban American family living in Miami, and her father is the son of immigrants, but he has voted against immigration reform. And he was the state senator who sponsored the bill that's responsible for a water contamination crisis that Miami is facing. That's just a few of the examples showing his stances that horrifi ...more
Casey the Reader
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, ya
Thanks to HMH Teen for the free advance copy of this book.

Mariana's father has been a politician her whole life, something she's mostly been able to ignore, just posing for photo ops here and there. But now that he's running for president, all of her privacy is gone and her parents feel like they're worlds away. Plus, Mari is beginning to uncover exactly what her father's policy positions are, and she does not agree with any of them.

RUNNING is a story about finding your voice when the whole wo
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book follows the main character, Mariana, who is a 15 year old Cuban American whose father is running for President. Throughout this book Mari starts to develop her own thoughts and opinions, and she realises that her father's opinions are in direct contrast to her own. She rejects her role as a political prop in her father's campaign and learns what it truly means to think for herself.
What I Liked:
Politics. I think this book did a fantastic job discussing politics and how severely lives ca
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
hands down, best cover.
Fabulous Book Fiend
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Oh this book is so much a coming of age story about identity, family and heart all dressed up in one man’s campaign for president. I loved it. I love the fact that politics has become something we can talk about in Young adult fiction. I felt like this writer assumed I had prior knowledge of the electoral system and the political playground as a whole and I love it when I feel like an author doesn’t have to talk down to me. More politics in fiction please!

Mari was a great character to spend this
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

Fifteen-year-old Mariana Ruiz isn’t happy her father is running for president, but she’s used to life as a politician’s daughter. The more she learns about his policies, especially support from a wealthy person polluting the waters the more Mari realizes her dad isn’t the hero she thought.

The Ruiz’s, Cuban Americans, have a paternalistic family structure though readers don’t know if that’s cultural or that Papi is a selfish, controlling jerk or possibly a little of both. For Mari, I gu
Dec 21, 2019 marked it as to-read
holy fuck this sounds SO GOOD why did no one tell me this book existed????????????????
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly powerful.
Candace Hernandez
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mari’s father is a Latinx Senator running for president and it’s brought to Mari’s attention that her father’s political positions aren’t what she thought they were. With everyone watching, she begins to question her own beliefs and has to grapple with standing behind her father or standing up to him.⁣

The heroine in this story is everything I hope for in a book. Mari has her faults, which made her coming of age story feel so incredibly real - and that’s exactly why I loved her so much. At a tim
Elena L.
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
RUNNING follows the life of young Mari during her father's presidential campaign. During this campaign, her views don't align with his father's political views and she also finds out some truths behind his campaign.

This YA debut is utterly authentic and thoughtful! In the beginning, I didn't agree with some of Mari's attitudes/behaviors and found her a bit reckless, however seeing her growth throughout the story I soon began to root for her. This book shows us the importance of speaking up your
Erin (roostercalls)
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads
"Sometimes I think if she were still here [...] maybe I wouldn't care as much. Maybe I wouldn't be marching. And then I feel bad because that means I'm exactly like the people Jackie says are part of the problem: the ones who are happy to do nothing about injustice until it affects them or someone they love."
Mariana Ruiz's father has been a politician her whole life, but the family's made efforts to keep the politician separate from the Papi. Now, he's running to be his party's nominee for Pres
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of HMH Teen from Yallfest 2019. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book. 

I was craving a contemporary read as spring (and this staying at home action) demanded that I pick up one. While this wasn't the fluffy one that I thought I was going to get, but it was still a great read. 

📌 plot

A political contemporary
Sachi Argabright
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
RUNNING by Natalia Sylvester follows a Cuban American high school sophomore named Mari who’s father is running for president. While they don’t talk politics too much at home, Mari is proud that her father works hard to serve the people of Florida. Until she starts to learn what he really stands for. This novel illustrates the importance of understanding civil issues, privilege, and standing up for what you believe in.

Natalia Sylvester does it again! This book was so compelling that I finished it
Adriana Martinez Figueroa
What an excellent book! A great example of how to write a character that’s unlearning things and has been in a position of power yet ignoring how much privilege she has.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had the privilege of reading this book back in January and y’all I devoured it from cover to cover in one sitting. This is Natalia Sylvester’s young adult debut and she doesn’t disappoint to deliver a story that is remarkable. RUNNING follows Mariana who is stuck in the middle of her father’s campaign for president. There is no doubt that she loves her father to death. However, when she finds out the truth behind his campaign and his political views, she now has to grapple with the decision of ...more
Mari doesn't mean to start a revolution. Especially with her father running for President. But she knows how important it is to stand up for what you believe, and the fact her best friend is being impacted by water pollution created by a local real estate developer's new project means she knows she needs to act now. Will it impact her father? Especially as he has a relationship with that developer and isn't known for his environmental policies? Yes, but she hopes it'll help him do the right thin ...more
The Clever Reader
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this politically based YA Contemporary. I think it really showed how being in a family going through the election process is effected.

Mariana is stuck in the limelight when her father decides to run for president. She has to watch her every once & when she pushes back her parents don’t take her seriously. Over time she starts to realize her father is not the person she believed him to be & that they don’t see things the same way.

I really liked Mariana and her strength to stand
Gisselle Diaz (gissellereads)
I don’t read a lot of YA but I absolutely adored this book! This is a coming of age story centered around having an opinion and politics. It is a very timely depiction of our current political climate in America and the role social media and journalism play in elections. It is an empowering and powerful story about having a voice and realizing that not having a vote is not equivalent to being helpless.

This is a book I wish I read when I was in high school. The main character Mari is amazing and
Francesca Flores
Aug 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! It delved deep into the character's growth of her stance on activism, using her voice, and questioning the values of people closest to her. It was a very engrossing read, as well, and I never wanted to put it down. Mari's voice leaps off the page and will captivate many, many readers.
Sarah Perchikoff
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is perfection. I loved Mariana and her journey to the truth. The protests made a jolt of electricity and joy shoot through me. I wanted to punch her dad but that's nothing new lol I never like characters who try to control others. But Mariana and Zoe and Vivi and Jackie and Chrissy and Gloria were all SO AMAZING!
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Book #39: Running by Natalia Sylvester. This YA novel is about Mariana, a teenager whose father is running for U.S. president. What we watch, as readers, is Mariana realizing she doesn't agree with her father on some issues and doesn't like how her Cuban-American family, and the campaign staff, are forcing her to stay on the sidelines and act like she agrees with her dad on everything.
So while the title can refer to her dad running for office it can also be referring to Mariana running as she ga
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
This was pretty powerful, and is a book I wish I'd had when I was the main character Mari's age. Give it to a teen in your life! Plus, I'm really glad it didn't have a romance plotline. The friendships and the family stuff were more than enough!
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Born in Lima, Peru, Natalia Sylvester came to the US at age four and grew up in Florida and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

She received a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Miami and now lives in Texas. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Bustle, Catapult, Electric Literature, Latina magazine, McSweeney's Publishing, and the Austin American-Statesman.

Natalia’s first novel, CHA

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