Natalia Sylvester, "Running"
Review of Running, by Natalia Sylvester
Book of the Month, November 2020
Written by Las Comadres Book Club member and DC Public Library staff member, Gabi K. H.
Fifteen year-old Mariana Ruiz's father is running for president, and she is not getting a break. Even though her father has been in the political spotlight for most of her life, there is a new level of public scrutiny over her family's life. Mari must maintain her academic career and social life, all while preparing for a televised tour of her home for the press.
Though at first bothered by an outspoken classmate, Jackie Velez, Mari finds unexpected kindness and friendship among student activists, and a surprising amount of values in common. Mari finds her private life in complete upheaval, and in the midst of running away from her duties as the daughter of a rising political figure, she seeks consolation from the people around her. Through this journey, she uncovers many painful truths about those closest to her, as well as the communities they create and inhabit.
Las Comadres read Running in November, a momentous political time. Interestingly, while some of our members stated that they thought immediately of Malia and Sasha and their relationship with their father, former President Barack Obama, I immediately thought of Kellyanne Conway and the tension that her work brought about her relationships with her spouse and children. Many factors shape our political beliefs, values, and inclinations, and several studies show that while parents certainly influence these, they are not the only signfiicant factors to consider.
It is natural for teens to rebel against their parents. Being a young adult also means exploring ones political, social, and economic surroundings and beliefs. Natalia Sylvester delivers a fun and quick read that encapsulates what it means to be a young adult on the journey of self-discovery. Her debut novel invites young readers to dip their toes into what it means to think critically and independently, while rethinking traditional definitions of family and community.