Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The Art of Running Away

Kleckner, Sabrina. The Art of Running Away
November 16th 2021 by Jolly Fish Press
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus
Maisie's family run Glenna's, an art studio that specializes in portraits which Maisie hopes to take over when she grows up. Her father does most of the art, while her organized, no nonsense mother takes care of the business aspects. Her older brother, Calum, ran away from home six years previously, and no one ever talks about him. Maisie's best friend, Alicia, is working with her on a poetry and art book, but seems to be pulling away now that she is dating Rowan and spending a lot of time with them. (Rowan is nonbinary.) When her parents suddenly tell her that she is spending the summer in Scotland with her aunt, Maisie is angry that her summer plans are ruined and that she doesn't have a say in the matter. Her Aunt Lisa is nice enough, and the ice cream shop she runs in Edinburgh is interesting, but just as she is set to settle in, Calum shows up in the middle of the night. He lives in London now, and has a hectic business career, but he wants to reconnect with Maisie. She wants to hear his story, especially when she finds out that Glenna's is losing their main funding, and the company for which her brother works is the one pulling out. She concocts a plan to run away and spend the summer in London with Calum, trying to save Glenna's. Her brother goes along with the plan, and soon she is ensconced in his small London flat with roommates, Benji and Rose. Because Calum is so busy at his work, he has Maisie tag along to Rose's college classes. When it turns out that Benji is dating Calum, and that the reason Calum left home had to do largely with their parents' treatment of his because he was gay, Maisie struggles with being an ally to her brother. Will she be able to save her family business, and the family itself?
Strengths: There's a lot of good LGBTQIA+ representation; in addition to Rowan and Calum, Alicia has two mothers. Maisie herself isn't sure where her attractions lie, and the discussion with Rose about how to be an effective ally is an important one. I'm a fan of any book that involves traveling to other countries, and Maisie does manage to enjoy her time away from home. The struggling art business, as well as Maisie's artistic aspirations, will appeal to many readers. 
Weaknesses: As an adult, I didn't like the fact that not only does Maisie run away, but she frequently ignores her parents' texts and acts in an unsafe manner. She never really has any consequences for this. 
What I really think: This looked like an upbeat story, but ended up being exceedingly fraught with many issues. It is available in prebind from Follett. 
 Ms. Yingling

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