Book Reviews

Review: Running by Natalia Sylvester

Running is a story about realizing our parents aren’t perfect. That they not only make mistakes, but that these mistakes can have serious consequences. At the same time, Running is a book about using our voice. Keep reading this book review to see what I loved about Running!


In this thoughtful, authentic, humorous, and gorgeously written novel about privacy, waking up, and speaking up, Senator Anthony Ruiz is running for president. Throughout his successful political career he has always had his daughter’s vote, but a presidential campaign brings a whole new level of scrutiny to sheltered fifteen-year-old Mariana and the rest of her Cuban American family, from a 60 Minutes–style tour of their house to tabloids doctoring photos and inventing scandals. As tensions rise within the Ruiz family, Mari begins to learn about the details of her father’s political positions, and she realizes that her father is not the man she thought he was.

But how do you find your voice when everyone’s watching? When it means disagreeing with your father—publicly? What do you do when your dad stops being your hero? Will Mari get a chance to confront her father? If she does, will she have the courage to seize it?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: panic attacks

About holding our heroes accountable and finding our own voice, Running is a spectacular story about family and identity. Mariana’s narrative voice was fabulous – examining that feeling of when your parent lets you down and trying to figure out what we can do. How we, as individuals, can use our voice. I love that I can add Running to my list of political YAs. It’s fantastic that it talks about how students can use their voices to make change even if they cannot vote yet.

Running is a story focused around Mariana and the ways she has to fight to have her voice heard. The implicit racism around her, the sexism, and the ways teens voices are easily silenced. As readers, we can feel the ways Mariana feels invisible and the disconnection with her own family. The pressures of being in the spotlight and in the media as a reflection of our parent’s images. It’s a powerful story about finding our voice and realizing our own power.

Running is a story that will make waves and I cannot wait for more teens to get their hands on a copy. It’s complex, hopeful, and emotional all at once. Find Running on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite political YA? 2020 seems to the be the YEAR!

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