A touching journey filled with suspense

2011-11-09 00:00

A LIBRARIAN in a children’s library is charmed by a very intelligent young 10-year-old boy who she feels is being unfairly treated by his parents, hard-core Christians who enrol him in a programme to re­programme his thinking when they suspect he may be gay.

Lucy Hull gets to know Ian Drake, and gets to like him. She helps him smuggle books that his parents disapprove of out of the library, and so their rebellious bond against the prissy Drakes is cemented.

When he runs away from home one night and seeks refuge in the library, Lucy finds herself co-conspirator in a kidnapping. The two hit the road and despite her best intentions she finds she cannot return him to his homophobic, fundamentalist parents. An elaborate plot of lies to cover their tracks begins, and a roadtrip that takes them across the United States is coloured with Russian ­history, Ian’s elusive grandmother, an irritating boyfriend and the vivid imagery of the Wizard of Oz.

Lucy also uncovers the secrets behind her father’s shady history in Russia.

Lucy’s paranoia about being arrested and convicted of kidnapping grows the further away they get, and this is not helped by the appearance of a mysterious man who seems to be both tailing them and avoiding them at the same time as they sneak in and out of motels, trying to stay one step ahead of the police and Ian’s parents. As Lucy tries to take charge of the situation, it becomes clear that Ian is the one directing their fate. Will they end their journey in a blaze of glory, or live happily ever after in disguise in Vermont, or will they be cuffed and shackled and marched back home? The suspense was most pleasing.

An entertaining and very sweet read.

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