ARC Review – On the Run by Tristan Bancks

23310747Title:  On the Run

Author: Tristan Bancks

Rating:  ★ 1/2

Synopsis: When a twelve-year-old boy’s parents discover millions of dollars deposited into their bank account, they take him and his sister on the lam in this fast-paced middle-grade adventure.

Ben has always wanted to be a cop, so he’s intrigued when police officers show up at the door, asking for his parents. Then his parents arrive after the police leave and rush him and his sister into the car, insisting they are going on a vacation. Ben’s a little skeptical—his family doesn’t go on vacations. After they lose the police in a high-speed car chase and end up in a remote cabin deep in the woods, Ben discovers his parents’ secret: millions of dollars were deposited into their bank account by accident, and they took the money and ran off. Ben isn’t sure what to think. Are his parents criminals? And because he ran off with them, is he a criminal, too?

Huge thank you to Raincoast Books for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

Considering I decided to read this during the month of October, I was hoping for a much more spooky middle grade experience. On the Run in a lot of ways was not what I was expecting, as no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t suspense my disbelief enough.

Or rather, at all.

Part of the issue for me is that Ben reads so much younger than he is, yet will do things that you question how old he really is. The writing fell super flat for me, so in suspenseful moments, I didn’t find myself having the kind of emotional connection I think the author wanted me to have. I didn’t like the characters, and the only character I did like (Olive) wasn’t always handled very well in my opinion. A lot of the mannerism and behaviors from the characters felt so all over the place and as it went on, I started to care less and less.

If I’m being honest, I’m weirdly impressed but confused at the idea of Ben and Olive running off with over a million dollars and being able to hide it safely. I say this considering they are on their own for parts of the novel and any time they met someone I kept wondering why no one was really questioning them ON being alone. I recognize this book is supposed to have survivalist elements, but I couldn’t suspend my disbelief to see how any of the situations Ben got himself into could really be plausible.

I adore middle grade, especially those with a tougher concept in mind, but this book didn’t work for me at all. I just found myself bored by the writing and confused as to how a lot of the plot really occurred. That being said, I will still likely recommend it to middle graders at the library I work at because I do think they would enjoy the adventure aspects present in this story. For me personally, however, it just didn’t work.

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