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While We Run

Review

While We Run

WHILE WE RUN plunges the reader into a future world that is incredibly different from the one we inhabit today. The story follows Abdi Taalib, a teenager from Djibouti who journeyed to Australia (the most prosperous place in the futuristic world) to pursue what he thought was a music scholarship. Upon arrival, it became clear to Abdi that his time wouldn’t be spent singing. Rather, he was meant to be the mouthpiece for the Australian Ark Project. This program involved the use of cryonics, that is, the freezing of bodies in the hope that they may be resuscitated in the future.  The only person to be successfully resuscitated so far is Tegan Oglietti, who died nearly 100 years ago but now works with Abdi to promote the Ark Project.



However, all is not as it appears to the Australians who pay to see Tegan and Abdi speak. Rather than being obedient, beautiful youths who are passionate about their work, they are in actuality extremely opposed to everything the Ark Project represents. Their handlers --- who are equipped with devices that are beyond excruciating --- keep Abdi and Tegan separate from each other so they can’t rebel, and force them to give speeches and go to events.  In the past, Tegan was Abdi’s coconspirator, but in the weeks leading up to the start of the story, she has been much more docile and obedient. This worries Abdi, who is used to Tegan’s fiery passion for rebelling against the corrupt authority.

I soon found myself entangled in and enthralled by the complex and somewhat terrifying world that Abdi lived in...WHILE WE RUN shows that teens do care about the world around them without being overly moralistic or preachy.

Abdi doesn’t know, however, that not everyone is fooled by the act he is putting on, or by the less-than-pure motives of the Ark Project. There is a underground plot to save Tegan and Abdi from their captors and to expose the horrifying nature of the cryonics project. Will this so-called “Save Tegan” movement succeed? Will Abdi escape from his slave-like condition and be reunited with Tegan? Will they succeed in overthrowing the entire social structure in Australia? Read WHILE WE RUN to discover the answers to these questions and more!



Despite having a challenging time understanding WHILE WE RUN initially, since I hadn’t read the preceding book in the series, I soon found myself entangled in and enthralled by the complex and somewhat terrifying world that Abdi lived in. One of the qualities about the book that floored me was the fact that the future as described in WHILE WE RUN seemed as if it was definitely feasible. Nothing about the state of the world in the future was too farfetched, allowing the reader to focus more on the story and characters and less on wondering whether the setting was even possible.



Additionally, the book had a refreshing element of seriousness and urgency that is not always present in young adult books.  Abdi, as the protagonist, is very concerned about the state of his world and the future of humanity. This struck me as fresh since teenagers are so often portrayed as being self-centered or absorbed in trivial things.WHILE WE RUN shows that teens do care about the world around them without being overly moralistic or preachy.



I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoyed books such as THE HUNGER GAMES, DIVERGENT or UGLIES, since it is also set in a somewhat dystopian future and features a strong, determined protagonist. However, any teen who enjoys an intriguing, serious (but not somber!) read should check out WHILE WE RUN.

Reviewed by Charlotte L., Teen Board Member on June 25, 2014

While We Run
by Karen Healey

  • Publication Date: May 27, 2014
  • Genres: Fiction, Young Adult 13+
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 031623382X
  • ISBN-13: 9780316233828