Thirteen-year-old Sunny Skyland feels all alone in the world, desperately clinging to the few memories she has left of her loving family. But when her mom and grandmother died in a car accident, she and her twin sister, Starr, were split up, and Sunny hasn’t seen or heard from Starr ever since.
Sunny’s life hasn’t held much love since she lost her family. One distant relative even abandoned her in an empty apartment. Following that, she became part of the system, bouncing from one foster home to another. Although the last two places were so bad that Sunny decided to run away, her current living arrangements are a vast improvement. She has been placed with a single woman named Rita, who seems decent enough except for her enthusiasm for healthy food. There’s no junk food of any kind allowed in the entire house, causing a problem for the Twinkie-addicted Sunny. Despite that downside, Sunny can’t help but start liking Rita. Still, she can’t shake feeling somewhat incomplete and realizes there’s only one thing that can change that --- finding Starr.
One day, an opportunity presents itself for her to do just that. While walking to the store for a much-needed Twinkie fix, Sunny stumbles upon a bag of money. She does the right thing and advertises her find, but when no one claims it, she makes her move. Armed with a few supplies and the only photo she has of her sister, Sunny sets off across the country to reunite with Starr. She doesn’t have much to go on --- just the name of their old town written on the back of the photo --- but she’s positive she’ll find the house where they used to live. Surely a neighbor will have some information that could lead her to her other half, becoming whole once more. Although Sunny is in no way prepared for this adventure she sets out on, facing many horrors along the way, she remains determined to find her only family.
RUNAWAY TWIN grabs the reader right from the start and doesn’t let go: “Most people who have a life-changing experience survive a terrible injury or disease. My life was transformed by a craving for Twinkies.” The pages of this winning novel seem to turn entirely on their own, and faster and faster as the reader gets sucked into the riveting story. At the center of this wonderful book is a spirited heroine filled with determination, guts, and an intense longing for a real family. She also has deep insight into some of life’s most intricate workings (“It made a good daydream, but I’ve learned that if you want dreams to come true, you have to take action.”). Sunny will make readers laugh, shed tears and tremble in fear.
And the person to thank for introducing us to Sunny is an author you’ll want to save space for on your bookshelf. I’m very much looking forward to Peg Kehret’s next book.
Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on January 20, 2011
- Publication Date: January 20, 2011
- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Puffin
- ISBN-10: 0142418498
- ISBN-13: 9780142418499