Hit the Ground Running

Alison Hughes' Hit the Ground Running tells the story of a brother and sister who take a road trip from their home in Arizona to western Canada after their father disappears.

Alison Hughes

Sixteen-year-old Dee and her seven-year-old brother, Eddie, have been on their own for six weeks. Their father has seemingly vanished into the baking Arizona desert. Their money is drying up and the rent is coming due, but it's a visit from a social worker and the prospect of being separated from Eddie that scares Dee enough to flee. She dupes her brother into packing up and embarking on the long road trip to Canada, their birthplace and former home. Lacking a driver's license and facing a looming interrogation at the border, Dee rations their money and food as they burn down the interstate in their ancient, decrepit car. (From Orca Book Publishers)

From the book

Dee stared out the open kitchen window. There wasn't much to see even if she'd really been looking. A stretch of gravel peppered with stalks of scrub grass leading down a hill, past other ramshackle houses, into the endless barren desert that led all the way to Mexico. Tumbleweed desert. Wile E. Coyote desert. Looming, enormous saguaro cacti stood at meaningless attention. From a distance, they were eerily humanoid, arms raised to the scorching sun, waiting rather than growing.

Their early evening was dead still. Silent. No scuttling animals, no traffic. Everything paused, still and mute. Even the acrobatics of the tumbleweeds were stilled by the crippling heat that had already killed the wind. They lay exhausted, inanimate, exposed for what they really were — matted, tangled balls of dead weeds. They were only interesting when they moved, because they moved. They briefly enlivened the stillness, the mile after mile of Mars-like sand and burnt-red rock.


From Hit the Ground Running by Alison Hughes ©2017. Published by Orca Book Publishers.

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