Cover image for The runaways
The runaways
Butcher, Kristin, 1951-
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Buffalo, New York : Kids Can Press, 1998.

Physical Description:
168 pages ; 21 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.6 5.0 35357.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Nick decides to hit the streets -- he can't bear the thought of sharing his mother with her new husband and the baby on the way. Isn't he enough for her? Thinking his mother no longer cares, Nick takes refuge in an abandoned house, where he meets Luther, a curmudgeonly street person. An unlikely friendship develops between the pair, prompting Nick to study street people for a school project. When his essay ends up on the front page of the local newspaper, both their lives are changed. The Runaways is a coming-to-terms-with-life novel that shows how running away is never the answer.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-7. In Butcher's sensitive, if somewhat improbable book, 12-year-old Nick and a street person known initially only as Luther find they have many things in common. Nick is trying to cope with his mother's remarriage and the pending birth of a sibling, and Luther is leading a hand-to-mouth existence, unable to deal with a painful past. Unbeknownst to the other, each finds the deserted McIntyre house the perfect place to hide, and it is here that Nick discovers the key to Luther's identity. Although the book moves inexorably to its somewhat pat, happy conclusion, it forces children to put a face to homelessness. While doing so, it also helps them understand what society does when the homeless have no face. Although few of today's homeless are the Luthers of Nick's life and school research papers, all are victims of the pain and suffering Luther experiences. Butcher may be accused of misrepresenting the majority of this population and glossing over some of their real problems for the sake of a happy ending, but she cannot be faulted for pushing children to see beyond the superficial and to begin to develop a social conscience. (Reviewed April 15, 1998)1550744135Frances Bradburn

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8‘An interesting, sensitive portrayal of homeless citizens in our cities. The novel centers around the friendship that develops between Nick Battle and Luther, a homeless man. Nick is an assertive yet sensitive 12 year old who is struggling to accept his new stepfather. Luther and Nick literally run into one another the night the boy runs away after being told that his mother is going to have a baby. He is soon reunited with his parents, but the encounter with Luther shocks him and challenges his beliefs about homelessness and he continues to visit him. Butcher has created a sympathetic character in Luther, but she does not shy away from some of the darker aspects of the issue. One night, Nick visits a soup kitchen and meets some seriously disturbed and poverty-stricken adults and teens. Some of the dialogue falls flat, in an apparent attempt at humor; and the mystery surrounding Luther's identity and life choices is neatly resolved in the end. Otherwise, the story is well crafted. Nick's mother and stepfather are intelligent, caring, and articulate, and contribute to the plot in constructive ways.‘Lucinda Lockwood, Thomas Haney Secondary School, Maple Ridge, BC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.