Girl on the Run is, as you might expect, about running. A new trend in Chick Lit it has to be said with Fiona Gibson releasing a novel about running earlier in the year called Mum on the Run. Obviously, the motivation behind the running in both novels is to get fit, but with Girl in the Run, it's also about raising funds. I don't want to spoil what the funds are for, but you do find out early on in the book so it's not exactly a big secret. I liked the reasoning behind Abby's desire to complete a half-marathon and is much better than it solely being about getting fit (despite the fact that that is a big benefit, too). It added gravitas to the plot without being overly contrived.
Right from the off, the book had me hooked. Abby runs someone over within the first few pages and I loved her panic when she thought she'd killed the man she'd banged into. And the laughs continue steadily throughout the book. I don't think a book this year has made me laugh as much as Girl on the Run did. Jane just seems to have a natural affinity for putting comedic moments into her novels. They don't seem forced, they're just part and parcel of her characters and bring their personalities to life that bit more. Each page flows perfectly and I was hooked for 455 pages. I was hugely worried about Abby's fixation with Dishy Doc Oliver, and I did think that might ruin the book for me, but it didn't.
I loved Abby. Seriously, I want to meet this girl. She's in the exact same mould as Costello's previous characters: Evie, Lucy and Zoe. She's warm, she's funny, she's the kind of girl you want to be, the kind of girl you want to know. The characters around Abby are just as warm and engaging, from her work colleagues - Heidi, Matt and Priya - to her parents, to her best friend Jess. Even Tom, who Abby runs over at the beginning, comes back into the book (which delighted me no end, let me tell you). Seriously, of all the Chick Lit males I've put my name to (Luke Brandon and Johnny Jefferson amongst others), Tom has shot up the list, he was a fantastic character and I loved the banter between him and Abby. I didn't much take to Oliver, the Dishy Doc, he just rubbed me up the wrong way, from that very first meeting with Abby.
I knew the ending of Girl on the Run from page 5. Why, then, did I love the book so much? I hear you ask. Because of what it took to get there. For me, when I'm reading a Chick Lit novel, knowing who my main character is going to end up with is meant to be predictable. I'm meant to know, loud and clear. For me, the getting there is what makes the book for me. What turns the plot takes, what obstacles get in the way and although I'd love a romance that takes the bull by the horns and doesn't take until 10 pages before the end to get going, I doubt that's every going to happen so the distractions in novels like Girl on the Run are what I judge the book on. Along with the plot and characters and writing style. Jane Costello has one of the most pleasurable writing styles I've read, her chapters are short and snappy and allow for that `Just one more...' feeling and the fact she narrates from her main character's point of view makes it all the better. I was surprised by Girl on the Run, by how much I loved it because there's always a nagging doubt that this will be the book that might not be as good as the previous ones, but for me, this was Jane at her best and I lapped up every page.