Great stuff! Running Girl is one of those books that you realise you want to read to the end from the moment you start reading. Having seen a cracking review of this book in Saturday's Guardian a few weeks ago, I bought it as a gift for a teenager but became intrigued enough by the central character, Garvie Smith, and his view of the world, to want to read it myself. So I did. Cover to cover. Rather quickly. And strictly speaking, therefore, I can't review this from a teenager's perspective as I have to admit to being a lot older than the teenage audience for whom the novel has clearly been written, but that didn't detract at all from the experience. On the contrary, I was wondering as I progressed whether there would be moments that would annoy or embarrass me, but none such moments happened. Mason keeps you on your toes with a steady stream of cliffhangers, multiple plot lines, red herrings, misleading clues and questionable loyalties, unfolding in a fast-paced narrative that manages to grip both when the action is happening thick and fast and you are seriously worried for Garvie Smith's safety, and also when Garvie is succumbing to a state of teenage paralysis and his long-suffering mother is once again unable to get him out of his bed.
Garvie is maddening and endearing, flippant and serious, funny and annoying, and smarter than all the adults around him, which of course is how all the best teenagers are! He's a good character. Garvie Smith strikes me as the sort of character we may well see more of. I must admit, I do hope so.
And now? Well, I am going to keep my copy of Running Girl on my own bookshelves and buy another one for the person I originally intended it for. Top marks Mr Mason!