Book Title:
Girl on the Run
Book Author:
Abigail Johnson
Book Series:
Underlined Paperbacks
Page Count:
Publishing Date:
October 6th, 2020
Date Read:
July 8th, 2022


A fast-paced original paperback thriller about a girl who discovers that her mother might not be who she says she is . . . and now someone is hunting them both.

Katelyn wants the best for her widowed mom. Surprising her with an online dating profile seems like a good idea.

It isn't. Katelyn's mom hasn't just been acting overprotective all these years--she's been hiding something. And now that anyone can find them online, Katelyn is in a desperate race against time to uncover the secrets of the past--not only her mom's, but also her own.

As Katelyn's world unravels, she begins to trust the guy who brought this nightmare to her door and to doubt the one person she never thought she would. Because her mom has been hiding for a reason: she's been waiting.

My Review

When it comes to fast paced thrillers, especially those about the main character trying to escape or cover up a dark past, there are a lot of them out there for you to choose from.

The list narrows a bit when you venture into the YA genre of these kinds of books.

It narrows even more when you make the main character the daughter of the woman trying to cover  up her dark past, and you tell it from the daughter’s point of view.

In fact, it makes it pretty darn original.

Katelyn lives a quiet life – her mom makes them move a lot, and while it bothers her that she never really gets to make any connections with anyone around her, she eventually begins to look at it as a normal part of life. Her mom is also a bit overprotective – making sure Katelyn isn’t hanging out with anyone that she doesn’t approve of (or almost anyone at all), and always making sure Katelyn stays close to home.

One afternoon, Katelyn decides that she is going to help her single mother through the annoying process of dating by creating her a profile on a dating site. When her mother sees this, however, she freaks out, telling Katelyn that they had to pick up and leave.

That’s when everything gets turned upside down for Katelyn.

On the run, her mother helps the escape, and takes Katelyn to a motel room, where she leaves her and tells her not to talk to anyone or to leave the room. She tells her she will come back for her.

But she doesn’t.

Eventually Katelyn does the one thing her mother told her not to do – leaves the motel room.

Things go downhill from there – still at the motel, someone breaks into her room looking for her a while later. She escapes, but stumbles across a boy locked in a trunk – someone who might be her only way to figure out this whole mess and find her mother.

This novel is completely twisty and turn-y and full of all kinds of fast paced thrills. It was like a roller coaster of emotions over the course of the whole book – I loved it!

Abigail Johnson is a fabulous writer and I have enjoyed some of her contemporary novels, so I really was excited about reading her thriller, Girl on the Run. I’m a huge fan of thrillers, especially when they are written by authors I really like, so when I picked this one up, it’s easy to say that I finished it over the course of two afternoons because I couldn’t put it down. And then my about-to-turn thirteen year old bookworm daughter read it, and she adored it, too.

It was such a quick read, and it kept me guessing  until the end. While some of the mystery was unraveled rather quickly into the story, bits and pieces kept adding to it, until you are finally left with the bigger picture at the end. Sure, I guessed about what was going on, and I must say – I was completely wrong about it. I did not expect the answers to be what they were, and the ending was very, very surprising.

In fact, I loved everything about this book, except it did feel a tad bit rushed – I kind of wished there had been more to it, maybe even a little bit more to the mystery? Or even a bit more about the characters. Except from Katelyn, the main character, I felt like there wasn’t enough detail about them. I don’t think it’s a really bad thing, but I had hoped for a little more depth.

That being said, the character development for Katelyn was amazing. She really changes throughout the book, as she is faced with a ton of things and has almost no guidance as she tries to find her mom. Her friendship with the boy she finds in the trunk of the car is probably one of my favorite parts of the novel.

Like thrillers? Love amazing YA authors? Definitely opt for Girl on the Run.

4 stars
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