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Away Running
Cover of Away Running
Away Running
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Matt, a white quarterback from Montreal, Quebec, flies to France (without his parents' permission) to play football and escape family pressure. Freeman, a black football player from San Antonio, Texas,...
Matt, a white quarterback from Montreal, Quebec, flies to France (without his parents' permission) to play football and escape family pressure. Freeman, a black football player from San Antonio, Texas,...
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Description-

  • Matt, a white quarterback from Montreal, Quebec, flies to France (without his parents' permission) to play football and escape family pressure. Freeman, a black football player from San Antonio, Texas, is in Paris on a school trip when he hears about a team playing American football in a rough, low-income suburb called Villeneuve-La-Grande. Matt and Free join the Diables Rouges and make friends with the other players, who come from many different ethnic groups. Racial tension erupts into riots in Villeneuve when some of their Muslim teammates get in trouble with the police, and Matt and Free have to decide whether to get involved and face the very real risk of arrest and violence.

About the Author-

  • David Wright is a writer and teacher of writing. He played American football for the Flash of La Courneuve in suburban Paris before returning to Champaign, Illinois, a home base from where he sets out abroad, most recently to Bahia, Brazil, and Benin, West Africa. Visit www.davidwrightbooks.com for more information.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    January 15, 2016
    North American teens join an impoverished Paris suburb's American football team. After a present-tense opening in which Matt, Free, and their French teammates unintentionally draw aggressive police attention, the prose jumps months backward and into the past tense. Tired of doing what his wealthy mother wants, Montreal quarterback Mathieu--Matt--hops a plane to Paris to play on a French friend's American football team. The team, made up of marginalized local teens, primarily of North African descent, is allowed two foreign players. The second one recruited is defensive back Free, an African-American exchange student from San Antonio. The lengthy setup delays the football, but once the team's assembled, Matt and Free work hard alongside team captain Moussa (known as Moose) to turn the scrappy underdogs into winners. But despite growing friendships, they can't ignore the class and racial discrimination their teammates face, which the North Americans don't. Subplots--such as Matt's mild, innocent romance (which contrasts starkly with an early scene of youthful voyeurism)--serve to enhance empathy with characters. Authors Wright and journalist Bouchard, who met playing football in Paris and draw on experience for detailed authenticity, pull no punches in addressing racism and social ills, effectively presenting a complicated situation with no simple solution. Once the story catches up with the present tense, tensions brew into irreversible, violent disaster. Timely, nuanced, and highly respectful of readers' intelligence. (author's note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    October 1, 2016

    Gr 9 Up-Matt and Free are in Paris for different reasons. Matt, a wealthy white Canadian football player, has fled Montreal to get away from parental pressure to take a collegiate and career route that will not fulfill him. While staying with his cousin, he meets up with Moose, an Algerian kid who lives in the projects in Paris. Moose had stayed with Matt's dad as an exchange student the previous summer. Freeman is African American and has earned a scholarship to study abroad in Paris for the summer. He feels guilty for leaving his family behind in San Antonio, especially because they are going through a tough time, but he couldn't pass up the chance of a lifetime. When the two main characters meet, Matt convinces Free to extend his stay in Paris to play for the Diables Rouges, the under-20 team from Moose's neighborhood. As the two foreigners learn more about their teammates and the neighborhood they represent, they see a darker side of Paris than they ever knew existed. Through the lens of football, readers learn about prejudice and racism in Paris. The alternating points of view of Matt and Free add a richness to the story that makes it relatable to a wide variety of readers. The language and some violence, while not overly graphic, make this a choice for mature readers looking for a change of pace. VERDICT This eye-opening offering deserves a spot on most high school library shelves. Hand to readers who seek to broaden their perspectives of the world.-Carli Worthman, Carmel Middle School, IN

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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