Running With the Pack by A.M. Burns & Caitlin Ricci

running-with-the-packRating: 4 stars
Contemporary; YA
Publication day:
 September 8, 2016
180 pages  
Harmony Ink Press

Finn is about to start his senior year of high school when he and his family move from Austin, Texas, to Woodland Park, Colorado. Everything is different—even the elevation—and Finn’s having a hard time getting used to his new home. Life takes a turn for the better when he meets Ivan Dubovasky at a farmers’ market. Finn finds not only a close new friend but a fulfilling volunteer position at the High Mountain Wolf and Wild Dog Center, which Ivan’s family runs. Before long Finn develops an affinity for the wolves under the center’s protection.

Things only get better for Finn when he starts a relationship with Ivan; and Ivan’s best friend, Adrian, who’s asexual, completes their small pack. But it all comes crashing down when the bully plaguing Adrian crosses the line and Adrian goes missing. Finn and Ivan are determined to bring their boyfriend home safe, but they might not be able to do it alone. Luckily there’s a special wolf ready to lend a paw.

My View: Running with the Pack is a real young adult novel. I’m not a YA fan for two main reasons. First, most characters act as if they were in their late twenties or older. And secondly, the sexual content is too much for the story; not because teens don’t have sex, but because it’s written for an older audience.

This story changes that. Giving us three characters learning about each other, exploring relationships, and sexuality together. I have a fifteen-year-old daughter, and I’d feel comfortable with her reading it because it was written for teenagers and young adults, not the traditional advance reader.

The characters are realistic as well as their interactions and daily life. I do think some conflicts were solved too quickly, including the acceptance of the polyamorous relationship. But the authors did an excellent job presenting Adrian’s asexuality. It was straightforward and uncomplicated.

What I liked the most: That it was an actual YA story.

I wanted more/less: I wanted more angst, but even so, it worked as-is.

Who should read it: Fans of YA stories

ARC provided by Harmony Ink Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.


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