The Art of Running Away

The Art of Running Away
Age Range
Release Date
November 14, 2021
Twelve-year-old Maisie is an artist. When she’s in front of her sketchbook or apprenticing at Glenna’s Portraits, the family-run art shop her grandmother started, the world makes sense. She doesn’t think about Calum, her brother who mysteriously left home and cut ties with her family six years ago, or her parents’ insistence that she “broaden her horizons” and try something new—something that isn’t art. But when Glenna’s Portraits falls on hard times, Maisie’s plan to take over the shop when she’s older and become a lifelong artist starts to crumble. In desperation to make things right, Maisie runs away to London to reconnect with her adult brother, hoping he might be the key to saving the shop. But as Maisie learns about her family’s past from Calum, she starts to rethink everything she’s ever known. Maisie must decide not only if saving her family’s art shop is worth it, but if she can forgive her parents for the mistakes they've made.

Editor review

1 review
Difficulties of healing
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
Maisie’s family is full of drama although she’s not aware of all of it. Her love of art will resonate with many young readers as will the motivation of some parents to give their kids well-rounded upbringings, whether their kids want it or not. Maisie’s brother left home abruptly six years earlier which leaves her with mixed emotions. What is the real reason he left home and why hasn’t he tried to contact her? This makes her feel angry and confused and she wants answers to her questions. Most of the story deals with Maisie trying to connect with Calum but he’s reluctant to talk about his past. Add frustration to Maisie’s myriad of feelings.
The author allows readers into Maisie’s mind which reveals her thoughts and plans to deal with her emotions. She decides to “run away” from her aunt in Edinburgh, Scotland, to spend most of the summer with Calum in London, England. Her initial idea is to convince him to help save their family’s art studio but she discovers there are complications. It’s hard for Maisie and Calum to understand each other when both of them aren’t being fully honest. Maisie’s best friend back in New York is trying to be supportive but trying to maintain communication from different sides of the Atlantic Ocean is challenging. Maisie sometimes overreacts to new information about her brother and parents which leads to some well-intentioned, bad decisions. She begins to learn what it means to be an ally.
The story dips into the world of art and technology which may interest readers. Maisie’s talent is with realistic sketches that her father then enhances to create oil portraits. She’s stumped when asked why she likes working for the family studio and it causes her to consider her values. She’s later introduced to graphic sketches which act as inspiration for discovering her personal style. Maisie is surprised to learn Calum is an anonymous graphic artist and he also helps his boyfriend tag blank walls around London. Calum’s roommates are students at college but they have creative abilities of their own. Together, these characters explore different artistic mediums.
What didn’t work as well:
The book’s title may not project an idea that adults want to see but the plot reveals a budding frustration between Maisie and her parents. The Amazon post indicates this book is for readers age 8 and above but it’s more appropriate for at least ten-year-olds. Other than Maisie, the main characters in the book are all adults. Most of the subject matter covered while Maisie is in London seems pretty mature and probably won’t be appreciated by younger readers.
The final verdict:
The author shares an emotional story of a dysfunctional family that’s trying to forgive and heal old wounds. It’s mostly set in London so some elements of British culture are included. Despite the setting and the topic of art, the basis of the issues is universal and I recommend you give this book a shot.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account