Run for Your Life
Run for Your Life

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Annotation: Inspired by a real-life Mafia episode, Silvana Gandolfi's Run for Your Life is a powerful survival story of young people finding the courage to do the right thing when faced with the cruel realities of the adult world.
Catalog Number: #182074
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 275 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-632-06165-1 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-4410-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-632-06165-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-4410-2
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017944637
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Publishers Weekly
Five-year-old Santino and 12-year-old Lucio are pulled into the mafia underworld in this novel, which is based on a real-life episode. With Santino-s first communion approaching, his father and grandfather steal some goods to pay for the party, but they cross a local Sicilian mafia member. Both men are killed, and Santino himself is shot but manages to hide. He is miraculously rescued, and he must now decide whether to inform on the men who killed his family or keep the code of silence. In Northern Italy, Lucio cares for his younger sister, while his housebound mother prays for a cure for her illness. When his mother disappears, Lucio believes that she has been kidnapped, and he must find a way to rescue her. Told in alternating perspectives, the two boys- stories converge in a way that may leave readers scratching their heads. The language is sometimes stiff, with awkward cadences, which may be due to the translation, but the location and mafia connections provide much to interest readers. Ages 12-18. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up Santino and Lucio live in different parts of Italy but are tied together by one thing: the Mafia and its control over them. Santino is a talented runner and a faithful son from Palermo, Sicily. When his father and grandfather are caught committing theft to pay for Santino's first communion celebration, the young boy finds himself wandering through a ghost town and witnessing things no child should see. Lucio is 12 and lives in northern Italy, where he acts as a caretaker to his ailing mother and sister. When his mother goes missing, Lucio finds a mysterious text that sends him to Palermo. Readers may wonder how the parallel threads align, but the author adeptly entwines the two boys' stories. However, this import feels like it loses some of its impact in translation; the language feels a bit choppy at times, and the characters come off as younger than they actually are, which may make it difficult for the target audience to connect. Footnotes throughout define Italian slang words, which is helpful and may draw in budding linguists. Overall, it falls a little flat and fails to deliver. VERDICT An additional purchase for middle school collections. Carli Sauer, Carmel Middle School, IN
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Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (6/1/18)
Reading Level: 7.0
Interest Level: 6-8

From one of Italy’s favorite authors of young adult literature comes a gripping, true-to-life thriller of a Sicilian boy’s fight to survive after his family is torn apart by the Mafia.

A talented young runner, Santino lives in Palermo, Sicily—a beautiful region of Italy that’s dominated by the Mafia. With Santino’s first communion approaching, his father and grandfather carry out a theft to pay for the party—but they steal from the wrong people. A young, cocky Mafioso summons them to a meeting, and they bring the boy. As Santino wanders off into the old abandoned neighborhood, he hears shots and runs back to see two armed men and his father and grandfather slumped over in the car. The boy barely escapes with his life. Now, he’s left with a choice: cooperate with police and be a “rat,” or maintain Omertà: the code of silence.

Twelve-year-old Lucio lives in the northern Italian city of Livorno and dreams of sailing when not taking care of his his young sister, Ilaria, and his sick mother, who is convinced that a witch has cursed her. One day, Lucio’s mother goes missing and he receives a mysterious text: “Come to Palermo. Mamma is dying.” Panicked, Lucio grabs Ilaria and rushes to Sicily, where Lucio’s and Santino’s stories converge with explosive results.

Inspired by a real-life Mafia episode, Silvana Gandolfi’s Run for Your Life is a powerful survival story of young people finding the courage to do the right thing when faced with the cruel realities of the adult world.

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