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Deuker, Carl.
New York : Houghton Mifflin, 2005
ISBN 0618542981

(5 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

Chance Taylor is just another 17-year-old nobody.  He lives with his father on a run-down boat moored in the Puget Sound.  He is just barely visible in high school.  He does just enough to get by.  He's just doing the time till graduation.  The only time he feels alive is after school when he goes on long runs.  He loves to run.  But his dad's drinking is getting worse.  And now they may lose the boat.  So Chance feels it is up to him to find a way to pay the fees.  And the opportunity comes in the form of being a runner for a man in the marina.  Chance is making pretty good money picking up mysterious packages and delivering them.  He suspects that the packages contains drugs but is not worried at first.  He needs the money. But as time goes by, he begins to get worried about what he is involved in.

Booktalk #2

How would you like to be living on a sailboat on Puget Sound while going to high school? How about if the sailboat is rundown, can't sail? How about if your father is an alcoholic and can't hold a job?

Chance Taylor holds life, boat and dad together with a job washing dishes at Ray’s Boathouse, so when the owner of the marina offers him $250 simply to drop a package--under a bush--while he is jogging--Chance figures that it is probably illegal.

The money though, means that he can concentrate on school and even find time for the girl he likes, Melissa. He could not have been more wrong however, because the job is every bit as Illegal as Chance has suspected--but in any way you might have thought!

There are lots of subplots that move this already fast paced story along: Chance’s father was a Gulf War hero; the man who hires him is found mysteriously dead; Chance finds he has opinions for the first time in his life as he discusses them with Melissa, who is also the editor of the school paper. The story never slows--we all keep running until the end.

(Booktalk by Mary Jo Heller, Shoreline School District for the Evergreen Young Adult Book award, 2007-2008)

Booktalk #3

Chance Taylor's father, a Gulf War Veteran and alcoholic, is fired from his job. Chance worries about where they will get the money to pay the mortgage for the run-down sailboat they call home. Running along the Seattle waterfront is an escape from all his problems. When a marina employee offers to pay him $250 a week to pick up packages, Chance finds himself in danger and gets a glimpse of the heroic man his father once was.  (Florida Teen Reads nominee, 2007-2008)

Booktalk #4

Chance is tired of being the adult in his family—tired of washing dishes for hours to get a little money—tired of living on canned food on an old sailboat—and tired of paying the bills when his dad drinks away what little money he makes, when he can keep a job. Chance spends his days getting through high school as a ghost-walker—he keeps his mouth shut and does whatever schoolwork he has to do to get a passing grade. His only joy is running. He runs for miles every day after school along the shore of Puget Sound. Anything is better than sitting on a thirty-foot weather-beaten old sailboat watching his old man get drunk.  One day after his usual run, Chance is approached by a worker at the marina and offered a job. The man simply wants Chance to carry a small backpack when he runs and check a certain tree for packages. If Chance finds a package, he brings it back to his locker in the marina and leaves it there. His pay? Two hundred dollars a week. Chance needs the money to pay the bills but his mind is filled with questions. What is in the packages? Where do they come from? Who will contact him about the “special” packages he has begun to receive? How can he get out of this business? Is he in too deep to get out….alive? (Prepared by: Sheri Carpenter for SCASL Young Adult Awards, 2008)

Booktalk #5

Runner is a heart-pounding thriller!  You’ll be flipping through these pages at a break-neck speed to find out what happens to high school senior, Chance Taylor. Chance lives with his alcoholic father on a small, dilapidated sailboat that just sits tied to the dock.  At seventeen, Chance needs to be the responsible one who worries about paying all the bills and deals with many other grown up issues.  Chance keeps a low profile at school and does just enough to get by because he doesn’t feel like he fits in.  His one pleasure is running.  Chance likes to take long solitary runs along the Seattle waterfront.  When a guy at a nearby marina notices this and offers Chance a way to make some easy money, Chance is suspicious, but he’s desperate for the big money.  Mix in a little romance with a smart, wealthy girl in his history class and you have a fast-paced suspenseful story with a gripping climax.  This is a sure fire hit!  (Jean B. Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2007-2008)

SUBJECTS:     Smuggling -- Fiction.
                        Alcoholism -- Fiction.
                        Single-parent families -- Fiction.
                        Poverty -- Fiction.
                        Terrorism -- Fiction.
                        Puget Sound (Wash.) -- Fiction.

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