Cover Image: The Runaway Girls

The Runaway Girls

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Member Reviews

Jacqueline Wilson has written enough books about Victorian waifs to rival Charles Dickens. This book is slightly different to Hetty, Clover and co. in that the protagonist was born into a life of relative privilege; after she is (unbelievably) mistaken for an urchin by her own father, she decides to take her chances in the 'underworld' along with her new sweet and street smart friend. Wealth and education are the themes here; while Wilson touches on women's rights and the lives of Black Victorians, this is a recognisable 'orphan's tale' rather than an 'own voices' novel for young people. There are plenty of familiar faces- it wouldn't be a Wilson book without a cameo from Hetty Feather- and Wilson relies heavily on staples like the simple, kindly country folk, the strict governess and the wicked orphanmaster. The book doesn't really sparkle until Wilson arrives at a specific historical event: the Crystal Palace exhibition. We see the exhibition through the eyes of ordinary people- some are trying to sneak behind the velvet ropes while others are looking to snatch some pennies from the rich folks in the long queues! The seedier side of travelling theatre and the horrors of industrial childrearing are both covered in more depth in the Hetty series, but the wonder that Hetty first felt on seeing the Tanglewoods Travelling Circus lasts longer, and feels stronger in The Runaway Girls. They are part of the action, rather than observers; when they aren't invited to take part in the show, they make their own, complete with songs, costumes and stories. I would love Wilson to write a book set somewhere else in the former British Empire, but I suspect this novel is the first of another circus-themed series (Hetty: The Next Generation) If you and your children like familiar Victorian stories with just a touch of magic, this book will be just fine.
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Lucy lives a financially privileged life in Victorian England but has little in the way of emotional comfort, so she runs away from home. Luckily for Lucy, she meets a street performer called Kitty, who has the wits to survive on the dangerous streets of London. The narrator does a skillful job of bringing an already engaging story to life. My 12 year old was hooked.
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As always, a well written and engaging book by Jacqueline Wilson. 

I loved her books when I was younger and I was interested to see how they read as an adult. Still a good read.
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A story of sadness, adventure and happiness. 
Sometimes having a new family can be so hard and you feel pushed out unloved and sometimes you can not see why adults do the things they do.
This is an adventure of growing up and learning to accept that somethings change and you grow with those. 
Wilson writes such wonderful stories.
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I always admire the way in which Jacqueline Wilson deals with hard-hitting themes and topics, however this story fell a little flat for me. 

For the most part, the writing was engaging and enjoyable. There were places where I felt it was slow and repetitive at times. 

I also didn't feel the ending was as satisfying for the reader as it could have been, and feel as though not enough use was made of Gaffer. 

Nevertheless, thank you very much for the ARC.
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I used to love Jaqueline Wilson when I was younger and having recently got back into reading I wanted to read some of her newer works. I think this would be a great story  for young readers as I myself enjoyed it. The main character was one very typical of Wilson’s writing which felt comforting. I enjoyed this read despite it not being aimed at my age group and would definitely recommend to the targeted age group and those who loved her growing up
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the runaway girls was a fast paced adventure for girls aged 9-11 who enjoy books such as hetty feather, the great sea dragon discovery, tiger heart and other books set in victorian london for nine to eleven year olds. I liked the way that the story ended although i found the story's start quite slow and it took a while to get going especially as the first few chapters provided no extra infomation that would affect the story in the long run. 
Altogether though, it was a brilliant bookand i thank you for letting me read it.
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I have a huge soft spot for Jacqueline Wilson, my daughter loves her and has read most of her books. This one did not disappoint! A fabulous book set with all the great attributes we have come to expect from Jacqueline. Set in Victorian England, the book follows friends Lucy and Kitty - two girls from very different backgrounds who develop a strong friendship despite the odds. Fabulous.
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I have been a huge Jacqueline Wilson fan since I was around eight years old. I was absolutely ecstatic (not an exaggeration) when I got accepted by the wonderful people at Puffin for her latest release. It was simply glorious!

In 1851, Lucy Alice May Browning lives with her father, New Mother and her new baby sister Angelique in a nice house in London. Her governess Miss Groan forces her to read Bible passages and behave as a little lady should. Lucy misses her lovely, kind Nurse who moved to the country terribly. Then Lucy runs away and finds herself naked and helpless on the harsh streets of London. Until she is found by the boisterous, loveable Kitty who has made a life for herself on the streets since losing the protection of her beloved Gaffer. Now, it’s up to the girls to survive by befriending families, hiding from the police, avoiding the Workhouse and crafting an amazing performance to earn their money!

Like all Jacqueline Wilson books, The Runaway Girls is accompanied by gorgeous illustrations from Nick Sharratt. Located at the start of every chapter, they dropped hints as to what to expect from the chapter to come. Having visuals of the girls’ journey added another dimension to the story and they completely transported me to normal every day life in Victorian London.

Lucy’s life in her family home isn’t a happy one and she dreams of a life with loving parents. My heart broke for her and for most of the novel, I was desperate for her to find this. I know that this is how so many children feel in the place where they’re supposed to feel loved and safe and that it’s timeless. There are probably just as many children in 2021 who feel like this as there was in Lucy’s time. Wilson’s ability to speak directly to these kids never fails to amaze me.

Wilson is constantly praised for her ability to emulate children’s minds so expertly, even at her age. I think the little passage where Kitty says that she was born in a bush and Lucy believes this as she has heard it before demonstrates that perfectly. Lucy’s blind acceptance of such an absurd theory is something that only a sheltered nine-year-old could do. Spending time in Lucy’s head really took me back to being her age and it was exactly what I needed.

The Runaway Girls is written in such an immersive, vivid style that everything was so easy to picture. I saw everything through Lucy’s eyes and therefore I really felt everything that she did -the fear, the wonder, the anticipation of the Great Exhibition. I know Crystal Palace quite well as I grew up in South East London but of course, I didn’t know it when it was this new, glittering structure full of creativity and promise. It was a wonderful, magical experience to see it like this.

Lucy and Kitty constantly have fantasies about what their lives will be like in the future. Their outlandish ideas and beautiful dreams thoroughly transport the reader into their wonderful child-like minds and I found that I was getting as carried away with these dreams as they were! I know that it’s these dreams that keep them warm amidst the frightening, hostile conditions that they’re living in and when you consider that, they take on a tragic tinge but Wilson never specifically frames them like that. There are so many layers that you can read her stories on and I love that you can see something different, depending on your mood or experiences.

There are also points where the stark differences between Kitty and Lucy show themselves. Kitty is very aware of these differences and she is actually saying so much in the line ‘Only you’re rich and I’m poor so we can’t really be friends, can we?’. Even at her tender age, she knows that the existence of the class system and the privileges that Lucy enjoys mean that Lucy can never have a true understanding of Kitty’s life. This translates directly into 2021 and I know a lot of working class people will connect with this viewpoint.

The Runaway Girls is a fantastic adventure powered by a beautiful friendship that survives real threats. I didn’t expect the ending to pan out the way it did but it fits perfectly. I finished it full of warmth and hope and that’s exactly the kind of read that my heart really needs right now.
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I loved, loved, loved Jacqueline Wilson’s books when I was a child and so I am delighted that my daughter has discovered the joy of reading her books too. When the opportunity to review the new book presented itself, we were both excited. My daughter became totally engaged in the story and there was plenty for us to discuss together. At just 8 years old, some of the vocabulary was a little advanced for her at time, but this presented the opportunity for her to learn too. This is her review in her own words...

“I think this book is about trust because they were always trusting each other like when Lucy and Kitty were at an orphvillage (sic), Lucy trusted Kitty when to run. It is about 2 girls Kitty and Lucy and Lucy ran away from her home , because she thought she had found her nurse but she hadn’t meeted (sic) her nurse it as someone else. Then Lucy met Kitty they kept on running away like from The Great Exhibition, the park and the orphvillage (sic). I like the bit when they performed at The Great Exhibition and the it where Kitty told Lucy about the fairies in the park, but really my favourite bit is ...all of it! I didn’t like the new mother, because it sounds like she was really mean to Lucy. I thought the ending was definitely a happy ending because they joined the circus. I wonder if Jacqueline Wilson will make another book about The Runaway girls when they are at the circus? I would recommend this to my brother, because he enjoys Jacqueline Wilson books”

Thank you to Netgalley, Jacqueline Wilson and Doubleday for the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest opinion.
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This is another great book by Jacqueline Wilson, my daughter loves her more historical tales and this was no exception. Lucy is struggling to adjust to her life with a new stepmother and baby but without the nurse who helped raise her, in her misery she runs away from home and fortunately for her befriends Kitty who helps her to survive on the streets and shows her the kindness she was missing. This is as thoughtfully written as you would expect and another great edition to my daughters library.
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This book follows Lucy - a young girl who’s got a new mother and new baby sister who she doesn’t particularly like. Her nurse has also been replaced with a mean woman and all Lucy wants is to have fun. Then after getting into trouble because of an accident, Lucy runs away and meets Kitty. Kitty lives on the streets and earns tin to support herself by performing. Kitty teaches Lucy how to survive on the streets and together they develop their performance in order to earn money for both of them. All is going well until they get accused and stealing and the threat of the workhouse becomes very real. 

The way this book ends I would more than happily read a sequel that follows their adventure further. However Jacqueline Wilson’s books have always been something that I could happily read over and over.  

I highly recommend this book to people of all ages who enjoy books following friendships and overcoming challenges.
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A carefully considered look at the experience of a Victorian childhood from multiple viewpoints. Lucy’s life is comfortable but lacks emotional support. Following a mistake she decides to leave home  however life on the streets is not what she expected and help comes from an unexpected source, forcing her to reconsider her ideas of the poor. Set within Jacqueline Wilson’s Victorian world it can be read as a stand-alone and examines themes not looked at in her other novels. Sure to be popular with year 5 and above.
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A Jacqueline Wilson book never does disappoint. Runaway Girls was a historic light read that followed two girls who bonded to be more than sisters. 
Lucy, a high society young girl, has run away from home when she accidentally melted her doll and has been punished. She meets Kitty and the two become the best of friends as time goes by. They have their differences and arguments but the series of incidents that follow make their friendship stronger.

The main theme of Runaway Girls was friendship. It was delivered in a sweet heartwarming way. The writing style was quite simple and readable.

I enjoyed Kitty and Lucy's characters. I thought that they were quite well rounded and their opposing personalities made it quite interesting.

What didn't quite work for me was the ending. I was hoping that Lucy would meet her father again and it would be bittersweet yet memorable but I got a happy unrealistic ending. It wasn't bad but it could have been better.

Overall a great read and highly recommended!

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the E-arc!
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I was a big JW fan when I was younger and when I saw her newest release on Net Galley I just had to request it. 
It definitely did not disappoint. Packed with the feisty, funny and lovable characters that I’ve always known in Wilson’s books, The Runaway Girl is another classic in the making. 

Kitty in particular is a character that I’m sure will be a favourite amongst young readers as she’s a little wild thing & her antics are very very funny to read.

I even think there’s scope for a sequel in this one given where it ended.

Not my favourite of hers, but another fabulous read from the undisputed Queen of her genre.
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I am pretty sure everyone on my bookstagram is fully aware of what a HUGE fan I am of Jacqueline Wilson and have been since like, forever?? So, when I got approved to read an ARC of The Runaway Girls, 10 year old me was screaming internally and I could not wait to read it and it reminded me of the reason why younger me loved Jacqueline Wilson's work so much. 

I think looking back on all the Jacqueline Wilson books I read as a child, I wasn't fully aware of the important topics that were bought to light throughout her books. This book teaches young people what life could have been like for a child in Victorian London, teaching young readers a historical aspect of London in the Victorian era whilst also teaching them about the importance of friendship and being there for one another. 

This book was very character driven and the way that Wilson writes really makes the characters come to life. Despite Lucy and Kitty being very different people personality wise, I adored the both of them immensely. Lucy was such a sweet, well-spoken girl and Kitty was not afraid to ever speak her mind. 

With the way the book ended I found myself sitting there just wanting more. Part of me is hoping that was done on purpose which could mean a second instalment into the lives of Lucy and Kitty? I really hope so anyway! 

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Jacqueline Wilson and Penguin Random House Children’s UK for the ARC in exchange or an honest review!
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Jacqueline Wilson is so fab. She was my favourite author growing up and its so nice to read her stuff as an adult and find it equally as addictive! This reminded me fondly of a little princess and is perfect for younger readers!
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An adventure from start to finish set in Victorian London. We follow Lucy, an 8 year old who accidentally runs away from home and meets a best friend, Kitty. Lucy is from a wealthy family and Kitty is poor. The story follows the two girls becoming street performers and learning to survive on their own as runaways. At its heart it’s a story of friendship, as the two girls from different walks of life come to rely on each other. Totally heartwarming and Jacqueline Wilson really brings the characters to life.

I was obsessed with Jacqueline Wilson’s books as a kid and this is the first I’ve read in many years. It’s obviously aimed at older children/young teens but I genuinely really enjoyed the book as an adult. It was well written, engaging and for me - very nostalgic!

There’s a reason that Jacqueline Wilson is such an acclaimed Children’s author. I would recommend this book to everyone, adults and children alike!
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I absolutely adored this book, and I am fifty something! It’s set at the time of the Great British Exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1851. There’s lots of lavish detail about the exhibition itself, as well as a really good and believable story. I have read most of Wilson’s books aimed at the older reader, and this is definitely the best one yet. Highly recommended for all ages, even as ancient as me!!
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I’ve been a huge Jacqueline Wilson fan since I was a wee girl, and her books were the start of my love for reading. When I saw her latest release on NetGalley, I had to request it and when I was approved I had to read it straight away! 

I’ve just finished this book and it didn’t disappoint as a Jacqueline Wilson book, with the storyline and feisty characters I adored. It tells the story of an unlikely and intense friendship between characters who have a lot of opposing personality traits. It’s a very accessible book for kids and being set in the Victorian era, it also teaches the reader about some British history too. I sped through this to see what happened next to Lucy and Kitty on their runaway adventures through London, and I can sense a second part to this story based on how it ended. I can guarantee if there is, I won’t hesitate to read it too! 

Another great Jacqueline Wilson book that I’m very glad I had the privilege to read, even as an adult.
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