by Lee Matthew Goldberg
Publication date: April 29th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Synopsis:They told me I was an out-of-control train about to crash…
Everything changed when the police officer knocked on the door to tell me – a 16-year-old – that my older sister Kristen had died of a brain aneurysm. Cue the start of my parents neglecting me and my whole life spiraling out of control.
I decided now was the perfect time to skip town. It’s the early 90’s, Kurt Cobain runs the grunge music scene and I just experienced some serious trauma. What’s a girl supposed to do? I didn’t want to end up like Kristen, so I grabbed my bucket list, turned up my mixtape of the greatest 90’s hits and fled L.A.. The goal was to end up at Kurt Cobain’s house in Seattle, but I never could have guessed what would happen along the way.
At turns heartbreaking, inspiring, and laugh out loud funny, Runaway Train is a wild journey of a bygone era and a portrait of a one-of-a-kind teenage girl trying to find herself again the only way she knows how.
Nico's life changes the moment she finds out that her older sister, Kristen has died suddenly from an aneurysm on Halloween 1993. Nico is still reeling from finding out about the death of River Phoenix and spirals out of control. With her parents dealing with their own issues, Nico turns to her best friends, Winter and Jeremy who encourage Nico to fulfill her own bucket list which includes an epic road trip to visit Kurt Cobain's home before an aneurysm takes her too.
Runaway Train is a young adult coming of age story set within the Grunge scene of the 1990's. Nico's character is a wonderful embodiment of a teenager in 1993, deeply emotional, but not knowing how to express themselves and finding their outlets in the lyrics of the Grunge greats that helped define the movement and generation. I could easily picture Nico and her friends' style, demeanor and rooms through the writing. I absolutely loved that each of the chapters was titled after a specific song, it helped to set the mood and tone of the scene and provided insight into Nico's emotional state. It would have been perfect if the ebook could have had links right in the chapter to play the songs along with it. Nico's journey could only take place in the 1990's and the writing totally nailed the 90's vibe. I was intrigued with each of Nico's stops on her trip and what she accomplished in coming to terms with her sister's death and moving forward. Nico's road trip was a wonderful tool to explore her grief, reasons for self-destruction and eventually finding herself.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels THE ANCESTOR, THE MENTOR, THE DESIRE CARD and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the Prix du Polar. His first YA series RUNAWAY TRAIN is forthcoming in 2021 along with a sci-fi novel ORANGE CITY. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in The Millions, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, LitReactor, Monkeybicycle, Fiction Writers Review, Cagibi, Necessary Fiction, the anthology Dirty Boulevard, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. Follow him at LeeMatthewGoldberg.com