Running

Running

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When fifteen-year-old Cuban American Mariana Ruiz’s father runs for president, Mari starts to see him with new eyes. A novel about waking up and standing up, and what happens when you stop seeing your dad as your hero—while the whole country is watching.

In this authentic, humorous, and gorgeously written debut novel about privacy, waking up, and speaking up, Senator Anthony Ruiz is running for president. Throughout his successful political career he has always had his daughter’s vote, but a presidential campaign brings a whole new level of scrutiny to sheltered fifteen-year-old Mariana and the rest of her Cuban American family, from a 60 Minutes–style tour of their house to tabloids doctoring photos and inventing scandals. As tensions rise within the Ruiz family, Mari begins to learn about the details of her father’s political positions, and she realizes that her father is not the man she thought he was.

But how do you find your voice when everyone’s watching? When it means disagreeing with your father—publicly? What do you do when your dad stops being your hero? Will Mari get a chance to confront her father? If she does, will she have the courage to seize it?

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  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780358330806

  • ISBN-10: 0358330807

  • Pages: 336

  • Price: $9.99

  • Publication Date: 07/14/2020

  • Carton Quantity: 1

  • Age(s): 12,13,14,15,16

  • Grade(s): 7-12

Natalia Sylvester
Author

Natalia Sylvester

Natalia Sylvester is the author of two novels for adults, Chasing the Sun and Everyone Knows You Go Home, which won an International Latino Book Award. Born in Lima, Peru, she grew up in Miami, Central Florida, and South Texas, and received a BFA from the University of Miami. Running is her YA debut. She lives in Austin, Texas, and can also be found at nataliasylvester.com. 
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  • reviews
    ★ "Sylvester's YA debut embodies the theme of our decade: to stand up and speak up for what we believe in.... Sylvester expertly puts readers inside the pressured lives of a family in politics and reaffirms the adage that indeed, knowledge is power." —Booklist, STARRED review 

     

    "Sylvester adeptly delves behind the scenes in political families' lives while presenting the complexity of a young woman realizing that her parents are not the heroes she always believed them to be....A timely call to stand up for your beliefs."—Kirkus  

     

     

  • excerpts

    one

    “I’m Anthony Ruiz.” My father pauses, widening his smile. “And I approve this message.” 

          From behind the camera, the director says, “Just a few more times.” 

          “I’m Anthony Ruiz, and I approve this message.” 

          Someone holding a light over me and my family coughs. Papi leans forward and looks across the couch at Mami before trying again. “I’m Anthony Ruiz and I approve this message.” 

          “Not so fast, Tonio,” she says. 

          “I’m Anthony. Ruiz. And I approve this message.” 

          Ricky tries to keep from laughing, but ends up sounding like he sneezed with his mouth closed. I shoot him my most stern don’t-laugh-at-Papi look, but I fail miserably at keeping a straight face. 

          “You sound like a robot, Papi,” he says. 

          “It’s super unnatural,” I add. 

          “I’ll try it one more time. We don’t have all day,” he says, but I think he’s trying not to laugh too. The dimple on his left cheek—the one that, according to Mami, makes the focus group of women her age melt—starts to peek through. 

          “Actually, this is going to make great blooper reel footage,” the director says. “The PACs will love it.” 

          At the mention of PACs, my mother clears her throat and turns her nose up, away from the director. It’s no secret that she’s not comfortable with what we’re doing. When I asked her why before the shoot, she said that Political Action Committees can help the candidates they’re supporting, but they can’t donate more than five thousand dollars directly to their campaign. 

          “It’s to keep super-wealthy people from buying influence in an election,” she said. “But outside of that five thousand, PACs can do other things with the money they raise, like make ads and buy airtime on TV for their chosen candidate.” 

          “So we’re shooting these videos for the PACs,” Ricky said matter-of-factly. I raised my eyebrows and gave him an encouraging smile. It’s cute how he acts like he knows what he’s talking about, even though I suspect he thinks there’s a giant yellow Pac-Man doing Papi’s bidding. Still, he catches on to more than my parents give him credit for. 

          “No no no no no,” Papi replied, very quick to contradict him. “We’re not shooting footage for the PACs. We’re putting these on YouTube. Whatever anyone does with all the video is completely up to them.” 

          Mami glared at my father. 

          “What?” 

          “It’s too gray, Tonio. You know how I feel about shady tactics.” 

          “It’s common practice. All the other candidates do it.” 

          “That’s not the kind of reasoning I want to teach the—” 

          She was interrupted by one of the assistants asking us to take our seats at the dinner table. 

          Not that we actually ate dinner. It’s noon on a Saturday and we’ve been up since five in the morning for makeup and to catch what they call “good light.” Papi said grace twenty different ways over a meal we didn’t eat, then we played catch in the backyard. Correction: Papi and Ricky tossed a football back and forth while Mami and I sat on beach towels by the pool, laughing like we were in a 1950s toothpaste commercial. We walked around the neighborhood holding hands as a family, and now we’re here: all four of us on the couch in the living room. Mami sits next to Papi with Ricky to her right, and I sit to Papi’s left. He puts his arms over our shoulders and squeezes. 

          “I love you all so much.” 

          “Nice, that’s really nice,” the director says. “One more time?” 

          “Gladly,” Papi says. “I’m just so proud of my family.” We all look at him and smile, but his gaze remains steady on the camera until he finally catches my eye and says, “I love you, hijita.” 

          I smile back despite the awkwardness. Between the film crew and Papi’s campaign staff, there are at least fifteen people watching us. There will be who knows how many million more, once the videos are online. 

          I try not to think about it. 

          “Okay, now let’s try the approval a few more times, but this time the kids join in and say ‘we approve this message.’” The director takes off his Marlins cap and runs his hands through his hair. I can’t remember his name, just that Papi was really excited we got him for this shoot because he did a bunch of spots for a Mitt Romney PAC in 2012. When politics was still about honest men running, he always says. 

          “I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Mami says. 

          “¿Por qué no?” Papi lowers his voice even though we’re all wearing mikes. 

          “It’s tacky, dear. Leaning on the kids so much.” 

          “I think it’d be sweet. Ricky, what do you think?” 

          That’s messed up and my father knows it. Ricky’s only eight, which means he does anything Papi asks, no questions. He’ll figure out he has a choice in things eventually. For now, he nods enthusiastically. 

          “Mariana?” 

          I’m surprised Papi asks me. Has he forgotten the fifty-three hundred times I’ve begged him and Mami to leave me out of this? My father acts like I’m still eight years old and dreaming of being an actress. He caught me rehearsing my Oscar acceptance speech in front of the mirror with a hairbrush as a mike the one time and he’s just never been able to drop it. He put me in front of the cameras every chance he got, calling me his Best Supporting Actress. But back then his campaigns were different. For one, I had no lines. Mami was in charge of everything and she insisted it was for our own protection that Ricky and I should be “seen but not heard.” Besides, people weren’t exactly tuning in by the millions to watch footage of their local elections. 

          This, though. This is on a totally different level. 

          Before he announced he was running for president last fall, my father made a really big deal about getting me and my bro...

Available Resources

Related Categories

  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780358330806

  • ISBN-10: 0358330807

  • Pages: 336

  • Price: $9.99

  • Publication Date: 07/14/2020

  • Carton Quantity: 1

  • Age(s): 12,13,14,15,16

  • Grade(s): 7-12

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