Cody’s home life is a messy, too-often terrifying story of neglect and abuse. Cody himself is a smart kid, a survivor with a wicked sense of humour that helps him see past his circumstances and begin to try to get himself out.
Autumn is, quite literally, on the other side of the tracks from him. Her home life is loving and secure, and she is “in” with the popular girls at school, even if she has a secret life as a glasses-wearing, self-professed comic book nerd at home. And even if the pressure to fit in at school requires hours of time spent making herself look “perfect.”
Returning home from a movie one evening, Autumn comes across Cody, face down in the laneway behind her house. All Cody knows is that he can’t take another beating from his father like the one he just narrowly escaped. He can’t go home, but he doesn’t have anywhere else to go either. Autumn won’t turn her back on him, even if they never really were friends at school. She agrees to let him hide out in her dad’s art studio at night.
Over the next couple of days of Autumn sneaking Cody food and bandages, his story comes out. And so does hers.
Told in alternating narratives, Autumn Bird and the Runaway is a breathtaking collaboration by two of Canada’s finest writers of books for young readers. Infused with themes of identity, belonging and compassion, it’s a story that reminds us that we are all more than our circumstances, and we are all more connected than we think.