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In the new Republic of Texas, guns are compulsory and nothing is forgiven. Blue Running is a gripping coming-of-age thriller set in post-secessionist Texas. A fast-paced, page-turning book, it looks unflinchingly at what the future could hold, and finds hope there.

Fourteen-year-old Bluebonnet Andrews is on the run across the Republic of Texas. An accident with a gun killed her best friend but everyone in the town of Blessing thinks it was murder. Even her father – the town’s drunken deputy – believes she did it. Now, she has no choice but to run. In Texas, murder is punishable by death.

On the road she meets Jet, a pregnant young woman of Latin American heritage. Jet is secretive about her past but she’s just as determined as Blue to get out of Texas before she’s caught and arrested. Together, the two form an unlikely kinship as they make their way past marauding motorcycle gangs, the ever-watchful Texas Rangers, and armed strangers intent on abducting them – or worse. When Blue and Jet finally reach the wall, will they be able to cross the border, or will they be shot down in cold blood like the thousands who have gone before them?

Some things are worth dying for.



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In Blue Running,The Republic of Texas hasseceded from America with a wall separating it from America. It enforces gun carrying with appropriate training, starting in high school, as the approved way to approach societal shortcomings. Feeling alone in so many ways, Blue, short for Bluebonnet, at fourteen years old, finds herself trapped. The one friend she discovers during the summer months shows her true colors when school begins. The friend chooses the in-crowd over her summer acquaintance from the perceived wrong side of the tracks. Blue’s friend distances herself during school, causing Blue to feel more isolated and alone. Her father, Dah, works in law enforcement and has been raising Blue since his wife left him. Blue excels at school, keeps house, cooks their meals, and takes the role of first aid when her Dah is injured to save money. She’s learned to avoid Dah when he comes home drunk. Blue holds onto the picture of her mother, which captivates herimagination andallows her todream. 

Blue carries a gun, as do all teens who complete the training but has no desire to use or maintain it. Inthe Republic, those traveling without their weapon face serious consequences. Blue visits her friend hoping for a reconciliation. Her friend explains things while showing Blue their differences in affluence. Her friend succeeds in local shooting competitions and insists on cleaning Blue’s gun. The unimagined results send Blue on the run for her life when she realizes that trust in God and Republic could be a death sentence, with her station in life the determining factor. Blue runs, hoping to find her mother. Her journey to Americabecomes filled with experiences that challenge her trust. Along the way, she meets a traveling companion, Jet, and the two of themfacethe harsh realities of theguilty-until-proven-innocentaspects of this world. 

Beginning in Blessing, Texas, AuthorLori Stephens paints a picture of the Republic with leadership deciding right versus wrong. The citizens must trust in God and the law. Ms. Stephens does a stellar job of delivering detailed descriptions of people, places, and things which bring readers andlisteners into the story. The realistic dialogue makes the characters unique and relatable like frosting on the cake.

Ashley Rose Kaplan provides a flawless performance in the audiobook with maintaining character accents, well-timed pauses and consistent timing.

Fans of the dystopian genre, Texas and audiobook formats will savor this reality shift that, in many ways, covers the reality of Texas today —well done to both the author and narrator.

Novelist, librettist, lecturer Lori Ann Stephens grew up in North Texas, where she developed an addiction to the arts. Her novels for children and adults include Novalee and the Spider Secret, Some Act of Vision, and Song of the Orange Moons, and her award-winning work has been noted by Glimmer Train Stories, The Chicago Tribune, and the English National Opera. She teaches Writing and Critical Reasoning undergraduate courses, as well as creative writing graduate courses, at Southern Methodist University. She lives in Texas and is a bit mad about her cat.



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    4 replies to "Blue Running"

    • Jan Sikes

      I have loved reading all the reviews for this book, and it is now on my TBR list. 🙂 Congratulations to this author, and thank you for sharing your thoughts on the book, Rox!

      • RoxBurkey

        I bet the reading wil be fun because the audio was great.

    • Kristine Anne Hall

      I also loved the audiobook, and ooh, you nailed it with calling it a “reality shift.” That’s exactly what it is (and a spooky one at that). Thanks for a great review. I

      • RoxBurkey

        Thank you Kristine for reading my review. It is a powerful book.

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