Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon

Running Barefoot

From goodreads: When Josie Jensen, an awkward 13-year-old musical prodigy, crashes headlong into new kid Samuel Yazzie, an 18-year-old Navajo boy full of anger and confusion, an unlikely friendship blooms.  Josie teaches Samuel about words, music, and friendship, and along the way finds a kindred spirit.  Upon graduation, Samuel abandons the sleepy, small town in search of a future and a life, leaving his young mentor behind.  Many years go by, and Samuel returns to find his old friend in need of the very things she offered him years before.  Their roles reversed, Samuel teaches Josie about life, love, and letting go. Deeply romantic and poignant, ‘Running Barefoot’ is the story of a small town girl and a Native American boy, the ties that bind us to our homes and families, and the love that gives us wings.

Being a HUGE fan of A Different Blue how could I not read, Running Barefoot?  Truth be told I was a bit nervous to read it because what if I didn’t like it?  What if it paled in comparison to a book that I adore?  All these nagging questions had plagued my mind and then I did what I normally don’t do…I started reading reviews. For the most part, they were all positive and why I decided to read them, I have no clue but maybe it was to ease my mind that this book would be an enjoyable one.  Clearly, I had no reason for doubt because Running Barefoot is a beautiful and moving story; I was lost in a world that taught me so many things about life.  Amy Harmon commands your full attention when she creates characters that are filled with such depth that you can’t help but become emotionally invested in them.  It’s times like these when I wished I was a gifted and eloquent reviewer.  Amy Harmon deserves reviews that do her book justice.

“True love suffereth long, and is kind; true love envieth not. True love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. True love does not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil. True love rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. True love beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

This story seemed so gentle and pure, I’m not really sure any other way to describe it but using those two simple words.  I loved all the references about the composers that Josie admired and the Navajo mythology.  Loved it!  This story takes place over the course of 10 years and it’s about an unlikely friendship that is forged between a musical prodigy, Josie and a loner, Samuel.  And that bus ride to school every day moved me to pieces and I felt as if I was on that bus with them.  It was so detailed and colorful that there was no room to doubt anything I was reading.

During their time of many bus rides together, without Josie knowing, she teaches Samuel the meaning of hope through her music and through her innocence but she also learns about his rich Navajo culture.  As this friendship grows, their feelings gradually begin to change and there aren’t any declarations of love but it’s implied through their actions.

I was drawn to Samuel because he was so complex and angry.  He was so unsure of who he was because he was part Caucasian and part Navajo.  If being a teenager isn’t difficult to begin with and you add being bi-racial to the mix, that would take a toll on anyone.  Josie was equally as complex and I easily identified with her because she was thrown into her role as caretaker at a young age due to tragic events.  Both deeply scarred and yet, unknowingly find solace in each other and so their journey begins.

“Like a shoe that has lost its mate is never worn again, I had lost my matching part and didn’t know how to run barefoot.”

Every word written in this book, I felt it and was moved beyond words.  With romance it’s hard to find original and thought-provoking stories but Amy Harmon delivers.  Take a gamble on this book because you’ll be so glad you did.



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