Book Thoughts: Now is the Time for Running by Michael Williams

(**Received from publisher in exchange for a thoughtful review)

Just down the road from their families, Deo and his friends play soccer in the dusty fields of Zimbabwe, cheered on by Deo’s older brother, Innocent. It is a day like any other . . . until the soldiers arrive and Deo and Innocent are forced to run for their lives, fleeing the wreckage of their village for the distant promise of safe haven. Along the way, they face the prejudice and poverty that await refugees everywhere, and must rely on the kindness of people they meet to make it through. But when tragedy strikes, Deo’s love of soccer is all he has left. Can he use that gift to find hope once more?

Relevant, timely, and accessibly written, Now Is the Time For Running is a staggering story of survival that follows Deo and his mentally handicapped older brother on a transformative journey that will stick with readers long after the last page.

Now is the Time for Running is a heart-aching story told from a teenager’s point of view. It is a novel full of brother love, loss, self-discovery and dealing with the world around you.

The story is eye-opening. The events that occur in this novel are things you don’t want to hear about but they’re real. Every cry for mercy, every soul that is lost and every person who has given up is what is going on every day. Reading this novel in a safe, warm spot of your home makes your heart ache and your stomach churn. It bothered me that I was in a content bubble when so many out there suffered.

I loved the message this novel was conveying. You don’t really get to it until the end of the book so I’m not going to give it away. But I promise it will make you smile and realize the future of the world isn’t doomed.

Williams’s writing is simple. Still, every word creates detailed scenes in your mind as if you were there. I could feel Deo’s terror, Innoncent’s innocence and the feeling of dirt rising up from the ground as the soccer ball was kicked around. It was easy to empathize and follow the characters as they made their journey.

At first I thought Deo’s voice made him seem younger to me than he actually was. When I found out he was fourteen I had to wrap my head around his true age. I thought he was around ten or eleven. As the story progressed, the voice became Deo. I realized his voice did not make him seem younger at all.

Now is the Time for Running is a moving novel. I suggest you pick it up when you get the chance.

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