Tally is eleven years old and she’s just like her friends. Well, sometimes she is. If she tries really hard to be. Because there’s something that makes Tally not the same as her friends. Something she can’t cover-up, no matter how hard she tries: Tally is autistic.
Tally’s autism means there are things that bother her even though she wishes they didn’t. It means that some people misunderstand, her and feel frustrated by her. People think that because Tally’s autistic, she doesn’t realise what they’re thinking, but Tally sees and hears – and notices – all of it. And, honestly? That’s not the easiest thing to live with.
AJ’s grandfather has always been the one to keep his unusual family together, so when he dies things start to unravel at the edges. AJ is worried about his parents but they don t really seem to notice. In order to deal with his grief and to keep his anxiety at bay, AJ does what he and his grandfather did best: running. Round and round the Olympic Park, aiming for the cross country trials, running to escape, AJ only seems to be heading ever closer to disaster. Running On Empty is a beautiful book about false starts and emotional journeys, with hope as the ultimate finishing line. From the author of Little Bits of Sky.
The hurricane is Wills. Chris’s thirteen-year-old brother. He has A.D.D. – Attention Deficit Disorder. Chris says it stands for Acts Dumb and Daft. It’s not easy being eleven and having a brother who causes so much chaos around the house. Sometimes Wills acts like he’s six years younger, sometimes like he’s two. He throws food on the floor, has tantrums and teases Chris. When Chris and Wills’ dad moves out they all feel abandoned. Chris feels he has to be even more supportive towards his mum when sometimes all he wants to do is shout and scream too. And there’s more: Wills is up to something – hanging out with a bad crowd, shoplifting. Then Chris finds out Wills has a wad of money under his mattress. He knows he is up to something, but he’s just not sure what.