'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 15 March 2019

Review: The Dog Runner

Award-winning author of How to Bee, Bren MacDibble, once again delivers a poignant, thought provoking middle grade adventure.

The Dog Runner is set a few years into the future when a fungus has devastated the world. Nothing grows, all the animals died, anarchy reins in the cities and life is dangerous.

Ella stays inside with her Dad, her older brother, Emery, and their dogs, waiting for Ella’s mum to make her way back through the checkpoints that scatter the city. 

But when her mum doesn’t come, and her Dad disappears after he goes to find her, Ella and Emery are faced with a difficult decision.

With no food and little hope, they leave the city and head into the bush to find safety with Emery’s mum. 

With the help of five dogs and a dry-land dogsled, they venture into the wilds, where no one can be trusted (even when you really, really want to trust them), food and water isn’t guaranteed and there are dangers every step of the way.

The Dog Runner is a wild adventure filled with non-stop, heart-racing action. It’s gripping from page one, and each chapter ends with that magical pull to read just one chapter more.

Bren MacDibble truly is a wordsmith. The worlds she creates are rich and real, her characters so relatable. You will fall into this story so easily, become so obsessed with the journey, it will consume your thoughts until the end.

But as well as being an awesome adventure, The Dog Runner is thought provoking and challenging. It will make you think about the world and our resources and how we’ve become so reliant on other people, systems and technology to provide for us. 

It’s a fantastic story for kids and classrooms, to spark questions and discussion about our world and society.

I also love that the story explores Australia’s landscapes and Indigenous cultures directly through the experiences and emotions of a key character (Emery). Emery’s story gives voice to history, culture, Country and family in the most beautiful and powerful way. 

This book is brilliant — inspiring, action packed, thrilling and addictive. There is some violence, and the use of guns, but it is handled with great care. Nothing is too graphic or confronting.

I highly, highly recommend you read The Dog Runner. It's a book that will stay with you.

Title: The Dog Runner
Author:  Bren MacDibble
Publisher: Allen and Unwin, $16.99
Publication Date: February 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760523572
For ages: 10+
Type: Middle Fiction