“Bastian, you can do whatever you want, when you want. The only thing in life you hate to do is live it.”
Title: Running With Lions
Author: Julian Winters
Number of pages: 299 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: I loved the characters and how the story was told, so simply yet so deeply.
Bad things about this book: An epilogue maybe? A couple years into the future. I’m greedy, I know.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I loved it!
Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here
Life is a summer storm of insecure thoughts. There’s an umbrella of precautions to prevent insecurity, but it doesn’t always keep the rain out of your face.
I don’t know almost anything about football (or soccer, or however you call the sport with 11 players each team and a round ball). I don’t know much about sports, period. I have read books with characters involve in some kind of sport (real or made up) and I’ve stuck with it and was intrigued by it because the book wasn’t really about the sport per se, but about friendships, love and family. Team spirit gets to me, the comradery, the feelings that come from loving something so much and putting every ounce of you in it: my heart melts!
So when I saw for the very first time someone talking about Running With Lions, I knew that I was going to love it. Diverse book with a sweet love story, relatable themes and full of queer characters? Count me in! And it came out during Pride Month; that had to be a sign I needed to buy it and read it. I’m so glad I did. It was one of the sweetest books I’ve read in quite a while. It did have my dreaded miscommunication that made the characters waste so much time, but the story flowed to well that I almost didn’t mind my frustration. Almost.
“People dislike other people for the wrong reasons,” Emir says. “Doesn’t mean we should act like them.”
This book is sweet and deals with something I haven’t seen dealt with in none of the books I’ve read; male body issues. Sebastian is struggling with his body; he was chubby in the past and the bullism left him so scarred he exercised too much, hates looking at himself in the mirror, and he spirals into self-hate when he sees a tiny bit of fat on his body. His mind makes him see his body as a horrible vessel he’s forced to carry. I struggled a lot reading some scenes because I got him, I really got what he was going through, and I was worried he was overexerting himself with running and too little food.
For such a sought-after emotion, love sure comes with a lot of answerless questions.
I came to care about all the characters, all their different personalities, their flaws, their feelings for each other. I read the book with just a break for dinner. I wanted to see how things were going to end between Sebastian and Emir, how the characters would grow, learn from their mistakes and live their last year of high school being as happy as they could be, surrounded by people they trust and love. Running with Lions put me in such a nostalgic mood: a little sad and a little happy. Those boys have all their lives ahead of themselves. They’re so lucky.
“Just because people create rules doesn’t mean those are your rules.”
With a few tears but a big smile on my face, I can’t but recommend you this book. I’m glad there are much more books like this in this world today. We need them and I’m so happy teenagers today can grow up seeing themselves represented on paper and see that there’s nothing wrong with them. I’d love them to feel that there are people out there that will love them exactly for who they are and that, whatever obstacle is put in their way, they aren’t alone to face them.
Happy Pride Month, everyone! Be proud of who you are!