Review: Running Strong by Diana Sharples

Running Strong by Diana Sharples

Running Strong
Diana Sharples
Published on June 29, 2018

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

About Running Strong

Races are won in the turns.

Flannery Moore rides motocross bikes and can’t remember the last time she wore a dress. She’s also in love with one of her riding friends. Although nothing else could make her do so, Flannery decides to redefine herself into the kind of girl Tyler Dorset might fall for.

Despite his mother’s desperate efforts to keep Tyler close to home, he has dreams of his own. Dreams that will take him far away from sleepy and safe Bentley, North Carolina. Will Flannery understand how a well-played guitar solo moves his soul? Or will their bond fade away if he’s not riding his dirt bike anymore?

When her mother is diagnosed with cancer, Flannery is compelled to make sacrifices, some obvious, some that break her heart. Will this mean settling for “less than” with Tyler when she longs for so much more?

For the sake of staying true to themselves, both Tyler and Flannery are pushed to make the choice between running away… or running strong.

Running Strong on Goodreads

My Review

This was such a sweet book. I read RUNNING LEAN some time ago when it came out, but I hadn’t realized this companion book existed. RUNNING STRONG takes place after the end of RUNNING LEAN and follows two characters who appeared in that first book: Connor’s friends Tyler and Flannery.

I think Flannery’s journey affected me the most. After her mom’s cancer diagnosis, Flannery struggles with a lot of fear and anxiety over what will happen with her mom. Her relationship with Tyler becomes both a happy place and another stressor to her. I found it easy to identify with her roiling emotions and her battle over wanting to be herself or change herself so she fit into popular ideas about femininity.

Ultimately, Flannery decides the person she needs to please, in terms of the way she dresses and acts, is herself. I liked that she’s both the motorcross girl and the girl who likes makeup.

Tyler’s guitar playing added a lot of depth to his character, I thought. It really showed a lot of passion and drive, and I liked that. His struggle to break away from an overprotective mom also felt pretty real.

Overall, I liked this book. In terms of spirituality, it’s definitely written from a Christian perspective, but I didn’t think it sounded preachy. It’s a sweet, clean story, perfect for readers who are just beginning to read romance or who are looking for a gentle love story that also tackles family issues. You can read my review of Diana Sharples’ first novel, RUNNING LEAN, here.

Running Strong on Amazon

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Major characters are white. One character has recently been through recovery from an eating disorder. Flannery’s mom receives a cancer diagnosis early RUNNING STRONG. Most of the characters are Christian.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. References to sex—Tyler wants to make sure he doesn’t go too far with Flannery, since they both believe in waiting until marriage to have sex.

Spiritual Content
Both Flannery and Tyler’s families attend church. At one point, Tyler’s family meets with a pastor for counseling. He uses a Bible verse to talk about speaking life, or saying positive things, to one another.

Violent Content

Drug Content
Tyler’s mom believes his uncle drinks and uses drugs. Another family member died from a drug overdose in the past.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

2 Responses to Review: Running Strong by Diana Sharples

  1. Colleen Phillips says:

    I’ve never read any of Diana’s work, but I met her at Mount Hermon and liked her!! Thank you for this review. It is wonderful that sweet stories still exist out there. I hold that a lot of girls still want them and definitely need them!

    • Kasey says:

      Yay! I met her once years ago at a conference, too,and I agree! She’s pretty awesome. 🙂