Running Mates

Emily Locker

Bancroft Press


Edgartown, NC: A place literally divided along ideological lines. Eleventh-grader Annabelle Morningstar lives in Eastside, the liberal part of town. The daughter of a lesbian couple, one of whom is a famous left-wing TV pundit, if there’s a cause for human rights, animal rights, or the environment then Annabelle’s down for supporting it. College looms in her future, and Annabelle is determined to do what she can to improve her chances of getting the right placement. Athletics offers a way to score points, so she joins a select running group to help her train. Enter Gabe Delgado, son of a prominent Cuban Republican Senator.

Gabe is a Northside boy, which means he’s from the rich conservative part of town. His dad represents everything Annabelle despises, and yet she and Gabe are drawn to each other. Gabe is refreshably nice, kind, attentive and thoughtful. Their relationship suffers the slings and arrows of trying to connect across the political divide. Friends turn nasty, accusing Annabelle of selling out. Others seeks to separate them though every and any means necessary, particularly Gabe’s friend, the obnoxious Scottie Peters, and the manipulative Caroline Loran who wants Gabe for herself. With parental pressure increasing on both of them, can Annabelle and Gabe find a way to be their own people on their own terms?

Running Mates is Romeo and Juliet set in modern day America. The reader wants Annabelle and Gabe to succeed in spite of the obstacles, and young readers in particular may relate to them given the current political climate.