Running On Empty by Colette Ballard

 What does it feel like when you die—in those final moments? Do you feel the physical pain, or just the pain of your regrets? What does it feel like when you realize you can’t answer these questions because you’re not the victim?You’re the killer.

River Daniels lives an ordinary life as a high school junior growing up in the confines of rural Texas until her boyfriend’s brutal attack leaves her both a murderer and a fugitive. When River’s closest girlfriends come to her aid, they make a hasty decision to not only help her, but leave their own troubled lives behind and join in her escape. The girls manage to elude police for months, but with every near-miss, River’s life spirals further out of control, until she finally hits rock bottom. Realizing she must stop endangering her friends and find evidence proving she acted in self-defense, the girls decide to make a risky move. River must face her ugly past and the one person she was protecting the night her world caved in, the guy she has loved for as long as she can remember.
“I was wanted for murder. Ironic how my desire to be wanted by Logan got me into this mess in the first place.”

So I requested this book because I just need something different than the New Adult genre once in awhile. This totally hit the spot, kind of like chocolate on that day of the month! It is about a girl, River, who committed murder in self defense and her quest to prove herself. While there is the deal with the attempted rape issue, I would definitely categorize this as Young Adult/Mystery although there was some romance which made my heart swoon. I just love first love. Yes, I am a complete sucker for it.

“Justice made me dance-barefoot-in-the-grass happy, the lightning-storm angry-sometimes all
within the same minute.”

We should back up a bit before jumping into the romance part however. So much happens before we even get to this point. River grew up in a trailer park so of course was flattered when well to do, football captain, popular boy Logan
showed interest in her. While she did have red flags, I think like all youngsters (myself included), we ignore them. Unfortunately he draws her away from all her best friends, Billi Jo, Kat, and Justice who are the ones who are actually her true friends. When the poo hits the fan, they are the ones who give up their lives, break the law, and fight for her freedom. We get to journey with them through this whole book while River learns to come to terms with what she has done and fight for her freedom.

“Even back then, I knew you were the one. But I wanted forever, not one of those high school flings where we’d break up and then hate each other for some stupid reason.”

Yep, I adore Justice and first loves! So, onto my feelings about the book. As stated above, it is definitely YA and being older, at times, I wanted to jump in the book and smack these kids. I would then realize I was JUST like them years ago and would then settle down and continue reading. The writing was good as was the editing. I did feel at times that this book was LONG. It is under 400 pages so while not short, not exactly long either. It felt longer to me, if that makes sense? I would definitely read more books by Colette Ballard whether they were YA or a different genre if they crossed my path. I guess overall, for me, it was good read. Not exactly light and fluffy but definitely something different for me.