Book Reviews · Children's · Fiction · Young Adult

Review: Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth

Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth
Published June 13 2017 by Orion
RRP AUD $15.99

Join 12-year-old Tash and her best friend Sam in a story of adventure, survival and hope, set in the vivid Himalayan landscape of Tibet and India. Filled with friendship, love and courage, this young girl’s thrilling journey to save her parents is an ideal read for children aged 9-12.

There are two words that are banned in Tibet. Two words that can get you locked in prison without a second thought. I watch the soldiers tramping away and call the words after them. ‘Dalai Lama.’

Tash has to follow many rules to survive in Tibet, a country occupied by Chinese soldiers. But when a man sets himself on fire in protest and soldiers seize Tash’s parents, she and her best friend Sam must break the rules. They are determined to escape Tibet – and seek the help of the Dalai Lama himself in India.

And so, with a backpack of Tash’s father’s mysterious papers and two trusty yaks by their side, their extraordinary journey across the mountains begins.

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I hardly knew anything about this book, much less the political aspects in Tibet. I found the book charming and informative, with facts printed in the last few pages. The book itself is gorgeous, the story is split into a lot of chapters, and each chapter break is beautifully decorated in mandalas and other designs, making the book as stunning inside as it is outside.

Jess’s style of writing in this book is very simple, but that doesn’t take anything away from the story. It felt like I was watching everything unfold from the eyes of a child, which I thought would be easy for young readers to understand, as well as helping older readers see what it would’ve been like from a younger viewpoint.

The story also doesn’t shy away from more violent or disturbing events, like the man setting himself on fire, as said in the blurb, but it didn’t really phase me, or make me feel disgusted. I felt more sad that the situation was so bad, that someone resorted to doing that. I think the reaction to these scenes would depend on the person though, so do be careful if sharing the story with younger readers.

The characters were so precious to me, I loved how they didn’t conform and kept their own cultures. I loved the character relationships in this story. I have a soft spot for books that have strong family relationships, and strong friendships, and this one had both. YAY! The whole plot of the story is Tash going the extra mile (heh) to save her parents, how sweet is that??? I love it. And, on the journey

**MINOR SPOILER FOLLOWS BEWARE BEWARE BEWARE** The most beautiful part, I think, was when Tash had an opportunity to do as a soldier would’ve done and left someone to their would-have-been-justified death, but she took the high road and chose to help him instead.

The only real thing I had an issue with was how quickly everything fell into place in the last quarter of the book, I felt like that could’ve been expanded on a bit more, but besides that I really enjoyed this book, it warmed my heart and I learnt so much from it. I recommend this to young readers, maybe 10+, and anyone who’s looking for a lovely adventurous tale.

I received a review copy from the publisher



ABOUT THE AUTHORImage result for running on the roof of the world jess butterworth

Jess spent her childhood between the UK and India, and grew up hearing stories about the Himalayas from her grandmother. She’s lived in India and even met with the Dalai Lama. She studied creative writing at Bath Spa and now lives between Seattle and Somerset.


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