Running Barefoot – Review

RBWhen Josie Jensen, an awkward 13-year-old musical prodigy crashes headlong into new-comer Samuel Yazzie, an 18-year-old Navajo boy full of anger and confusion, an unlikely friendship blooms. Josie teaches Samuel about words, music and friendship, and along the way finds a kindred spirit. Upon graduation, Samuel abandons the sleepy, small town in search of a future and a life, leaving his young friend behind. Many years go by and Samuel returns, finding Josie in need of the very things she offered him years before. Their roles reversed, Samuel teaches Josie about life, love, and letting go. Deeply romantic and poignant, Running Barefoot is the story of a small town girl and a Native American boy, the ties that bind them to their homes and families, and the love that gives them wings.

I don’t know if everyone has moments like this when they read: Your eyes read a line or paragraph and it’s filled with such wisdom, you feel complete ecstasy. You may feel the need to weep and let out a raucous belly-laugh all at once. The only way I can describe this is as a swelling of the soul. Very few authors have this power over me. In fact, I can think of three (living today): Tarryn Fisher, Christine Brae, and Amy Harmon. Their writing describes emotions and thoughts in ways I’ve never been able to put into words myself. They write truths that many may find too deep to explore in our shallow world.

“Some things can’t be explained or shared; they lose their luster when passed around.”

Numerous times while reading Running Barefoot, I’ve experienced this soul-swelling. I had to shut the book and relish in the words flowing through my mind and into my heart. This is why I read and what I seek in books. These moments of human connection are difficult to find in this world. Moments that aren’t found in our daily communication or small talk, but in moments of truly understanding the complexities of our world and the people in it. A comparable experience could be while watching someone do something kind for another, without seeking recognition, but simply to do right. These are the moments I live for, the simplicity I wish others saw easily. Amy Harmon sees it too, and that is precisely why she is one of my go-to authors. Her writing is magnificent and I never want it to end. In fact, I was so inspired, I raced to my computer after shutting my book to jot my thoughts and capture this feeling. Now, back to the book…

I’ve officially finished reading Running Barefoot and now can write a proper review. This book will always have a special place in my heart and will definitely be a book I revisit again in the future. If ever there was a character who’s personality represented me in my early teens, it would without a doubt be Josie Jensen. Tall, blonde, blue-eyed, a woman among the girls her own age, solitary, with wisdom beyond that of her peers – basically the odd duck. However, I could only wish to be musically inclined and talented on the piano. I’m tone deaf and have no rhythm to speak of. I truly appreciated being able to discover music through Josie’s eyes as I read. In fact, I’ve been listening to the Running Barefoot playlist on Spotify nearly all day long for three days straight. I’ve always wanted to learn more about Classical music, but I’ve never pursued those wants further. By reading this book, Amy allowed me to do just that with this fictional story. I also enjoyed learning more about the Navajo, especially in regards to their language. I was fascinated by the research that went into this book.

As always, I appreciate how Amy Harmon weaves Faith, culture, and a deep human understanding into each novel. I believe she is truly filled with the Spirit as she writes, given a beautiful gift from God to reach others. I felt such a deep sense of wonder, similar to when I read the Bible, as I was reading this book. In fact, I was inspired to take action in different areas of my life, thanks to this story. I felt those little nudges that only can come from God and decided to listen to them. After seeing how these actions played out, I’m intensely grateful I read this book when I did. As I mentioned on Instagram, for years, something always came between myself and this book and I finally decided I would read it no matter what this month. Books almost always come to us when they’re meant to – when their messages can be most useful to our present lives, and Running Barefoot was no exception. For that reason alone, this book will always be near and dear to me.

I can’t recommend this one enough. It’s one I know will be safe to hand my daughter someday, with its sweet and romantic story of an unconditional love through the ages. I only wish I knew Josie and Samuel in real-life!

Purchase on Amazon!


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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Berit&V@Audio Killed the Bookmark says:

    Fab review x

    I love Amy Harmon, i think I’ve read all of her books now, and I’ve loved every single one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much.
      I’m kind of savoring them. I still have to read her Purgatory books and then I’ll have read everything. 😦


  2. Amy Harmon books are definitely beautiful! I really enjoyed this one, too. I’m reading From Sand and Ash right now, which is actually really depressing, but still so well written.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s my favorite of hers, but yes, it is quite depressing. I hope you like it in the end. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ashley, this review is so beautiful! I need to try this author asap. Your picture suits the way you’ve described the book, too!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Jen! I really appreciate that. ❤️ I hope you’ll like her books too!


  4. GoodeyReads says:

    I [think] this is the only book of hers I haven’t read yet! Clearly I must get on this ASAP. Wonderful review. 🙂 Amy Harmon is definitely one of my top authors.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It was one of her only books I hadn’t read yet too. I still have to get to the Purgatory books, but I want to savor them!

      Liked by 1 person

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