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Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Review: ‘Running Mates’ is a refreshing take on love and politics in today's divided world

Follow two high schoolers on a journey of unlikely connection

D.C. native Emily Locker's new book “Running Mates” is a modern Romeo and Juliet-style novel focusing on today's political climate. The romantic comedy was published last month and has since proven to be a thought provoking and relevant read, both funny and fast-paced. 

Though the book dives deep into the complexities of modern society, romantic moments between the main characters make it a wholesome and binge-worthy read. 

The story is narrated by Anabelle Morningstar, a progressive high school activist, who becomes attracted to Gabe Delgado, a conservative senator's son. Through a journey of personal growth, Annabelle learns more about her identity and values and that it’s okay to have differing opinions from her friend group and family. 

The story raises questions about how people can grapple with today’s polarized political climate in the face of love. Both characters have traits that young adults can relate to, especially as readers see them learning how to form their own opinions. 

“Running Mates” shows that people can come together despite their differences; the characters mature as they engage in tense discussions about their own opinions and values. Annabelle and Gabe evolve their perspectives and deepen their understanding of each other's beliefs.

Beyond this message, these characters’ involvement in politics stands out, highlighting activism as a growing priority for young adults. Anyone could relate to this book in an increasingly digital world where they are confronted with so many challenges happening at once and discourse grows more deeply divided. 

Locker, a full-time psychotherapist, mom of two and now a writer by night, was inspired to write “Running Mates” as her first novel by a real experience she had.  

“At a family outing for my son’s nursery school, I was in a conversation with two other parents, one who was Barack Obama’s former press secretary and the other Mike Pence’s former speech writer, and everyone was getting along swimmingly,” Locker said in an interview with The Eagle.

As a first-time author, Locker’s experience creating this book came with lots of learning curves and adventures. 

“If you want to be a writer, you have to be ready for tons of rejection and ups and downs,” Locker said, “And you have to be able to overcome.” 

Locker said writing the book was a two-year process. She has a strong passion for writing romance and has wanted to become a published author for a long time.

“There is so much going on here, and around the world, that it’s just nice to have this escape element when writing romance,” Locker said. “Developing a story and seeing people connect to the characters and have the characters come to life, is what I loved about this process.”

This article was edited by Marina Zaczkiewicz, Sara Winick and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks and Sarah Clayton. 

arts@theeagleonline.com


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