Blue Running Cover

Blue Running

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Lori Ann Stephens
Dystopian Fiction / Coming of Age / Suspense
Publisher: Moonflower Publishing
Date of Publication: November, 2022
Number of Pages: 334 pages
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Blue Running cover.

In the new Republic of Texas, guns are compulsory and nothing is forgiven. Blue Running is a gripping coming-of-age thriller set in post-secessionist Texas. A fast-paced, page-turning book, it looks unflinchingly at what the future could hold, and finds hope there.

Fourteen-year-old Bluebonnet Andrews is on the run across the Republic of Texas. An accident with a gun killed her best friend but everyone in the town of Blessing thinks it was murder. Even her father – the town’s drunken deputy – believes she did it. Now, she has no choice but to run. In Texas, murder is punishable by death.

On the road she meets Jet, a pregnant young woman of Latin American heritage. Jet is secretive about her past but she’s just as determined as Blue to get out of Texas before she’s caught and arrested. Together, the two form an unlikely kinship as they make their way past marauding motorcycle gangs, the ever-watchful Texas Rangers, and armed strangers intent on abducting them – or worse. When Blue and Jet finally reach the wall, will they be able to cross the border, or will they be shot down in cold blood like the thousands who have gone before them?

Some things are worth dying for.

Some things are worth dying for. Blue Running by Lori Ann Stephens Available in hardcover, paperback, eBook, and audiobook.


Heat Magazine
“A fast-paced story that races along, and stays with you long after you’ve finished it.”
The American
“An important and unforgettable read.”
Armadillo Magazine
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Clueless Gent’s Rating for Blue Running

5 star rating

Blue Running is the best Texas-set dystopian novel I’ve ever read. As someone currently living in Texas, I found it somewhat unsettling, yet I could not put it down!

The story is set in post-secession Texas, also called the Republic. Two teenage girls—Bluebonnet “Blue” Andrews and Jet—are running from the law (and the lawless) for crimes they didn’t commit, in hopes of getting over the wall surrounding the state and landing in America. They don’t know who they can trust, they have little money, and there is danger everywhere.

This is a story that can leave a reader breathless. Imagine a Texas where everyone high school age and older must always carry a firearm. Imagine a Texas where a motorcycle gang called Mother is so mean and nasty that even law enforcement looks the other way. Imagine a Texas where they not only do everything they can to keep people out, but they also kill people who try to leave. The gap between the wealthy and everyone else is extremely wide, and poverty is a way of life for most Texans.

“Everyone knew the punishment for abortion in the Republic was death.”

As I read this, I began to wonder if life inside East Germany, behind the Berlin Wall, was any worse than this.

I don’t particularly consider this novel to be political, but I think it fits in perfectly with the current political climates of Texas and the United States. It seems that Texas politicians finally won out on their plan to stop gun violence: just arm everybody!

I think everyone who believes that secession would be a good thing for Texas should read this story. Yes—the story is fiction. But what if it wasn’t? As I said, it was very unsettling to me.

Once the two girls get on the run, the pacing picks up and we begin the build to the climax. One thing I really liked, in an unsettling sort of way, was the author’s ability to keep the reader expecting the unexpected. I’m still trying to untie some of the knots in my tummy from following these two girls in their dash for freedom.

Blue and Jet couldn’t be more different in many ways, except for the fact that neither had any friends. Jet liked it that way. She was a loner, and with good reason. She felt safer that way. Watching these two characters evolve in a short time was the highlight of the story to me. Their character arcs were well-received.

“Blessing is like fable to me now, a town with a warning that you don’t hear until you’re far enough away to catch the echo.”

—Blue Andrews

This story played heavily on my emotions. My empathy for the girls, my hatred of guns, and my love of country and state were all very raw by the time I finished the book. I could not read a story like this every day.

I would like to think this was a hard story to write. There is so much evil that when someone comes along with a decent amount of civility, they don’t seem to fit in well with the other characters.

I do recommend this story—highly. Remember, it’s only fiction.

I received a free copy of Blue Running from Lone Star Book Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are my own.

the Author

Author Lori Ann Stephens Photo

Novelist, librettist, lecturer Lori Ann Stephens grew up in North Texas, where she developed an addiction to the arts. Her novels for children and adults include Novalee and the Spider Secret, Some Act of Vision, and Song of the Orange Moons, and her award-winning work has been noted by Glimmer Train Stories, The Chicago Tribune, and the English National Opera. She teaches Writing and Critical Reasoning undergraduate courses, as well as creative writing graduate courses, at Southern Methodist University. She lives in Texas and is a bit mad about her cat.


Blue Running 3D Cover

Paperback of Blue Running
with autographed bookplate mailed separately
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 5/19/23)

Blue Running tour giveaway graphic. Prizes to be awarded precede this image in the post text.

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