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Children's Fiction Runaways

Runaway at Sea

by (author) Mary Razzell

Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Initial publish date
May 2005
Runaways, Adolescence, Post-Confederation (1867-)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2005
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 7 to 12


With her parents on vacation and her stern grandmother's arrival delayed, sixteen-year-old Anne McLaughlin-Scott is on her own for a day in the exciting San Francisco of 1970. Anne feels stifled at home and wants to live with her free-spirited Aunt Ruth in Vancouver, BC. So when she encounters a childhood crush, now a draft dodger heading north himself and investigating a mystery aboard a Vancouver-bound cruise ship . . . well, everything seems to be pushing Anne in the same direction.

Anne finagles a job aboard the Ocean Spirit only to find herself caught up in a typhoid outbreak and torn between her duty to sick passengers, her loyalty to her shipmates and her desire to help the heroic doctor investigating the incident.

In Runaway at Sea, well-known YA author Mary Razzell draws on actual incidents and her own background in nursing to create a gripping medical adventure aboard a cruise ship. And in Anne McLaughlin-Scott, Razzell creates a memorable young heroine whose courage and moral compass serve her well as she navigates the shoals of family conflict, budding sexuality and looming adulthood.

About the author

When Mary’s three children were in high school, she took a night school course in creative writing offered by the Vancouver School Board and sold an article written in that class. Encouraged, she became a part-time student at the University of British Columbia, studied writing under George McWhirter and wrote an adult novel in a tutorial with Carol Shields. This novel was later rewritten as Snow Apples, for young adults, and shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. She went on to have ten more books published, many of them award-winning. Mary’s poetry, articles and short stories have been published and broadcast internationally. She has a broad working background in both medical and surgical nursing and was the project worker for an oral history of nursing in B.C. A certified Childbirth Educator, she taught prenatal classes at Grace Hospital, Vancouver, B.C., until her retirement from active nursing in the ’90s. She is currently a 4th-year student at UBC, majoring in English literature.

Mary Razzell's profile page

Excerpt: Runaway at Sea (by (author) Mary Razzell)

Michael drained his water glass and leaned forward. "What are you doing staying at a pimp hotel?"

"Pimp hotel? I guess that explains the secret staircase off the closet."

"No, it probably led down to a gambling room in the twenties. Most of the old hotels downtown still have them. Do your parents know you're here in the city?"

I shook my head.

"How did I know that? You always were a rebel. I remember the time you were about four and arrived on our doorstep with your suitcase. Said you were running away from home."

Editorial Reviews

"Well-written, fast-paced, and interesting...a great read."
--Glennis Zilm, History of Nursing News

--Darleen R. Golke, Canadian Book Review Annual

"Runaway at Sea is a real page-turner."
--Joanne Peters, CM Magazine

Other titles by Mary Razzell