For a girl who loved adventure...

... twelve-year old Lia Leonides had the perfect life. Every summer, she and her grandfather traveled the rural roads of England in their gypsy wagon, stopping at fairs and selling horse brasses along the way. It was exactly the life Lia wanted, until the day a mysterious letter arrived. Lia’s grandfather warned her not to get her hopes up, but lifelong dreams are hard to ignore. Lia’s father was alive and looking for her. But when her grandfather suddenly passes away, Lia is sent to work as a servant in an orphanage and is left with a choice that she never wanted to make: let the world decide her future for her, or run away and decide it for herself? Lia, with the help of her beloved pets and some unexpected friends, must take her gypsy wagon south on a harrowing journey before her father disappears forever. A persistent sheriff and the constant threat of misfortune won’t make the trip easy, but Lia and her friends don’t plan to let anything stop them from forging their own destinies.

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What Readers are Saying

Bookworm for Kids:

"This book is proof that historical fiction isn't dull or drab but can be packed full of adventure, friendship and fun."  (Link)


The Booknerd Babes:

"What a really lovely little story for a younger reader. It was creative, sweet, and it had some pretty bleak parts in the beginning to reel you in and put you on a certain level with the main characters."  (Link)


Amazon Reader:

"What a delightful story – great character building by Sally with the story having suspense, sadness, joy, triumph and a happy ending. I can totally visualize the beautiful blue gypsy wagon being disguised as the get-away wagon for the four children and their long journey home. I hope that my granddaughters (12 & 9) will enjoy this story as much as I did." (Link)


Goodreads Reviewer:

"I loved this charming story of a young girl suddenly on her own in the English countryside in 1860. The detailed description takes readers back to a simpler time and paints a vivid picture of a traveling lifestyle in a blue gypsy wagon." (Link)

In the Authors Words

Guest Post on Middle Grade Ninja:

Past Classics Still Inspire the Present (Link)


Guest Post on Unleashing Readers:

Reading the Middle Grade Mind (Link)

About the Author

The Unintended Runaways - Author Photo

Sally Barlow-Perez openly admits that books have taken over a good chunk of her life. She gobbles down two or three library books a week, ranging in genre from young adult, to middle grade, to fantasy, to mystery. She tries to balance her book obsession with writing, hiking, and hanging out with the young people who inspire her. But no matter how hard she tries, she always comes back to books. As a fiction writer, Sally’s focus is curiosity. “Curiosity is a great excuse for writing, as well as for reading,” she says. “Even when I finish a book, I still wonder what the characters are doing!” Sally makes her life in Palo Alto, California. She has two grown sons, whom she believes to be her greatest contribution to mankind. The Unintended Runaways is her first middle-grade novel.