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Stranger Things: Runaway Max

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Don't miss this gripping, emotional prequel to the hit Netflix series, Stranger Things! The never-before-told backstory of the beloved Dig Dug maven, Max Mayfield, written by New York Times bestselling author Brenna Yovanoff. This must-read novel, based on the hit Netflix series, Stranger Things, explores Max's past--the good and the bad--as well as how she came Don't miss this gripping, emotional prequel to the hit Netflix series, Stranger Things! The never-before-told backstory of the beloved Dig Dug maven, Max Mayfield, written by New York Times bestselling author Brenna Yovanoff. This must-read novel, based on the hit Netflix series, Stranger Things, explores Max's past--the good and the bad--as well as how she came to find her newfound sense of home in Hawkins, Indiana.


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Don't miss this gripping, emotional prequel to the hit Netflix series, Stranger Things! The never-before-told backstory of the beloved Dig Dug maven, Max Mayfield, written by New York Times bestselling author Brenna Yovanoff. This must-read novel, based on the hit Netflix series, Stranger Things, explores Max's past--the good and the bad--as well as how she came Don't miss this gripping, emotional prequel to the hit Netflix series, Stranger Things! The never-before-told backstory of the beloved Dig Dug maven, Max Mayfield, written by New York Times bestselling author Brenna Yovanoff. This must-read novel, based on the hit Netflix series, Stranger Things, explores Max's past--the good and the bad--as well as how she came to find her newfound sense of home in Hawkins, Indiana.

30 review for Stranger Things: Runaway Max

  1. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    This made me want to rewatch Stranger Things S2 which I absolutely do not have time to do right now, so thank you, little book. :') I did like it! Books adapted from shows/movies usually fail in depth, but this had some terrific things to say about women and strength (like Max realising being a tough tomboy wasn't the only way to be a fierce woman) and the writing was fantastic. The plot was best when it wasn't from scenes in the show. Otherwise it just glossed over them? Very little dialogue. M This made me want to rewatch Stranger Things S2 which I absolutely do not have time to do right now, so thank you, little book. :') I did like it! Books adapted from shows/movies usually fail in depth, but this had some terrific things to say about women and strength (like Max realising being a tough tomboy wasn't the only way to be a fierce woman) and the writing was fantastic. The plot was best when it wasn't from scenes in the show. Otherwise it just glossed over them? Very little dialogue. Mostly Max just recounting events. I did love her perspective though 🤗 Agh I just love Max! (I always wonder who these books are for though? It read very MG, which is fine, but I feel like most people who watch/love the show are older than that?)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This emotional, must-read book tells the background of the beloved and independent Max Mayfield, and of her arrival in Hawkins, IN. While Max does her best to accept the reality of her new home, she also has to deal with family issues at home and a step-brother with a horrible temper. But then she meets Lucas and Dustin; could she have finally found friends? Runaway Max takes place during the events of season 2 through Max’s point of view, and we learn of her background in CA (includi This emotional, must-read book tells the background of the beloved and independent Max Mayfield, and of her arrival in Hawkins, IN. While Max does her best to accept the reality of her new home, she also has to deal with family issues at home and a step-brother with a horrible temper. But then she meets Lucas and Dustin; could she have finally found friends? Runaway Max takes place during the events of season 2 through Max’s point of view, and we learn of her background in CA (including meeting Billy for the first time) through flashbacks and what led to her family’s move to Indiana. There was a good bit of content from season 2 in the book from the parts where Max was present, and it was really insightful to see things from her angle, like meeting the team, growing closer to Lucas, fighting the demodogs, and finally standing up to her brother. I’ve seen that most of the negative reviews of this book stated that it offered no new material or information into the world of Hawkins and the Upside-down. Yes, this is true. But if you can go in knowing that, I think you may enjoy it more. Go in expecting to learn more about the spunky redhead Max and her bullying step-brother Billy, and I think you’ll enjoy this little companion book to the Stranger Things TV series. Such a quick, fun read that helped me fall even more in love with Max Mayfield.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Renee M. P. T. Kray

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 2.5 stars. This book is season 2 as told through Max's eyes, which actually doesn't bug me as a concept. I liked delving into Max's home life and her thought process, and there were some really solid scenes. To be fair, the first half was really enjoyable. But ultimately, it didn't even attempt to fill in any blanks or add to the story of the show. The ending of the season, which is arguably Max's best stuff, was skimmed over so quickly that, as a ST fan, I was genuinely in 2.5 stars. This book is season 2 as told through Max's eyes, which actually doesn't bug me as a concept. I liked delving into Max's home life and her thought process, and there were some really solid scenes. To be fair, the first half was really enjoyable. But ultimately, it didn't even attempt to fill in any blanks or add to the story of the show. The ending of the season, which is arguably Max's best stuff, was skimmed over so quickly that, as a ST fan, I was genuinely insulted. Add that with repetative prose (she describes figuring out who Nancy is twice on two separate pages) and typos and it's clear that no one really cared about the ending of this book. Lucas is presented as "nice," but nothing else. We actually get more emotional Mileven stuff in here than Lumax, which I thought was just.... odd. Isn't this about Max? Wouldn't this be a great opportunity to really focus on their relationship? One would think. As mentioned above, no creative attempt was made to give any supplement to the show. We don't get anything about, maybe, what went on after that last night- did Max go home and face her mom? Or did she camp out at the Byers' with the guys and wait for everyone to come back? How might that first awkward conversation between her and El have gone? Instead we get a summary so brief and pointless it's basically a sparknotes of the end of the show. We end at the snowball, not even with Max looking at Lucas but with her "craning her neck" to watch Mileven. Whut. Even. Like I said. Enjoyable through the first half. Insulting in the last half. I went down from a 4 star rating to a 2.5 because of the last 75-100 pages. If you want a purely movie tie in, you'll enjoy this. But don't look for anything to expand the ST universe because this one just kind of gave up on that halfway through.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Yon Nyan (BiblioNyan)

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Cat abuse of any kind is a colossal fucking no way for me. I will instantly drop the book. This includes (view spoiler)[fucking around with a dead cat for the sheer sadistic joy of it, especially when it’s obvious the cat suffered before dying. (hide spoiler)] Fuck that bullshite. Fuck. It. I know it was done to establish a character’s personality as a whole, but there are ways to do that which doesn’t involve this kind of crap.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    I’m not sure what I expected but what we got is a retelling of season 2 through Max’s narrative (which anyone could have gotten from watching the show) and a little bit of backstory. Nothing was added to the canon of the show that felt important.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marilee

    I really enjoyed this! The book takes place during the actual events of Stranger Things, season 2. We get the story from Max's perspective, as she gets to know Lucas, Dustin, Mike, and Will. It's not a shot for shot, line by line remake of pivotal scenes, and I really like that. Where the book shines, is showing what it's like in Max's home life. We know from the show that things aren't shiny perfect in her home environment. The book delves into that a little more and I would add that there are I really enjoyed this! The book takes place during the actual events of Stranger Things, season 2. We get the story from Max's perspective, as she gets to know Lucas, Dustin, Mike, and Will. It's not a shot for shot, line by line remake of pivotal scenes, and I really like that. Where the book shines, is showing what it's like in Max's home life. We know from the show that things aren't shiny perfect in her home environment. The book delves into that a little more and I would add that there are trigger warnings for scenes of physical abuse. Out of all the stranger things novels that have been published so far this one is definately my favorite.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dichotomy Girl

    Initial Review: This has left me feeling very ambivalent. On the one hand, very excited to get something new from Brenna Yovanoff, on the other hand, media tie-ins never work well for me. I'm going to think happy thoughts and hope for the best. After Reading: This wasn't bad for what it was, but I was left feeling that I didn't read a *true* Brenna Yovanoff book. 3.5 Stars

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen Kohoutek

    Through what I'm sure was no fault of the author, who probably was working within guidelines on a project like this, I was a little disappointed with the shortness of the book, and the fact that much of it re-tells events from the show's second season. I was expected more of a full-fledged prequel, leading up to Max's arrival in Hawkins, with more of a full story in that timeframe. Once I got used to that, though, I did really enjoy it. We are re-watching this season in preparation for the third Through what I'm sure was no fault of the author, who probably was working within guidelines on a project like this, I was a little disappointed with the shortness of the book, and the fact that much of it re-tells events from the show's second season. I was expected more of a full-fledged prequel, leading up to Max's arrival in Hawkins, with more of a full story in that timeframe. Once I got used to that, though, I did really enjoy it. We are re-watching this season in preparation for the third, and getting the story from Max's point of view really adds to it. But yeah -- this proved I could read a whole series of books from Max's POV. She's a great character, her struggles were really relatable (despite the over-the-top family drama and the threat from the Upside Down, both which come from the show), and her victories were way more emotionally satisfying than I expected.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ashes

    Only for the fans of Stranger Things. It's YA, and the writing isn't spectacular. It's a quick and easy read, but nothing more; something you'd want to pick up after season 3 if you're still not over it. It's basically season 2 as seen through Max's eyes, but not a recap of it; mostly it's Max's backstory and what was going on with her behind the scenes. By proxy, there's also a lot about Billy. We get to see how awful he was, and at the same time, how utterly broken. You could sum up the wh Only for the fans of Stranger Things. It's YA, and the writing isn't spectacular. It's a quick and easy read, but nothing more; something you'd want to pick up after season 3 if you're still not over it. It's basically season 2 as seen through Max's eyes, but not a recap of it; mostly it's Max's backstory and what was going on with her behind the scenes. By proxy, there's also a lot about Billy. We get to see how awful he was, and at the same time, how utterly broken. You could sum up the whole book with one word: abuse. In the end, both of them were victims. I felt for Max. And I felt for Billy. Especially after season 3 - which, by the way, featured a different flashback to how and when Max and Billy first met. So it gives a different spin to their relationship. Which keeps me from treating the content of the book as 100% canonical.

  10. 5 out of 5

    katabaza

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. i paid money to read about neil hargrove beating his son with a belt and said son burning a dead cat. also very exact descriptions of billy's eyes. that was worth at least one star more.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Derek Neveu

    Having already watched season 2 of Stranger Things three times over, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to get out of this text. At worst I feared a lack luster retread, and at best I feared a weird fan girl take on the series and character. I’m happy to say it was neither. Yovanoff does an excellent job of channeling the spirit of Mad Max, and retelling season two in an original and interesting way. She fills in a lot of gaps that help bring depth not only to Max’s character, but to the who Having already watched season 2 of Stranger Things three times over, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to get out of this text. At worst I feared a lack luster retread, and at best I feared a weird fan girl take on the series and character. I’m happy to say it was neither. Yovanoff does an excellent job of channeling the spirit of Mad Max, and retelling season two in an original and interesting way. She fills in a lot of gaps that help bring depth not only to Max’s character, but to the whole Mayfield/Hargrove clan. Season three does put small crimps into some of Billy’s character development in his text, but nothing major. Max’s narration is authentic and believable, the retelling aspects of season two are not overdone, and the original content of Max’s past in San Diego and her life with Billy and Neil help shed some light on the underlying, brooding, and conflicted character that we all met and fell in love with in season two. It’s an easy YA read, but if you are a fan of this series, you’ll be a fan of this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    Max is a great addition to Stranger Things in season two, so I was really looking forward to this prequel/ companion YA novel from her perspective. The best part of this novel are the flashbacks set shortly before she comes into the show. It's pretty great getting to see all of her strengths and internal feelings about what's going on in her life and her family. The weakest points of the book are scenes that happen during the course of the show involving the main characters and plot instead of s Max is a great addition to Stranger Things in season two, so I was really looking forward to this prequel/ companion YA novel from her perspective. The best part of this novel are the flashbacks set shortly before she comes into the show. It's pretty great getting to see all of her strengths and internal feelings about what's going on in her life and her family. The weakest points of the book are scenes that happen during the course of the show involving the main characters and plot instead of sticking with her and her family. The main reason for that is because the writing really glosses over it, so basically if you haven't watched the tv series you would really out of the loop. Otherwise, though, the writing's quite good and we get some nice character insight on Max. I definitely want to rewatch season two again.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Krasowski-Olmstead

    Wow. I have never really read YA before, as you can tell by my profile, but being a fan of Stranger Things, I gave it a try. I read this book in 1 day... This book was phenomenal. The backstory of Max's life was a great insight into how the character grew to be the character we love in the show. Her struggles with moving and dealing with Billy on a consistent basis was a fascinating story. It painted a great picture of the good and bad parts of the relationship we see in the show. Lastly, I want Wow. I have never really read YA before, as you can tell by my profile, but being a fan of Stranger Things, I gave it a try. I read this book in 1 day... This book was phenomenal. The backstory of Max's life was a great insight into how the character grew to be the character we love in the show. Her struggles with moving and dealing with Billy on a consistent basis was a fascinating story. It painted a great picture of the good and bad parts of the relationship we see in the show. Lastly, I want to comment on how well the author portrayed the events in season two through Max's eyes. It was amazing to understand the thoughts and feelings of Max as events unfold through her lens. To any Stranger Things fan contemplating buying this book, I really recommend it. You will not be disappointed.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    This book is quick and easy to read. You get to see a bit of Max's past before she moves to Hawkins. There's a lot of tell vs. show, like explaining a conversation from the show rather than using the actual dialogue from the show. The actual dialogue would have made this more fun, though I suspect they shorten conversations to a short couple-sentence description assuming readers have seen the show. I was hoping this would have something more interesting and unique, was hoping to care This book is quick and easy to read. You get to see a bit of Max's past before she moves to Hawkins. There's a lot of tell vs. show, like explaining a conversation from the show rather than using the actual dialogue from the show. The actual dialogue would have made this more fun, though I suspect they shorten conversations to a short couple-sentence description assuming readers have seen the show. I was hoping this would have something more interesting and unique, was hoping to care a bit more about Max, but I felt this wasn't fleshed out enough. It was okay, but I think a novel about any other character would have been vastly more interesting. (When are we getting a novel about Steve?!)

  15. 5 out of 5

    thereadingowlvina (Elvina Ulrich)

    ***4.5 stars*** For fans of Stranger Things, this book will feel like déjà vu. The plot is actually based on Season 2 where we were first introduced to Max (Maxine) Mayfield. But before you decide not to read this book, I honestly think that this book is a decent read as it delves more into the backstories of Max and Billy. It's like watching Season 2 from Max's perspective. I actually enjoyed this book as I get to know more about Max and Billy. And I even feel sorry for Billy! It's a quick read ***4.5 stars*** For fans of Stranger Things, this book will feel like déjà vu. The plot is actually based on Season 2 where we were first introduced to Max (Maxine) Mayfield. But before you decide not to read this book, I honestly think that this book is a decent read as it delves more into the backstories of Max and Billy. It's like watching Season 2 from Max's perspective. I actually enjoyed this book as I get to know more about Max and Billy. And I even feel sorry for Billy! It's a quick read with good writing and mellifluous storytelling. This book did not significantly change anything we already know about Season 2 but it sure helps me to connect with Max and Billy in a deeper way. Hence, I would still recommend this book to fans of Stranger Things!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Although I wasn't sure how I would like a book told from the perspective of a teenage girl it was an engaging, if quick read. Basically we get to see the events of season 2 through Max's eyes, but also expanded her backstory. Through Max, we also get to see the events of the season from the perspective of an outsider.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gabriela Kozhuharova

    Still haven't watched Stranger Things (I know, shame on me), but nonetheless I really enjoyed this novel. It's a meaningful story about abusive households and broken families, and the main character, Maxine, managed to draw me in with her point of view. I'm sure I would have liked it more in context, but still a good read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Megan Ashcroft

    Loved reading from the perspective of one of my favourite Stranger Things Characters as well as learning more about here, most of the book was Season 2 from Max's perspective but that didn't make me dislike the book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hope (HopelessBookAddict)

    This was cute but I didnt think it was necessary for story development.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    I really liked the book because I got to know more about her backstory. Ever since max appeared on season 2, I was curious about her. If you like Stranger things you will DEFINITELY enjoy this novel!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sami

    This is a fantastic book! I think it goes without saying that if you are a fan of Stranger Things fan, you’re going to love this. I’m seeing a lot of comments about this just being Season 2 from Max’s perspective so nothing new etc. Well, it is, and it’s awesome! I felt this book to be like those film bonus director’s cut kind of material. You know the story from the show, but it’s just full of background info and gives us an opportunity to be part of Max’s thought process. I list This is a fantastic book! I think it goes without saying that if you are a fan of Stranger Things fan, you’re going to love this. I’m seeing a lot of comments about this just being Season 2 from Max’s perspective so nothing new etc. Well, it is, and it’s awesome! I felt this book to be like those film bonus director’s cut kind of material. You know the story from the show, but it’s just full of background info and gives us an opportunity to be part of Max’s thought process. I listened to the Audiobook and the production was pretty good...

  22. 5 out of 5

    LaTonya Reed

    I really enjoyed this audio. I found myself rooting for Max! There were definitely some twist and turns that caught me off guard but it was well put together.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Honestly, I was kind of meh about Max on Season 2, but ended up liking her in Season 3- this book definitely would have made me like her sooner! The audiobook was great! It does rehash some of Season 2, but I really liked seeing things through Max's eyes.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chuy Ruiz

    It was entertaining. 3 1/2 stars really. But 3 feels harsh. This one mostly runs alongside the events of season 2. Just from Max's perspective. You learn more about her home life and family, and Billy. But beyond that, it's all in Season 2.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris Wermeskerch

    Mostly a re-telling of ST season 2 from Max's POV. A worthwhile endeavor, but it doesn't really add much to the season. Key moments you'd think would garner more attention are completely glossed over - what did Max do after she knocked Billy out? Instead, we get flashbacks to growing up with Billy and Neil, learning what it was like to live with two powder kegs. Not a bad read, it was quick for sure, but I'm thinking it's too similar to Dark Horse's ST: The Other Side, where we get a POV story t Mostly a re-telling of ST season 2 from Max's POV. A worthwhile endeavor, but it doesn't really add much to the season. Key moments you'd think would garner more attention are completely glossed over - what did Max do after she knocked Billy out? Instead, we get flashbacks to growing up with Billy and Neil, learning what it was like to live with two powder kegs. Not a bad read, it was quick for sure, but I'm thinking it's too similar to Dark Horse's ST: The Other Side, where we get a POV story that doesn't really contribute much to the overall story. (As an aside: there were quite a few typos that slipped in, and most that I identified weren't even questionable commas. One example? "Dart; brought friends.")

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I liked this as a companion novel, and it definitely gave a bit of a background to Max and Billy. It didn't give a whole lot of information we couldn't glean from the show, but it was entertaining to see everything unfold from Max's perspective.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Zachary Johnson

    1.Max-She is a female and the main character. She is a tomboy with a fierce attitude. Billy-He is Max's big brother. He is very violent and a drug addicted high schooler. Lucas-Max's boyfriend and he is very nice and convinces Max that Will really disappeared in the upside down. 2.The main setting is in Hawkins Indiana in the 1980's mostly in the outdoors or Max's house. 3.A main theme in the story is to live life to the foolest and try new things. 4.An action that hooke 1.Max-She is a female and the main character. She is a tomboy with a fierce attitude. Billy-He is Max's big brother. He is very violent and a drug addicted high schooler. Lucas-Max's boyfriend and he is very nice and convinces Max that Will really disappeared in the upside down. 2.The main setting is in Hawkins Indiana in the 1980's mostly in the outdoors or Max's house. 3.A main theme in the story is to live life to the foolest and try new things. 4.An action that hooked me was when Billy broke Nates arm for trying to stand up for Max. I wanted to keep reading to see what would happen to Billy and also what would happen between Max and Nate. 5.A point of conflict in the story was when Max was very mad at the group for keeping secrets from her and she didn't ant to talk to them or listen to whatever they had to say. They drifted apart. 6.External Conflict-Max VS Billy Max VS Party. Internal Conflict-Max VS Self consciousness. 7.I give this book a five star rating because every single moment was gripping and I was never once bored reading this book. It had great dialogue and the story was very easy to understand. On top of all that, I love to read sci-fi and monster books. If you like 80's references, Sci-Fi, Drama, Life story type books, This is the perfect type of book for you. From life problems, to monster fighting, to parent and sibling trouble, this was an amazing book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Uche

    I finished it so that's something.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Phil

    I've been obsessed with Stranger Things this summer. I got up at 6am on July 4th to start watching Season 3, and ended up watching all eight episodes continuously even though I started feeling kinda sick and temporary lost partial vision in one eye. So naturally I've been attempting to keep up with the "official Stranger Things novels," which have been generally disappointing so far. Until now. Even though Max Mayfield is not my favorite character, (Joyce Byers is) Brenna Yovanoff doe I've been obsessed with Stranger Things this summer. I got up at 6am on July 4th to start watching Season 3, and ended up watching all eight episodes continuously even though I started feeling kinda sick and temporary lost partial vision in one eye. So naturally I've been attempting to keep up with the "official Stranger Things novels," which have been generally disappointing so far. Until now. Even though Max Mayfield is not my favorite character, (Joyce Byers is) Brenna Yovanoff does an excellent job of extrapolating her story in a cohesive and appealing way. Yovanoff spliced together scenes from the series told from Max's perspective, along with events from her past (Billy is particularly heinous). I hope that whichever authors take the reins for the next "official Stranger Things novel," he or she takes a page from "Runaway Max."

  30. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    So basically, this is season 2 of Stranger Things told from Max's point of view with lots of flashbacks thrown in to give us her backstory and make it the "prequel" it's advertised as being. If you are a HUGE Stranger Things fan or if Max or Billy are one of your favorite characters, I would say you might want to read this. But otherwise, you can probably skip it. Want to save yourself some time and just read spoilers on the biggest and most important parts of Max's backstory instead of reading the book? He So basically, this is season 2 of Stranger Things told from Max's point of view with lots of flashbacks thrown in to give us her backstory and make it the "prequel" it's advertised as being. If you are a HUGE Stranger Things fan or if Max or Billy are one of your favorite characters, I would say you might want to read this. But otherwise, you can probably skip it. Want to save yourself some time and just read spoilers on the biggest and most important parts of Max's backstory instead of reading the book? Here you go: (view spoiler)[Max's Family Max's mom Susan is a pushover and her dad Sam is a flake. Her dad has trouble holding down a normal job, and instead seems to prefer doing lots of odd jobs to make money. He's described as a jack of all trades, but he seems to have an affinity for some shady stuff, like illegal gambling and fake IDs. He's also incredibly smart and enjoys puzzles and challenges, and he shared these interests with Max. Max has a special bond with her dad, but she sees his flaws. Her dad's lack of ambition and responsibility is what broke up his and Susan's marriage. After the divorce, Max's mom dated a string of duds. Neil (Billy's dad), was different in a good way at first, but Max quickly sees through is facade. Max's mom chooses to ignore Neil's anger issues. Max's California Friends Max belonged to a group of 4 friends: her, Nate, Ben and Eddie. They had been friends for years, but their friendship changes when Max's mom marries Neil and Billy moves in. Ben and Eddie eventually stop coming around because they don't like being around Billy. Her friendship with Nate ends after Billy purposefully breaks Nate's arm, then lies and says it was an accident. Billy tells Max everything is her fault--that her bad behavior made him break Nate's arm, and that he had to tell the lie because Max called an ambulance for Nate. This all happens at the end of summer, just a few weeks before Max's family decides to move. The Move to Hawkins Remember that scene in season 2 of Stranger Things when Max is riding in Billy's car, and Billy is speeding toward Will, Mike, Lucas and Dustin on their bikes with the threat of hitting them? Billy is yelling at Max to say why they had to move to Hawkins in that scene, but we never really find out why. Well, the real reason is Billy, and the arm breaking thing was the last straw. Shortly after the arm breaking incident, Neil and Susan announce the family is moving to Indiana. Though nobody says it, it's clear this is because of Billy. They want to give him a fresh start, because the arm breaking thing isn't the only terrible thing he's done. But again, Billy places the blame for this on Max. At this point, Max decides to runaway to her dad's in Los Angeles -- this is where the book title Runaway Max comes from. She's caught at the bus station and doesn't make it out of her hometown. Max and her family move to Hawkins shortly afterwards. Max plans one more runaway attempt to LA once she's in Hawkins. At this point, they've been in Hawkins for a month or two, and Max is fed up with Billy's rage and decides the only thing she can do is runaway to her dad's. On the day she plans on leaving, Lucas surprises her at home and tells her he can prove all the stories he's told her are true. She decides to go with him instead of running away. Neil and Billy Hardgrove As you probably figured out from the show, Neil and Billy both have anger issues and Billy is a psychopath. If you were wondering if the book gave any insights into this or gave either of them any redeeming qualities, the short answer is no. It's just a cycle of abuse. Since you see more examples of how awful Neil can be, you gain a better idea of why and how Billy turned out the way he did, but there's no big reveal...sorry to disappoint. (hide spoiler)]

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