Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Read for YA Book Battle; to me, this is a great example of overlooked. Although HarperTeen is one of the big name publishers, and I know I've read a great deal of their books, I had never heard of this. Additionally 2010 YA books were of great interest to me but I never saw anything about this.
This was a hard book to read, rate, and review, as it deals with teenage homelessness and the idea of family. Maya has her conman father who lets her down once again, causing her to enter foster care. When faced with a disgusting prospective set of parents, she decides to flee and attempt to find her aunt Sarah. As she and two unlikely friends make their way from Reno, NV to Boise, ID, they face unbelievable challenges and attempt to construct their own family.
I loved that Maya was into science; she would make up a purpose and hypothesis, followed by materials, a procedure, variables, and constants. Although I am not quite as strict, I have a similar habit that enables me to move through my to-do list. This helped me connect with her, which I valued because everything she experienced was completely foreign to me.
I also really liked her friends Natale "Capone" and Klondike. Natalie has long been fascinated with mob trivia hence her nickname and she follows Maya from the foster care building. They meet Klondike on the road, a young boy probably with Tourette's whose family kicked him out without understanding his symptoms. They were very sympathetic and their interactions with Maya was great; they made a good team.
The difficult part came when reading about their life on the road. Possessing about ten dollars and their wits, it is a struggle to survive. They walk and hitch their way north, searching for food and compassion but rarely finding either. The disgust for homeless people is frequently expressed and the struggles are described well. It was very emotional for me to read about and so very different from my own life.
Overall: A difficult read with characters facing some of the toughest decisions I've ever read about. Recommended.
Cover: The colors signal a gritty contemporary read as it is.