December 06, 2006

Night in the City

This book is a 2006 Cybil Award Nominee for YA Fiction.

Holly's teacher, Mrs. Leone, give her a blank journal and asks her to write, to help her through a "bad time." Holly is disbelieving and sarcastic. What does Mrs. Leone know about a bad time, or about ANYTHING!? Holly's life is a living hell -- the foster family she lives with is awful. The first one had a husband who touched her all the time, and when she complained, SHE got moved. The next one is even worse. They treat her like the dog and lock her in the laundry room. She doesn't get to sleep in the nice room they show the social worker. What's weird is that NOBODY sleeps in there -- so why can't Holly? 'Cause she's not GOOD enough, her foster parents tell her.

The day she gets her head flushed down the toilet by her foster father is the day Holly decides she's outta there.

This isn't the first time she's been a Runaway, but this IS the time that Holly doesn't plan to get caught. See, she's had it with the foster care system -- she knows what it's about. She's decided to be a gypsy -- like her Mom was. Maybe she'll even head for California.

But Holly doesn't know that being homeless is a living hell of its own kind. Stowing away in the cargo hold of a bus -- which is driving through a desert -- sleeping in homeless shelters, hanging around libraries and scrounging food out of the trash is no joke. It's cold at night, and people are crazy dangerous -- even more dangerous than the book implies.

L.A. is no City of Angels, that's for darn sure. All Holly wants to do is go home.

If only she had one.

Fans of the Sammy Keyes series by Wendelin Van Draanen will catch a glimpse of Sammy in this story, and maybe recognize Holly, too.

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