Can't Get There from Here
She lives with a tribe of homeless teens -- runaways and throwaways, kids who have no place to go other than the cold city streets, and no family except for one another. Abused, abandoned, and forgotten, they struggle against the cold, hunger, and constant danger.
With the frigid winds of January comes a new girl: Tears, a twelve-year-old whose mother doesn't believe her stepfather abuses her. As the other kids start to disappear -- victims of violence, addiction, and exposure -- Maybe tries to help Tears get off the streets...if it's not already too late.
Todd Strasser, author of the powerful and disturbing Give a Boy a Gun, again focuses on an important social issue as he tells a thought-provoking, heart-wrenching story of young lives lost to the streets, and of a society that has forgotten how to care.
Maybe is a street kidshes run away from an abusive homelife and is now part of a family in NYC. Its winter for much of the story, and Maybe struggles with finding food, staying warm, staying semi-healthy and semi-clean. She is encouraged by several adults to go home or seek shelter at one of the foster care places, but Maybe doesnt like giving up the freedom she has on the street. Over and over she is told that she doesnt really live on the streetsshes dying out there. In the end, after her family is broken up or dead, Maybe realizes that perhaps a few rules is an okay exchange for a warm bed and regular meals.
This is a harsh novel, though the only thing truly explicit is the harsh reality of living in cold NYC. Sex and prostitution is implied, drugs are discussed but not overtly used and swear
words are at a minimum. The book moves quickly and I thought Strasser did an excellent
job covering something most of our readers will never understand. In a way, the story has a
happy ending, as Maybe agrees to get help, but her character development is real, and she
has suffered many losses by the end. Overall I would give this to teens, especially those a
little more well off, so they can understand what its like to be completely without anything
especially trust, hope and a family.