Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Almost Home by Jessica Blank

Elly is twelve and too terrified to tell anyone that her step-brother rapes her almost every night.  After her peers mercilessly bully her and assault her one day after school, she is rescued by a mysterious teen who teaches her how to dumpster dive and sleep on pavement.  Elly crosses paths with similarly traumatized and presently homeless teens and Blank’s narrative switches narrators each time a new chapter begins.  This gritty young adult novel, set in L.A., will be too much for some, and all too familiar for others.  Almost Home can be viewed as a cautionary tale that ultimately conveys that leaving danger does not always mean finding safety.   School librarians will want to be aware that this unblinking depiction of teen homelessness includes sexual exploitation, rape, and drug abuse.  Recommended for independent reading for older teens. --Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Blank, Jessica.  Almost Home.  New York: Hyperion, 2007. Print.

Hyperion has published a discussion guide authored by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer which includes discussion questions, project ideas, and a short interview with the author.  Access it here.

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