Friday, March 28, 2014

Runaway Girl: Escaping Life on the Streets, One Helping Hand at a Time by Carissa Phelps

When Carissa Phelps was just twelve years old, she was kidnapped by a pimp. This is the introduction she gives herself, later on, each time she finds herself telling her story to a new group of people. Carissa, who is now an attorney and a youth advocate, has written down her story in this memoir and it’s an inspirational ride. Her teen years were turbulent; she spent most of them running from one dangerous situation to the next. Placed in group home after group home, spending time in juvenile hall and alternative school programs, the author reflects often on the adults she met along the way who believed in her and gave her courage. Students might relate to her history of emotional and sexual abuse, but they will absolutely be able to connect with her time spent in and out of group homes and juvenile hall. I am often asked by students for books about “real people who had it rough, but made it out in the end,” and this book fits that description perfectly. Carissa’s story demonstrates that anything is possible with the support of a few caring individuals and a lot of determination. --Anja Kennedy

Phelps, Carissa, with Larkin Warren.  Runaway Girl: Escaping Life on the Streets, One Helping Hand at a Time.  New York: Viking-Penguin, 2012.  Print.

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