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Almost Home [NOOK Book]

Overview

Why would anyone choose to live on the streets? There is Eeyore, just twelve years old when she runs away from her priveleged home, harboring a secret she's too ashamed to tell anyone. Rusty is a sensitive gay teen who winds up alone when his older boyfriend ditches him in Hollywood. Squid has gone through too many foster homes to count. There's Scabius, a delusional punk from Utah who takes the "me against the world" motto to dangerous extremes. And Critter is a heroin dealer with movie star looks and a ...
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Almost Home

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Overview

Why would anyone choose to live on the streets? There is Eeyore, just twelve years old when she runs away from her priveleged home, harboring a secret she's too ashamed to tell anyone. Rusty is a sensitive gay teen who winds up alone when his older boyfriend ditches him in Hollywood. Squid has gone through too many foster homes to count. There's Scabius, a delusional punk from Utah who takes the "me against the world" motto to dangerous extremes. And Critter is a heroin dealer with movie star looks and a vulnerable heart. Laura should be home studying, but she can't face another one of her mom's boyfriends. And then there's Tracy, the damaged thread that ties them all together, irrevocably changing each life she touches. This unlikely band of characters form their own dysfunctional family, complete with love and belonging, abuse and betrayal. Each will make their way home, wherever it may be.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The characters you will meet in this novel seem real, almost too real to leave behind as the book ends. I found myself wanting to know what happened to them, even as I contemplated that few of these runaways would have a happy ending. Blank portrays teenagers who have been abused and neglected, and she does it in a way that brings the reader into their lives. Eleanor, nicknamed Eeyore by her street friends, is a scared twelve year old who has been sexually molested by her stepbrother. No one will listen to her, and she finally runs away, only to find that life on the street is extremely hard, extremely dangerous and full of extremely scary people. Tracy has been sexually molested by her stepfather. Critter and Scabius have abuse in their backgrounds as well. As these young people meet, sometimes helping each other and sometimes hurting each other, they do not talk about their pasts, but their actions belie their bravado, giving the reader insight into the lives they have led. Blank captures the hearts, feelings and intimate thoughts of six young people forced through circumstance to try to make it on the streets of Los Angeles. This is not a sugar-coated version of what it would be like to run away from home. It is compelling reading for those who want the truth. Reviewer: Wendy M. Smith-D’Arezzo
VOYA - Rebecca Moreland
Written in the separate narratives of each character, Almost Home allows-or more accurately, forces-the reader to become immersed in the lives of those who find themselves on the streets. By narrowing its scope to seven unlikely wanderers, one becomes attached to and invested in their personal stories. Characters introduced near the end of the book, however, seem less important, are difficult to become interested in, and are needed only for a new plot venture. In stark contrast to recent books about the lives of the elite, Blank's writing supplies a refreshing yet disturbing break from what is comfortable and routine.
VOYA - Jenny Ingram
There are seven chapters in this novel, each of which is the first-person narrative of a homeless teen on the streets of Los Angeles. The characters range in age from twelve to seventeen. Three are girls, and four are boys. With the exception of one, they have experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse, or drug abuse. On some level, most characters realize that they are trapped in a cycle, but they prefer the risk of the streets to the life they face at home. One character is gay and left home for the empty promises of his choir teacher. Another character left her small town to experience city life. The story is woven together when all seven meet on the streets-sometimes in pairs, sometimes as a larger group-where they alternately look after each other and hurt one another. Blank's book is gritty, graphic, and realistic. Readers looking for a reprise of The Outsiders will quickly realize that there is little comfort or sense of community within the group; drugs, food, and sex are the things that bind them. The characters prostitute themselves, work in the porn industry, and sell drugs, and their future extends only to the next meal or the next hit. The only sense of hope comes when one of the girls successfully encourages a twelve-year-old to return home and work things through. It is a difficult but necessary book that will raise awareness of the issues surrounding homeless teens. Blank also includes a list of resources for homeless youth.
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up
This episodic, meandering novel about seven runaway teens struggling to survive on the Hollywood streets is filled with the rough language and gritty details of drug use and sex (including prostitution) that accompany such a lifestyle. Most of these kids have fled abusive homes, although one girl has simply gone in search of more excitement than her small town offers. Most disturbing is the depiction of a 12-year-old who adopts the name Eeyore when she takes to the streets to escape the sexual abuse of her older stepbrother and the bullying of schoolmates. Although Eeyore's comfortable home is in the nearby Hollywood Hills and her stepmother frequently shops at the Whole Foods market where the girl and her new friends go Dumpster-diving for food, there is no evidence that her parents or school authorities are making any effort to find her. Several times, she returns home to take food and money, but even when she surprises her stepmother during one of these forays, the woman doesn't ask where she has been. Instead, she berates Eeyore for leaving home to be with a dirty, homeless boy, threatens to call the police, and then does nothing as the girl and her friend leave. Readers will find this and many other aspects of the story deeply distressing.
—Ginny GustinCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
The streets of Los Angeles offer an escape to a group of teenagers. Boredom, family issues and sexual abuse led them away from home, and now seven teens struggle to survive on the streets. Through Tracy, a junk-addicted porn star, Eeyore, Rusty, Squid, Critter, Scabius and Laura form a rough community with its own dynamics and hostilities. When 12-year-old Eeyore gets caught up in drugs and prostitution, Tracy has a chance to redeem them both. Rather than alternating the narrator each chapter, Blank gives each voice its own section in turn. With characters ranging in age and experience, the narrative cohesion could easily deteriorate, but skillful blending by the author prevents such muddling. Calculated emotionless presentation of the street-sex trade helps communicate the bleak circumstances in which many homeless youths find themselves; this contrasts nicely with the burgeoning relationships that develop between the teens, especially Squid's passion for a family. The author's note offers resources for both at-risk and street teens. Examining the ties that bring people together and force them apart, this is a harsh and honest view of homeless teen life in the city of angels. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423143468
  • Publisher: Disney Press
  • Publication date: 4/7/2010
  • Sold by: DISNEY PUBLISHING WORLDWIDE -EBKS
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 577,606
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • File size: 408 KB

Meet the Author

Jessica Blank is a young writer and actress who has worked in television and film as well as in theaters throughout New York. She wrote the award-winning and hugely successful play, The Exonerated, about death row inmates who have been falsely convicted and then released after being found innocent. The film version starred Susan Sarandon, Aidan Quinn, Danny Glover and Brian Dennehy.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 29, 2013

    i really would like to read this book it sound truthfully amazin

    i really would like to read this book it sound truthfully amazing. but i cant find it in anything but e-book!

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  • Posted August 7, 2011

    A MUST READ

    This book is amazing! at first i felt it was dragging on because the chapters are almost 50 pages but i couldn't put it down. There are no words that can truely describe how great this book is. it is so raw and edgy and gritty. i was homeless when i was younger and even though my experience wasnt anywhere near as bad as these kids i let me realize where my life could have gone. this book made me want to help at risk youth any way i could. i am happy that i had the chance to read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2009

    Dangerous

    My friend's daughter read this book and at 15 years old it made running away a beautiful fantasy that she decided to carry out due to family problems. Parents should be aware and vigilant with children who are reading this book. Sadly the stories are real and bring to light problems within our youth and families. The book also gives details on how a teen could carry out this lifestyle. This is the dangerous aspect of it all.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2008

    awesome

    i loved this book. i still do. i read it in 07' and i still replay the events in my head. it was amazing. not a waste of time, by any means.

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  • Posted October 26, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com

    Jessica Blank writes a gritty, raw novel of life on the street for a mismatched group of young kids. Oftentimes graphic and bleak, she crafts a story that reads like a documentary of life on the streets in L.A. Seven individual paths are interwoven with each other, showing that you can touch more lives than you realize. <BR/><BR/>Eeyore, aka Elly, is the youngest of the bunch. After an embarrassing encounter at school, street smart Tracy takes her under her wing, and Elly runs away from home. Eeyore is not only running from the humiliation of school, but from a horrible home secret that no one would believe. <BR/><BR/>Rusty is in love with his male teacher, Jim. They were found out and Jim told Rusty to go to Hollywood and he would meet him there once he ties up all the loose ends at home. But it's been over a month and Jim isn't returning his calls and he's running out of money and options fast. <BR/><BR/>Critter is a drug dealer who has also taken Eeyore under his wing. She adores him and follows him around like a baby bird. Critter tries to protect her from the seedier side of life on the street - drugs and pimps. <BR/><BR/>Tracy is the weak thread that intertwines through all their lives yet has an unknown quality that captivates everyone. With stringy hair, bad teeth, and empty eyes, Tracy has seen far too much for her young age. <BR/><BR/>Along with these four and three others, the rough, harsh life of runaways and throwaways is written in a bleak style in ALMOST HOME. Told through the eyes of each of the characters, the reader is left with a new awareness of the realities that can cause young adults to run away from home and family. Many are hoping for a better life from the one they knew, only to find that there are different problems that they will face, such as homelessness, hunger, and poverty.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2008

    an excellent story

    This is one of those books that caught my interest from the first page due to its subject matter. I work with at risk teenagers, so anything relating to their lives draws me in immediately. 'Almost Home' is the story of seven teenagers in Los Angeles, who call the streets their home. The story is told through the eyes of seven very different teens, with one thing in common. Each of them has opted to leave their abusive (or in one case, boring) home life and try to make a life for themselves on the streets of LA. Their lives consist of panhandling for change, avoiding cops, dumpster diving for their next meal, seeking out safe places to sleep and their relationships with each other, a necessity for some to survive. The story is written for young adults, and I honestly plan to leave the book at work where the kids can read it if they'd like. It's a story of survival. Rather than romanticizing what life on the street may be like, it is honest, raw and brutal. It's a true account of the day to day problems and dramas that homeless teenagers face, once they take that step and run away from home. Stories of drugs, violence, rape and the things a person is forced to do to survive, not knowing where the next meal may come from. 'Almost Home' is gritty and edgy. Better yet, its REAL. It's a great read, and I'd recommend it to anyone who has any interest in the teenage mind

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2008

    more than just a book...

    You see the whole story through seven different points of veiw. this is one story that is amazingly threaded together. you will keep seeing the streets of LA even after you've finished the book. Almost Home gives a real, authentic sense of life on the harsh streets that these teens have to endure. It is one book you will be proud to recommend to others.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2007

    Writing is trutfully raw and sheads lite on truth

    Jessicas writing in her book alomost home is fantastic and raw truthful.It makes you think.I love it and couldent put it down evrey page is so truthfull and you can really conect to what these people are really expearceing no matter who you are this is a graet read for anyone.

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    Posted May 22, 2011

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    Posted March 6, 2009

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    Posted January 23, 2010

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    Posted May 4, 2009

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