Almost Home by Jessica Blank | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Almost Home

Almost Home

4.5 12
by Jessica Blank

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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


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

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)

Product Details

Disney Press
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File size:
424 KB
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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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