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Children's LiteraturePlenty of Americans are just a paycheck or two away from homelessness, a point hammered home by this engrossing young-adult novel. Zoe's family sets out in search of greener pastures, but wind up underemployed and living in a van. Carey showcases the nitty-gritty details of the situation, such as having to do homework in a van crowded with four people, or having to pay $4 to take a shower. Zoe is terrified that her classmates will find out she has nowhere to live. When she makes friends (albeit with another misfit), her double life becomes almost unbearable. The author paints Zoe as smart and brave, but she's no superhero: more than anything, she just wants to be normal. 2004, Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, Ages 11 up.