Sketches [NOOK Book]

Overview

After fleeing her suburban home, 15-year-old Dana struggles to survive in the alleys, squats, and subway stations of downtown Toronto. Dana and her two friends, seasoned street kids Brent and Ashley, must contend with turf wars, thugs, hunger, and the daily battle of life on the streets.When Dana’s graffiti on an underpass catches the eye of a counsellor at Sketches, a drop-in centre for homeless teens, Dana discovers a haven where she can express herself through art. As she works on a self-portrait, Dana begins ...
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Sketches

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Overview

After fleeing her suburban home, 15-year-old Dana struggles to survive in the alleys, squats, and subway stations of downtown Toronto. Dana and her two friends, seasoned street kids Brent and Ashley, must contend with turf wars, thugs, hunger, and the daily battle of life on the streets.When Dana’s graffiti on an underpass catches the eye of a counsellor at Sketches, a drop-in centre for homeless teens, Dana discovers a haven where she can express herself through art. As she works on a self-portrait, Dana begins to confront the reason she left home. The truth of what her stepfather did to her is trying to surface, but will it come out through her paintbrush or the blade of a knife?

This gritty, honest portrayal of street life from acclaimed author Eric Walters is a testament to the healing power of art.
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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
AGERANGE: Ages 15 to 18.

Homeless kids, throwaway teens living on the streets, are a growing problem in many big cities. In this novel, 15-year-old Dana is one of them, having fled the comforts of her suburban home and abusive stepfather for a much more precarious existence living hand to mouth. She is soon adopted into a small street family consisting of herself, Brent and Ashley--people she would have crossed the street to avoid in a previous life. They look out for each other and spend most of each day panhandling, squeegeeing car windows, and stealing to buy food and cigarettes (and sometimes drugs), and trying to find a safe place to spend each night. They have no future and no options until Dana discovers Sketches, a real place in Toronto, which encourages street kids to come in and express themselves artistically. Sketches offers supplies, counselors, an occasional bed, and some food. It also provides inspiration and ways for kids to get off the street by using their artistic talents instead of begging or hooking. The book is written to point out the problem of homeless runaways, praise the services of a place like Sketches, and invest the homeless with sympathy in a world where they are generally invisible. These characters are more salvageable than many real-life homeless teens since they are not addicted to hard drugs, nor do they sell their bodies under the tight control of pimps. Thus, because of the kind ministrations of the counselors at Sketches, all three of them survive and prevail. Good for demonstrating the problems of homeless teens, this novel is not quite gritty enough to be fully realistic. Reviewer: Myrna Marler
March 2008 (Vol. 42, No.2)

Children's Literature - Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger
Dana's friends on the street are not clear why she ran away from home, but they welcome her to their lives and help her begin to build relationships of trust. As Dana tries to forget her mother, her sister, and especially her stepfather and erase the person she used to be, one part of her former life follows her—a love for art. When a stranger sees Dana spray-painting on an underpass, he invites her to come to Sketchers, a drop-in art center for homeless teens. The center offers a little bit of food and a lot of safety and acceptance. Slowly, Dana is able to help her friends understand her need to create and glimpse the possibility of a life that includes more than worrying about food and shelter, but the darkness in Dana's past will not stay hidden forever. Can she learn to trust enough to confront her fear and in the process save herself and her little sister? The mature themes are sensitively handled, and the book ends on a hopeful note. This book is best for older readers. Reviewer: Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up- Dana, 14, escapes her stepfather's sexual abuse by running away to the streets of Toronto, where she forms a "family" with street kids Ashley and Brent. Panhandling money for food, finding places to sleep, and staying safe are a struggle, but the three manage to survive. Little by little, Dana learns why her friends are in this situation, and she in turn reveals her story. The teens' saving grace is Sketches, a drop-in center where homeless youth engage in art and are cared for. When an attempt to make a home in Tent Town falls apart, Dana, Ashley, and Brent, with the help of Sketches's staff, develop a plan to get off the streets permanently. Though Walters's characters are developed enough for readers to care about them, they're not fully fleshed out. While hinted at (but never actually described), Dana's abuse is not disclosed until the end of the book, raising unanswered questions of why she left her younger sister in jeopardy and whether she had told her mother what was happening. Todd Strasser's Can't Get There from Here (S & S, 2004) is a more compelling, intense, and bleak depiction of street kids, but readers who liked it will be drawn to this story, too, especially its believable yet non-gritty dialogue. The characters' well-portrayed camaraderie, resourcefulness, and resiliency carry the tale, which ends on a note of promise.-Diane P. Tuccillo, Fort Collins Regional Library District, CO

Kirkus Reviews
Art and the street provide refuge to a hurting teen. Escaping from her sexually abusive stepfather, Dana joins up with Brent and Ashley, two longtime residents of the Toronto streets. Making money by spare-changing commuters and wiping windshields leaves Dana yearning for artistic expression, which she finds when a drop-in center councilor notices her graffiti. Her talent quickly garners the threesome extra cash, and Dana is able to confront her inner turmoil through canvas. Dealing with dark issues such as homelessness and sexual abuse, Walters keeps Dana's narrative voice light, a choice that reduces the authenticity of the tale. Dana remains oddly above whatever circumstances she faces, whether it's the revelation of her self-mutilation, the tale of her sexual abuse, or the intervention by the drop-in center's counselor. Brent and Ashley's world-weary attitude nicely balances out the discrepancy. Lacking the strong characters and emotions of Jessica Blank's Almost Home, Walters's tale remains a rough sketch. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440635083
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 3/13/2008
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 1,396,242
  • Age range: 12 years
  • File size: 269 KB

Meet the Author

Eric Walters has written over forty novels. He lives in Ontario, Canada.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2013

    Meghan to brian

    I guess that its a big supprise to have tyler break his arm then break his finger,So when me walked out of the door of the school i said "So tyler breaks his arm then hisfinger what next his toe"???.

    Then sam said"Yah".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2013

    Brian

    Mmmnmmmmmmm...yawn

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

    SKETCHES is about three teens living on the streets. Dana, Brent, and Ashley each have their own personal demons. Those demons drove them away from their families and onto the city streets. <BR/><BR/>Sexual abuse at the hands of her mother's second husband caused Dana to begin acting out in school and at home. When her mother didn't pick up on the clues, Dana decided the only answer was to leave. Fortunately, Brent and Ashley, experienced street kids, were there to pick up the pieces. Brent has issues that forced him to leave home hoping to find some answers, and Ashley's mother, an exotic dancer, acted more like a sister than a mother. Together these three panhandle and squeegee car windows, hoping to earn enough money to eat and occasionally sleep somewhere with shower facilities. <BR/><BR/>Things begin to look up when Dana stumbles across a place called Sketches. It is an organization with the goal of providing a creative outlet for street kids. Dana's artistic talents shine through some random graffiti work, and she is noticed by one of the counselors at Sketches. The place offers food and good, solid advice, as well as art supplies and a safe place to create. Once Dana and her two friends get involved at Sketches, they see the possibility of improving their lives. <BR/><BR/>Rich with details about life on the streets, SKETCHES is an emotional story of desperate kids taking action to regain control of their shattered lives. Eric Walters includes both the harsh reality of homeless living and just the right amount of hope to make SKETCHES a book that will speak to teens everywhere.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2010

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