Abandoned: America's Lost Youth and the Crisis of Disconnection

Abandoned: America's Lost Youth and the Crisis of Disconnection

by Anne Kim
Abandoned: America's Lost Youth and the Crisis of Disconnection

Abandoned: America's Lost Youth and the Crisis of Disconnection

by Anne Kim


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Winner of the 2020 Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice

A deeply affecting exposé of America's hidden crisis of disconnected youth, in the tradition of Matthew Desmond and Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

For the majority of young adults today, the transition to independence is a time of excitement and possibility. But 4.5 million young people—or a stunning 11.5 percent of youth aged sixteen to twenty-four—experience entry into adulthood as abrupt abandonment, a time of disconnection from school, work, and family. For this growing population of Americans, which includes kids aging out of foster care and those entangled with the justice system, life screeches to a halt when adulthood arrives. Abandoned is the first-ever exploration of this tale of dead ends and broken dreams.

Author Anne Kim skillfully weaves heart-rending stories of young people navigating early adulthood alone, in communities where poverty is endemic and opportunities almost nonexistent. She then describes a growing awareness—including new research from the field of adolescent brain science—that "emerging adulthood" is just as crucial a developmental period as early childhood, and she profiles an array of unheralded programs that provide young people with the supports they need to achieve self-sufficiency.

A major work of deeply reported narrative nonfiction, Abandoned joins the small shelf of books that change the way we see our society and point to a different path forward.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620975008
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 02/11/2020
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 753,999
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Anne Kim is a writer, lawyer, and public policy expert with a long career in Washington, DC–based think tanks working in and around Capitol Hill. She is also a contributing editor at Washington Monthly, where she was a senior writer. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Governing, TheAtlantic.com, the Wall Street Journal, Democracy, and numerous other publications. She lives in northern Virginia.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I Embarking

1 Emergence and Divergence 11

2 An Epidemic of Disconnection 25

Part II Drifting: Avenues to Disconnection

3 Marooned: Place and Opportunity 39

4 An Urban Opportunity Desert 54

5 When Work Disappears 66

6 Abandoned by the State: "Aging Out" 84

7 "Justice" 96

Part III Anchored: Paths to Reconnection

8 Throwing Lifelines 107

9 Intensive Care 114

10 Super Mentors 126

11 The Apprentice and the Intern 136

12 A Texas Turnaround to Make Schools Work 151

Part IV A New Youth Agenda

13 The "Fierce Urgency of Now" 167

14 Seven Steps for Ending Disconnection 176

Acknowledgments 195

Notes 197

Index 227

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