A School Library Journal Best Adult Book for Teens
A Joan F. Kaywell Award Finalist from the Florida Council of Teachers of English
Carissa Phelps was a runner. By the time she was twelve, she had run away from home, dropped out of school, and fled blindly into the arms of a brutal pimp. Even when she escaped him, she could not outrun the crushing inner pain of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. With little to hope for, she expected to end up in prison, or worse. But then her life was transformed through the unexpected kindness of a teacher and a counselor. Through small miracles, Carissa accomplished the unimaginable, graduating from UCLA with both a law degree and an MBA. She left the streets behind, yet found herself back, this time working to help homeless and at-risk youth discover their own paths to a better life. Like the multimillion-copy bestseller The Glass Castle, this memoir moves us through the power of its unflinching candor and generosity.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Penguin Group|
|File size:||863 KB|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Larkin Warren’s essays and articles have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Glamour, More, and Good Housekeeping. Among her recent book collaborations are Mary Forsberg Weiland’s Fall to Pieces and Elyn R. Saks’s bestselling The Center Cannot Hold.
Table of Contents
Part I Belonging To Somebody 1
Part II The People In The Snow Globe 203
Part III True Self 245
What People are Saying About This
Praise for Runaway Girl:
“This devastatingly honest memoir is not for the fainthearted . . . Kafka famously wrote, ‘A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us.’ Runaway Girl just might become such a book. [Phelps] gives the reader valuable insight into a problem that is larger than most people realize.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Phelps is a success . . . [a] remarkable story.”
“Carissa Phelps’s story illustrates the power each of us has to speak the words that are the difference between life and death, freedom and imprisonment, success and failure. Carissa is brilliant. She’s changing our world for the better, not despite what she’s been through, but specifically because of it.”
—Rhonda Sciortino, radio host of Crack the Code and author of Succeed Because of What You’ve Been Through
“Riveting . . . A genuinely important book that casts the problem of sex trafficking in America into stunning, heartbreaking relief.”
“Runaway Girl may break your heart but I promise it will ultimately awe and inspire you. No child should have to endure what Carissa did, but thousands do. Her story is a testimony to the resilience of these children and the difference a caring individual can make in their lives. If you have any doubts whether one person can make a difference in the life of a traumatized, ‘delinquent,’ young person, Runaway Girl should put them to rest.”
—Dr. Howard Zehr, professor of restorative justice, Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, and author of What Will Happen to Me?
“Runaway Girl demonstrates a great amount of insight and maturity. Crisp writing and perfectly chosen events highlight the story of what happens to the majority of twelve-year-olds on the street.”
—School Library Journal, selected as a Best Adult Books for Teens of the Year
“As a captivating account of the triumph of a battered heart, Runaway Girl is truly a modern profile in courage, a spiritual odyssey, and a riveting read. Any child who experienced the trauma that Carissa Phelps so poignantly portrays will gain comfort, encouragement, and hope in reading this book.”
—Paul Freese, Public Counsel Law Center
“A brave memoir.”
“What happens to the thousands of kids every year in the United States who are forced to leave home? Many of them are find themselves in the same situation Carissa Phelps did: fallen between the cracks in foster care and forced by a vicious exploiter to walk the streets. With courage, insight, and unflinching honesty, Carissa reveals the truth about her life as a runaway, bringing to light the many issues facing homeless youth while providing them with a beacon of hope to follow. I want everyone who cares about our country’s young people to read this book.”
—Janice Erlbaum, author of Girlbomb
“This book is provocative in the best sense of the word: it incites readers to help. . . . Runaway Girl is an effective, socially aware book that offers unique insight into one woman’s personal experiences with trauma and recovery and her journey to find herself in a difficult, frightening, and ultimately supportive world.”
—Katie Shaeffer, BookshelfBombshells.com
“With not a trace of victimhood or unplaced drama, this is a terrific addition to all collections."
—Amy Cheney, Alameda County Library, Juvenile Hall, CA
“Runaway Girl should be required reading for anyone with kids, especially girls, in their lives.”
—Jesika Long, Jesikalong.Tumblr.com
“Runaway Girl is both a cautionary tale about the realities of sex-trafficking in the U.S. and an inspirational story of the change that is possible with the help of others. A very important read for both parents and teenagers.”
—Vera Pereskokova, SheKnows.com
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is one of the best books written on this subject. I work with runaways and have read dozens of books, some autobiographical and others biographical or even fiction. This is in my opinion the best one on the market. She has vivid details, does not glamorize anything, and does not try to "sell" the story. The book tells the story from her perspective, helping the reader understand what is going on in this girls mind while she is on the streets. The story then goes into detail about what helped her get off the streets, and what did not. It is rare to read a book that is both interesting and educational. For anyone who wants to understand why children end up on the streets, I strongly encourage you to read this book. And, for any teens thinking of running, read this first. Life on the streets is not like a Disney movie.
Learn a little about what a human being can overcome. Kudos Carissa!
Well written with a surprisingly detailed recollections of her thoughts and feelings. It is not apologetic, whinny, melodramatic or attempting to place blame. Written with enough depth to feel like you can understand why a teenager in that situations would make the bad decisions she did and why she couldn't escape on her own. This book also gives some good insight into why the approaches of the adults in her life worked or didn't work (As a teacher I've struggled with on how to approach the 'bad kids').
'Runaway Girl' is a truly moving and uplifting memoir written by Carissa Phelps about her life as a runaway and the subsequent consequences it presented. The story of her childhood and teenage years is absolutely heartbreaking. She takes us through her early home life and what caused her to leave her home. By the tender age of twelve, Carissa had gone through more than most would in their entire lives. The amount of abuse and pain that she endured made me cry at times - my heart felt so deeply for her. Carissa's life takes an unexpected turn for the better after a teacher and counselor begin to show her true kindness and to nurture her back to a healthy state. The latter part of the memoir tells of what happened to Carissa after the help of these two people. She flourished in a remarkable way and has even been helping the homeless and at-risk youth. 'Runaway Girl' is at times heartbreaking and at other times so filled with hope. It's written with such a conversational tone that it's an easy read, and the reader is easily pulled into her story. The book is exceptionally well written and had me engrossed from the first page. I deeply empathized with Carissa and was able to share both her deep pain and her exhilarating joy throughout the novel. Carissa's life story is one that everyone should read - it's full of the harsh realities of life that oftentimes get swept under the rug, but her amazing ability to better herself and eventually to help others is a true inspiration that is direly needed in our world today. Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
I could not put this book down. I have never read another book in which the author was so authentic and vulnerable. The way that Carissa chronicles her experiences and how she processes them is beautifully written and transparently descriptive. As a social worker, I would recommend “Runaway Girl” be required reading for anyone who works with children, especially children who have experienced trauma or demonstrate troubling behavior. Carissa shares her story in a way that allows us to understand we can all make a positive impact in any child’s life simply by valuing them instead of judging them. Although it is clear there are people who could be blamed for Carissa’s incredibly traumatic childhood, she tells her story without blame or self-pity, and without excuses. Her courage and resilience is a message of hope for anyone who has ever felt lost, unloved, abandoned, or valueless. After reading the book, I found it difficult to stop constantly thinking about all of the lessons I had gained from it and what I believe others could learn as well. Carissa captivates in the way she describes her inspirational journey.
Well written, emotional, a bit difficult at times due to the subject matter. This is an amazing and inspirational story of survival.
This book is great ! Carissa is inspiring and takes you through the journey of her like . Being a child care worker and reading this book helps me understand the layers we have to peel back to help our youth . I was able to meet Carissa at a training and I So glad I bought this book . Must read!!!