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Themes: Realistic Fiction, Drug Use, Foster Care, Gangs, Teen, Young Adult, Chapter Book, Hi-Lo, Hi-Lo Books, Hi-Lo Solutions, High-Low Books, Hi-Low Books, ELL, EL, ESL, Struggling Learner, Struggling Reader, Special Education, SPED, Newcomers, Reading, Learning, Education, Educational, Educational Books. After two years in a loving home, TJ's mother got him back. She was clean. No pot. No meth. His chest felt like it was burning. His heart was racing. Trapped. He felt trapped. He didn't have a say. Everything he had come to care about would be gone: Miss Dixie, hot meals, friends, Mae's little hand, and Annabelle. And the brutal life he'd escaped quickly reclaimed him. Kaden Cruz didn't run after him. Instead his voice boomed, "You owe us." TJ didn't look back. But he knew this wasn't the end of Kaden Cruz. He could still hear his father's voice. "It's not free. You'll have to pay them back one day." Silver medal winner of an Independent Publishers Book Award. Hard-hitting, contemporary young adult fiction is not trendy–it's not dystopia. There are no vampires, no werewolves, no castles. It's real life. It's unflinching. Gravel Road highlights the talent of YA authors committed to creating realistic fiction with emotional authenticity. No topic is off-limits: suicide, homosexuality, drugs, rape, gangs, bullying. Teens live with this reality each day. And they find a way to survive. Each paperback book is 116 to 268 pages.