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“Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.”
Summary: Jay Thornton is sixteen. His life has collapsed around him. Traumatic events have made him an orphan and he’s about to be placed in a foster home. Emotionally overwhelmed, he decides to runaway to California to start a new life. With little money, and the clothes on his back, he decides to travel west by hopping trains. Jay knew he was taking a risk but felt he could handle himself. He had no idea of the dangers, loneliness, hunger, and fear he would experience. Nor was he aware of the human predators who prey upon homeless, poor, transient, and adolescents. His education began, painfully, on his first night away from home. This is a young adult novel about life as a runaway.
Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 14; read yourself: 12 and up
Adult Reader Reaction: The author knows how to tell a story and engage an audience. The reader can relate to the characters, understand their dilemmas, and constantly ask themselves, “I wonder what I would have done in that situation?”.
Pros: It is a terrific book that will captivate adolescents. Pre/Teen readers will be captivated before the end of the first paragraph. The personalities are familiar and the situations realistic.
Cons: None. This is a sequel where you don't need to read the first story (Me and Jay) to understand the plot or characters in this one.
Borrow or Buy: It gets a “Buy” recommendation for home library, young teen’s book shelf, and school and classroom library. It will be read many, many times.
Educational Themes: There are unlimited opportunities for serious, meaningful discussions. Jay's challenges, how he deals with them, and their impact give parents, teachers, and counselors the means to help teens understand the complexities of growing up and the impact of decisions we make.
Literary Categories: Fiction - family, young adult series