Eleven-year-old Clay must find a home on the streets of New York City in this award-winning, heartbreakingly honest novel. He was eleven years old, and he had never felt so alone in his life. Clay Garrity lived a normal life until his father lost his job and abandoned the family. Now his pregnant mother has deserted him too, leaving Clay alone in a welfare hotel with a jar of peanut butter and half a loaf of bread. Fearing being placed in foster care, Clay runs away. Alone in the city, Clay wanders down streets with boarded-up buildings and through dark alleys, until he comes to a small triangular park that looks like an island in a stream. In the light of a street lamp, he sees cardboard boxes, blankets, bundles-and people. Some are lying on benches, others inside boxes. Two of the men, Calvin and Buddy, offer to share their shelter, and Clay is grateful to have a place to stay during the bitter November cold. Before long, Calvin, Buddy, and Clay form a family amid the threatening dangers and despair of the streets. Clay knows that leaving the streets and going into foster care means that he may never see his parents again. But if he stays, he may not survive at all. An ALA Best Book for Young Adults, this acclaimed novel offers an intensely moving and candid look at the all-too-real lives of homeless teens.
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