Maybe, Tears, OC, Maggot, Jewel, Rainbow, and 2Moro are a cast of homeless teens and young adults trying to survive life on the streets in New York's bitter winter. Maybe, Mr. Strasser's MC, has left home to join "an asphalt tribe." Over the course of the book and through telling scenes and snippets, Maybe's character emerges as well as her feelings about this dead-end life on the streets.
What I loved most about the book was the humanity of the kids trying to survive. And how they are so VISIBLE, though we perhaps choose not to see them. The book is filled with heartbreaking scenes of abuse, drug abuse, prostitution, prejudice and death. One particularly poignant scene is when a woman from PETA is horrified these kids are feeding a puppy fast food hamburgers. She's indignant and tells them they're not fit to raise a dog.
Tears asks, "How comes she cares so much about a dog? .. What about us?"
"Nobody cares about us," Maybe responds.
I had to stop after reading that line and put the book down. How often have I just passed a homeless person without actually seeing him or her? I'm embarrassed to say too often.
Todd Strasser takes on the tough social issue of homelessness in this bleak YA novel in which there are few happy endings. Strasser, though, without being cheesy or making it an easy novel weaves a thread of hope in the novel and the strength of love that friends find.