No Place by Todd Strasser
Dan seemed to have it all from being popular to his hot girlfriend to probably getting a baseball scholarship to college. But then his family started having financial problems and they got worse and worse. Finally, they were forced to leave their home and live in Dignityville, a city park reused as a tent city for homeless people. Dan struggles to figure out how to continue being the same person with his friends, how to stay focused on his future, and how to keep dating one of the wealthier girls in town. On a daily basis, Dan is confronted with the differences in lifestyle and priorities. But Dignityville is not without some good aspects. Dan gets to spend more time with his family and he gets to know Meg, a girl who attends his high school and who also lives in Dignityville with her brother and family. Then Meg’s brother is brutally attacked and it quickly becomes evident that there is a conspiracy to destroy Dignityville, one that may end up hurting those that Dan loves.
Strasser tackles the issue of homelessness head on here. Yet he does in such a way as to make it accessible to those who have not experienced it. The emphasis is on the fact that there are all sorts of people who are homeless, not just those with addiction and mental health issues. Seeing the slow fall to homelessness by Dan’s parents and their reaction to being homeless further underlines that people are doing their best in trying and exceedingly difficult situations.
Dan is a very engaging character, one who quickly learns how profoundly his life has changed. The other characters at Dignityville are also well drawn and interesting as are Dan’s parents. The only character I found two-dimensional was Talia, Dan’s girlfriend, who seemed distant and aloof from what was happening. As the book progressed, the mystery of who was trying to shut down Dignityville moved to the forefront of the story. I felt that this distracted from an already powerful story and took it over the top. It was an unnecessary addition to the book.
An important book about a teen and his family experiencing homelessness, teens will find much to love in these pages. Appropriate for ages 14-17.
Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster.
Here are the links I shared on my Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts this week that I hope you find interesting:
11 Reading Hacks for Parents | HarperCollins Children’s Books http://buff.ly/1khilER
A Brilliant Cover to Celebrate 50 Years of Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain http://buff.ly/1gRrkXV
E.L. Konigsburg Remembered http://buff.ly/1khiwQm
It’s not only adults who need comfort reading | Books http://buff.ly/1niA6lH
Jeff Kinney, author of Wimpy Kid series is most read in British schools | Mail Online http://buff.ly/1fH6WMw
Laurel Snyder » Blog Archive » The VERY Best way to Go Out of Print!!! http://buff.ly/1gPdXHH
The Official SCBWI Blog: The 2014 Golden Kite & Sid Fleischman Humor Award Winners! http://buff.ly/1kBlYFL
Riding High: Brian Floca on the Remarkable Process Behind His Caldecott-winning ‘Locomotive’ | SLJ http://buff.ly/1nhNmqM
Watch. Connect. Read.: Book Trailer of the Month: The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend http://buff.ly/1kAPETi
BBC – Culture – The World Wide Web at 25: Changing literature forever http://buff.ly/1gRAnYL
Infographic: Top Ten Reasons for Choosing a Paper Book over an eBook – The Digital Reader http://buff.ly/1gHFcnk
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Detroit Public Library Provides Food to Fight Child Hunger | American Libraries Magazine http://buff.ly/1khNcB9
Mid-Continent Public Library Proves Summer Reading Programs Boost Student Achievement | School Library Journal http://buff.ly/OKKFCr
New Report Hails Librarians as Drivers of Digital Transition – The Digital Shift http://buff.ly/1fH1k4O
X–SPACE: A Library Designed and Built By Its Students by Project H Design, 501c3 — Kickstarter http://buff.ly/1fH1edy
Infographic: 9 Tips for Keeping Your Internet Usage Private http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-media-posts/infographic-9-tips-for-keeping-your-internet-usage-private …
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Comic Books Are Real Books | BOOK RIOTComic Books Are Real Books – BOOK RIOT http://buff.ly/1gPe1Ho
Gene Yang Returns with ‘The Shadow Hero’ http://buff.ly/1kAxdhy
38,000 children in Scotland have voted and selected the 2013 winners of the Scottish Children’s Book Awards. The winners are:
Jumblebum by Chae Strathie
The Accidental Time Traveller by Janis Mackay
Ferryman by Claire McFall