Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of two other young adult novels, The Day I Killed James and The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance, as well as several adult novels. She lives in California.
Gr 9 Up-Jordy, homeless, gay, and abused, finds a kindred spirit when he rescues fragile, childlike Chloe from a brutal rape near the abandoned building where they both live. Thus begins their intensely codependent friendship. When Jordy all but commits murder to protect Chloe, it only reinforces in his mind that they have no option but to leave New York City for their safety and sanity. And here, at the halfway mark, the novel takes a left turn: the teens hightail it out of the city in a beat-up pickup truck to discover America and possibly new lives. The arresting and gut-wrenching opening scene promises a gritty urban tale of survival, and despite some choppy, repetitive dialogue, Hyde makes the first half of the book succeed. But the cross-country trek quickly loses momentum with a wistful, near-philosophical shift in tone. And while Hyde's jerky, streamlined style reinforces the teens' pain, it doesn't complement their cross-country search for beauty and trust in the novel's second half. The results feel rushed and uneven, almost as if two separate narratives were merged to create this single slim volume.-Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
This deeply affecting novel by the author of Pay It Forward begins with the intersection of two nearly-lost lives. Jordan, 17, is hustling sex to earn a living in New York City after coming out to his parents and nearly getting killed by his homophobic father. In the horrific opening scene, he's squatting in the cellar he calls home when he realizes a girl is being raped in the alley outside. The victim is an 18-year-old waif whose life so far has been so unrelentingly brutal it doesn't register with her to complain about the rape. The instantaneous bond they form (Jordan gives her the name Chloe) has its origins in the most heartbreaking of circumstances: neither had a parent they could count on (though the author never divulges the full story of Chloe's childhood, which may frustrate some readers). When a second violent incident makes them fugitives, the two wind up on an exhilarating coast-to-coast journey looking for joy and beauty in what so far has been a grim existence. Readers will love this road trip as the two drive, bike and hitchhike from Niagara Falls to Big Sur, running into (mostly) wonderful people along the way. Jordan is an uncommonly mature teen, perhaps a tad idealized, but he and Chloe feel entirely real and readers will root for them. This is eloquent storytelling about how two troubled teens find redemption-through each other. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Tender, amazingly hopeful and only occasionally sentimental. . . .Vibrant and heartbreaking."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"The powerful questions about responsibility and forgiveness will affect readers, as will the characters who make their own family, and in doing so, find love, hope, and deep friendship."--Booklist