No Place

Todd Strasser. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4424-5721-8
Strasser tackles unexpected homelessness among the middle class in this affecting novel about Dan, a high school senior and promising baseball pitcher whose family suffers a slow slide from a comfortable life to being taken in by relatives and eventually coming to reside in their town’s tent city. Overcome by embarrassment, anger, and compassion for his fellow homeless citizens, Dan—who is almost too thoughtful and well-behaved (he only once allows anger to overtake him, and stops short of doing actual harm)—sustains credibility as he gives voice to the disbelief and disorientation felt by many in this situation. Strasser (Fallout) endows other characters, including Dan’s parents, with multidimensional responses, and elements of romance and suspense keep up the pace. Opposing points of view about economic balance (including a few didactic passages) help readers understand that there are no black-and-white answers to the questions Strasser poses. Clearly meant to inspire discussion about morality in the face of today’s social and economic problems, the book also delivers an authentic look at contemporary high-school society. Ages 12–up. Agent: Stephen Barbara, Foundry Literary + Media. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/21/2013
Release date: 01/28/2014
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