From School Library Journal
Grade 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
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Gr. 10-12. Like 12-year-old Trevor in Hyde's adult novel Pay It Forward
(2000), the young characters in her debut for youth are searching for signs of hope amid grim realities, which begin, here, with a gang rape on the first page. Seventeen-year-old Jordan tries to rescue 18-year-old Chloe from her attackers, and the two homeless teens form a fierce, siblinglike bond as they help each other survive the streets--a struggle that sometimes drives Jordan to prostitution. Both have deep scars: gay Jordan nearly died from his father's abuse; childlike Chloe can't speak directly about her past horrors, even to Jordan. At last, they strike out on a healing, cross-country trip in search of "beauty . . . maybe even some decent, kind people." There's a slightly contrived, teasing quality to the incomplete allusions to the teens' pasts, but 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. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved