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Van Draanen, Wendelin. 
New York : Knopf, 2006
IL 5-8, RL 5.0
ISBN 0375935223

(2 booktalks)

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Booktalk #1

Holly is in her fifth foster home in 2 years and she’s had enough. She’s run away before and always been caught quickly. But she’s older and wiser now­she’s twelve­and this time she gets away clean. Holly writes about her journey in the journal that an English teacher gave her, and keeps it with her all the time. Holly spills her story through tough, tender, angry and funny journal entries. She writes about everything from her mother’s death to her abuse at the hands of foster families. We follow Holly across the country and hop trains with her, scam food, and sleep in parks or homeless encampments. And we also get to travel across the gaping holes in her heart as she finally comes to terms with her mother’s addiction and eventual death.    (New Hampshire Isinglass Award Nominee, 2008-2009)

Booktalk #2

Twelve-year-old Holly Janquell has lived a tough life for one so young. She has spent much of her childhood living homeless with her well meaning but drug addicted mother. When Holly’s mother dies of an overdose  Holly is left to suffer abusive foster homes and becomes the victim of an overburdened and seemingly uncaring “system”. One day she decides that enough is enough and runs away. Her difficult and often dangerous story is told to us through the words of her journal, given to her by a teacher who wished to encourage her to write poetry. Holly’s story is both heartbreaking and enlightening as readers are swept into the world of the homeless-.a world that so many misunderstand and oftentimes shun. Holly’s story will have readers both laughing and crying as she struggles to survive armed with nothing but her determination to be a part of a family…and a notebook.   (Rhode Island Teen Book Awards, 2008-09)

SUBJECTS:     Runaways -- Fiction.
                        Homeless persons -- Fiction.
                        Orphans -- Fiction.
                        Survival -- Fiction.
                        Diaries -- Fiction.
                        Diary fiction.

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