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Grade 7 Up--A surrogate family of homeless teens lives on the streets of New York City, and the bleakness of their lives is clear early on when Country Club dies of "liver failure due to acute alcohol poisoning." His brief life is summarized in a one-page dossierlike format that immediately precedes the narrative description of his death. These clinical dossiers recur, like a premonition, as one by one this ragtag "family" disintegrates. But first, readers meet Maggot; Rainbow; beautiful, HIV-positive 2Moro; her club-hopping, sexually amorphous friend Jewel; the protagonist/narrator Maybe; and Tears, the newest, and, at 12 years of age, youngest member of the group. Gradually revealed are the physical and psychological scars that marked their paths to the police sweeps, illness, drugs, and destitution that litter their lives. Also made clear is the fact that these teens reject many offers of help, but find that the street looks better than the horrors from which they've fled. A kindly librarian, Anthony, becomes the hero, reuniting Tears with her grandparents and offering the possibility of a safe future to Maybe. While the events described in this cautionary tale are shocking, the language is not, making these all-too-real problems accessible to a wide readership. More sanitized than E. R. Frank's America (Atheneum, 2002), Han Nolan's Born Blue (Harcourt, 2001), or Adam Rapp's 33 Snowfish(Candlewick, 2003), this is nevertheless a powerful and disturbing look at the downward spiral of despair that remains too common for too many teens.--Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Gr. 7-12. She calls herself Maybe. Thrown out by her abusive mom, she struggles to survive on the streets of New York with homeless teens who become a family in the asphalt jungle. They try to care for one another, but it doesn't help much. They beg and forage for food. Maybe knows some of them work as prostitutes and deal drugs. One or two do find loving homes, but most will die--from AIDS, violence, exposure, suicide. Without sentimentality or exploitation, Maybe's disturbing first-person narrative lets readers know exactly what it's like to live without shelter, huddling in nests of rags, newspapers, and plastic bags. In one vivid chapter, Maybe and her friend enjoy hot-water luxury in the library bathroom, until a brutal security guard makes the nude girls clean the place before throwing them out. Some adults are kind, including a librarian, and with his help, Maybe might make it in a youth home. Maybe. A story about people that we pretend don't exist; Strasser makes us know them. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The book "Can't get there from here" is a very impressive story about the life on the street of a group of 8 children. Read morePublished on July 14 2004
The book "Can't get there from here" by Todd Strasser is about a group of kids living on the streets of New York who call themselves the "Asphalt Tribe". Read morePublished on July 14 2004 by Sarah Götza
i loved this book, it's so dramatic. seeing how kids live on the streetsmakes me feel bad about how good i have it. it's sad how much abuse they get and their desiases. Read morePublished on June 21 2004
This is a fictional story of a struggling tribe of homeless kids, and one of the main characters is a girl, named Maybe. Read morePublished on May 26 2004 by adam