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Strays Like Us [Hardcover]

Richard Peck
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 2000
Joey and his little sister Mary Alice aren't too excited about their first annual visit to Grandma Dowdel's sleepy country town. How will an old lady possibly keep them entertained for a whole week? But from their first glimpse of a dead body in her front room, Joey and Mary Alice know they had Grandma all wrong.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Peck not only understands the fragile emotions of adolescents, he also knows what kind of characters will pique their interest. In this tender novel, he paints a richly detailed portrait of Molly, a drug-addict's daughter sent at the age of 12 to live with a great-aunt she has never met. Molly soon discovers others like her in this small town full of secrets. Next door lives Will, another "stray," whose father is rumored to be in jail. At the library, she meets home-schooled Tracy, from the wealthy district across town, whose sheltered life may not be quite as comfortable as it appears. And through Aunt Fay, Molly meets Mrs. Voorhees, a hypochondriac who employs her great-aunt as a nurse. Although Molly sorely misses her mother and resists admitting that her stay with Aunt Fay is permanent, she nonetheless becomes involved with the people around her and gradually settles into her first real home. Peck cleverly employs Molly's outsider status to great effect, allowing readers to learn about the characters along with Molly, via her first-person narrative. He draws indications of her assimilation with subtlety and exquisite pacing, over the course of a year in his protagonist's life. As Molly's affection for Will and overworked Aunt Fay (whose phrases she begins to imitate) solidify, she begins to accept that her mother may never return. This sensitive heroine is one readers will want to take under their wing?and will bid her a fond farewell at the story's gratifying conclusion. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9AIn the tradition of The Great Gilly Hopkins (HarperCollins, 1978) comes the story of another child whose mother cannot stay for the long haul. A caseworker leaves Molly Moberly at the house of her great-aunt Fay, a nurse in a small town with a southern ambiance. Next door, Will has been similarly dumped on his grandparents. He reaches out to her, but the girl resists, convinced that her drug-addicted mother will be coming for her any day. The months wear on and Molly shrewdly observes the lives around her, uncovering more than one town secret. She learns that Will's father has died of AIDS, kept at home and nursed by Aunt Fay for fear of the intolerance of small-minded neighbors. She witnesses the ties of loyalty and long experience with others' foibles that can positively characterize relationships in small towns. At last, Molly comes to feel at home. This is a serious, but not unhopeful, look at a situation many young people face. Not every element of the plot is fully integrated, including an arson incident that seems uneasily tacked-on. By and large, however, the book is convincing, and Molly is especially well drawn. Peck gives her a plain-talking voice full of grit and a wonderful originality of phrasing. Many readers will root for Molly and Will as they struggle with the hands their parents have dealt them.AMiriam Lang Budin, Mt. Kisco Public Library, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Strays Like Us June 5 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Strays Like Us by Richard Peck is a fictional story about a girl name Molly Moberly. Molly is a 12-year-girl sent to live with her Aunt Fay in a small Missouri town while her mtoher is in the hospital. Aunt Fay, a distant relative, is Molly's only family. Aunt Fay works hard all over town as a home nurse. Molly waits for her mom everyday to come back. Molly is a pretty good artist but she only draws pictures of Debbie, her absent mother. She meets a boy named Will McKinney, who lives with his grandparents next door. Will tells Molly that they are two strays living with relatives. The McKinney's have a secret that will change Will's family dramatically.
School starts, and Molly has to enroll because her mom has not came back for her yet. Not making any friends, Molly meets a home-schooled girl named Tracy at the public library. Everything is so perfect. Molly thinks that it would be cool to have a girl as a friend until Tracy invites her over and Molly realizes that she is not accepted in Tracy's world. Others, including her teachers, try to take Molly out of her shell but they fail in doing that. When Molly learns the terrible truth about her mother, the dramatic experience will change her forever. This book will keep you turning the pages at the edge of your seat. Molly and Will are Strays Like Us in this unraveling five star novel recommended for everyone!!
By: Ariel, Camille, Kristen, and Stefanie
Ms. Malone's 7th grade reading class!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exclamation Points. Jan. 11 2001
Format:Paperback
I have read a lot of books; three or four a week for the last 20 years. Many many of them have been very good. Few, however, are written as well as this one. Richard Peck is a fine author. I believe this may be his best book.
It is not a long story, I read it in just a few hours. The depth of character development in this book is amazing, though. Also, Peck chooses his words so well. Many times I found myself thinking, "My this is good!" I wish I could write that way.
What I find most interesting, however, is Peck's use of punctuation marks - or lack of it. About halfway through the book, I realized that he never used exclamation points. Oh, he did one or two times for a minor character, but never, not once, for the main character, Molly. Not during the fight. Not at the McKinney's on Thanksgiving Day. Not when she found out about her mother. Never once. Read the book with that in mind and notice how well it fits the story.
Highly recommended. I am buying a personal copy of this book now.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Another Adolescent Female With Angst To Grind April 27 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
It seems like every other YA novel these days has a first-person adolescent female narrator relating the story of her miserable life. I call them Gloomies, the literary equivalent of all those 50's pop tunes where young lovers were drowning in each other's arms, dying in car accidents or being run over by speeding locomotives. I have to admit that Richard Peck's "Strays Like Us' isn't as overwhelmingly bitter or dark as Norma Fox Mazer's "When She Was Good" or Brock Cole's "The Facts Speak For Themselves". It has a breezy, quick-read style and some truly likable characters. But ten years ago in a book of this ilk, Molly, our protagonist, would only have had to deal with the memory of her drug-addict mother as she struggles to adapt to a new junior high school and learns to accept living with a hard-edged aunt (who really does love her). But today, Molly must also deal with a number of secrets involving a school bully, an aging hypochondriac, child abuse, arson, and AIDS. The book is only around 150 pages long, so you see why it moves so quickly. Even so, Molly is such a well-drawn character that, as she relates it, the plot unfolds believably. Yet I liked our heroine so much, I wish she hadn't had quite so many problems piled on top of her.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Really Good Book April 11 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I like this book 'Stays Like Us' because it's about two kis, a boy and a girl, that have the same problem and become friends over that problem. I also like the book because the girl was tough, which you don't really see, and thought she knew everything but found out you can't know everything. One thing I didn't like about the book is the girl was a little too tough, like she fell out of a tree and didn't get hurt.
My favorite part of the book was when Emma, the girl, was in the bathroom and a short boy, who was in her grade, was in there too. Emma beat him up and a teacher came in and took them to the office.
The most vivid story elements would have to be setting and conflict. The setting was vivid because the girl kept talking about what she hated about the town where she was. the conflict was vivid because Emma kept wondering when her mom would come back an get her, which never happened.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I think that anyone can enjoy this book. Nov. 16 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I think that a "Strays Like Us" is fantastic book. Molly's mother is in the hospital for her drug addiction. So Molly is sent to stay with her Aunt Fay. She meets a boy named Will who also is a stray without his parents. They go to school together and become close friends. I think that everyone who likes to read will like this book.
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