She left the hell of her mother's drug addiction, trading it for the trauma of a life on the streets. There are times when one horror is easier to survive than another. But what she was not prepared for, was the terrifying reality that she had to choose hope, choose love, choose courage, instead of allowing herself to remain forever in the comparable safety of disillusionment and fear.
She meets and joins with other homeless teens, all of whom have run from lives just as harrowing as hers, all of whom face the same fates: death, insanity, jail, or being sent back to their original homes (possibly the worst outcome of all). One of these teens becomes more than just her friend or her companion, but her family; and together they struggle to not only stay alive but keep some semblance of sanity and normality before the streets manage to strip it all away.
Told in her own voice, this book follows the journey she takes from the moment she leaves her mother's trailer in Sacramento, at 16, and takes her place among the saddest of the world's forgotten: homeless youth. She learns very quickly and traumatically that life "deals in trades" and will always demand payment for whatever it happens to give. In the end, she must decide if she is willing to allow life to give her hope in return for her struggles and despair, or if she will give in to the overwhelming indicators that there is nothing worth hoping for, no matter where you look.
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