From School Library Journal Grade 8 Up?A free-verse novel told in three voices. Billy, 16, says good riddance to his abusive father and hops a freight train. Settling in a small town in Australia that has a friendly librarian and a train yard with abandoned cars to call home, he adjusts quickly to life, figuring out how to eat and keep clean. Intelligent and mature, the teen thinks about cruelty, compassion, and what his life has become?'I'm poor, homeless, but I'm not stupid.' He meets and falls in love with Caitlin, a rich and dissatisfied girl who quickly sees there is more to Billy than a starving bum grabbing leftovers off the tables in McDonald's. He also befriends Old Bill, a homeless drunk who teaches him a few things, including how to earn money. Billy has little to offer but compassion, and that's what these two people so desperately need. All three of them are able to give the simplest gifts to one another in this beautiful, subtle, and sensitive story. Tough language is occasionally and appropriately used, and the sexuality is indirectly portrayed, sweet and full of love. A dramatic and compelling story that will appeal even to reluctant readers, this book exceeds Herrick's pair of verse novels, Love, Ghosts, & Facial Hair and A Place Like This (both Pulse, 2004).?Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL Copyright ? Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Read more From Booklist Gr. 8-10. A boy runs away from an unhappy family situation, sets up house in an abandoned freight car, and establishes new ties that nourish his soul and lead to a real home. Sound like the newest installment of The Boxcar Children series? Nope. For one thing, this is a YA novel in verse; for another, it's Australian. Even so, this tender, uplifting story occupies a cozy corner of the literary universe not too far removed from that of Boxcar kids Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny. Herrick reveals, in alternating verse narratives, the innermost thoughts of a trio of characters who influence one another in positive ways: there's 16-year-old Billy, the aforementioned freight-car resident; Caitlin, the wealthy townie with whom he forms a transcendent bond; and Old Bill, the lawyer-turned-alcoholic hobo to whom Billy reaches out--and who gives Billy an astonishing gift in return. Another crowd-pleasing, swift-reading novel of redemptive love and friendship, sure to please fans of Herrick's Love, Ghosts, and Facial Hair and A Place Like This [BKL Mr 15 04]. Jennifer MattsonCopyright ? American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Read more See all Editorial Reviews
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