Koertge, Ron. Strays. Candlewick Press, 2007. ISBN 9780763627058. $16.99. 167 p.
Reviewer: Eliza Nevin
Reading Level: Young adult
Subject: Foster home care--Juvenile fiction; Orphans--Juvenile fiction; Human-animal communication--Juvenile fiction; Books--Reviews;
When sixteen-year-old Ted O'Connor's parents die in a car accident, he is sent to live with two foster parents whom Ted is pretty sure are psycho. He inherits two foster brothers-- Astin, a gearhead, and C.W., a wannabe gangster--and starts attending a new inner-city high school. As Ted becomes comfortable with the new people in his life he discovers that his extraordinary gift of communicating with animals--left over from his days working at his parents' pet store--begins to fade.
Ted's awkward teenage thoughts are authentic. Readers will relate to his quiet personality and follow his emotional journey with hope for Ted's future. The dialogue and plot are believable, but not extraordinary. Sensitive readers should be cautioned of the prevalent profanity.
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