Tuesday, April 29, 2014

NO PLACE by Todd Strasser

No PlaceIt's Dan's senior year.  He has a hot girl friend and his pitching talents have earned him a scholarship to Rice University.  Everything seems to be headed in the right direction for him except for that both his parents are out of work.   With the downturn of the economy, his mother lost her job as a stockbroker, and his father's job organizing activities for inner city youth was eliminated.  Now they are losing their home.

Dan is forced to pack up his belongs and join his parents as they move into his uncle's house.  Instead of having his own room, he is sleeping in the rec room surrounded by a pool table and his cousins' toys.  Things at the house are tense.  Uncle Ron makes it clear that he doesn't think his brother-in-law, Dan's dad, is trying his hardest to find a job.  The already uncomfortable situation reaches a boiling point when Dan's dad borrows Uncle Ron's golf clubs without asking. 

It is time to move on, but the only option left is a tent city called Dignityville that has been erected in one of the city's park areas.  Dan can't believe he will be spending the rest of his senior year living in a tent and sharing meals in a communal dining tent.  Relationship problems with his girl friend, his father's suspicious activities, and pressure to stay in shape and pitch well at an upcoming fall tournament may prove to be more than Dan can handle.  To complicate matters, it appears that some opponents of Dignityville are willing to use violence to make their feelings known.

Author Todd Strasser has done it again.  He takes on the challenge of making teen readers aware of homelessness and the lack of class equality in our country.  NO PLACE educates readers about a growing social issue and also entertains with a bit of mystery and intrigue.   

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