Monday, May 10, 2010

COMPROMISED by Heidi Ayarbe

Maya loves science.  She approaches every situation first with a "hypothesis" and then a plan of action.  Her life is filled with situations that need her attention.

Raised by a single father after her mother's suicide, Maya has been shifted from place to place as her father has "hustled" to make a living for them.  He was caught in his last con-game, and now he's in prison and Maya has become part of the system.  As the newest resident in the orphanage, Maya latest "hypothesis" is focused on escape.

She puts her plan into action when she learns she may be headed to live with an odd, overly-religious family.  Her brief visit with them made her extremely uncomfortable, and she knows she doesn't have much time before she could be living with them permanently.  She packs her few possessions and following her father's vague instructions, heads back to the last place she called home to find a box of her mother's things that supposedly holds valuable information about an aunt who might be her last chance for a real home.

Maya is joined by Nicole, another resident from the orphanage.  Not long into their journey, they meet Klondike, a homeless, street kid with a disfiguring burn and Tourette's syndrome.  Together they begin the search for Maya's aunt.

Life on the streets is tough.  The three leave Reno behind by hitchhiking and bumming rides however they can.  The little money they have doesn't last long, and as hunger sets in, they resort to raiding dumpsters and shoplifting.  They sleep on the streets and try to warm up by stopping in libraries as Maya tries to gather information about her only surviving relative.

Author Heidi Ayarbe does not glamorize life on the streets.  Her story of Maya and friends is bleak and without much hope.  Readers will be driven to read out of morbid curiosity as they observe the downward spiral of the three travelers.  COMPROMISED gives insight into the increasing problem of the homeless and the sad fact that innocent children are among them.

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