Release date: February 27th 2018
Linden Rose has a big secret–she is homeless and living in the halls of her small-town high school. Her position as school blog editor, her best friends, Ham and Seung, and the promise of a future far away are what keep Linden under the radar and moving forward.
But when cool-girl Bea comes to school with a bloody lip, the damage hits too close to home. Linden begins looking at Bea’s life, and soon her investigation prompts people to pay more attention. And attention is the last thing she needs.
Linden knows the only way to put a stop to the violence is to tell Bea’s story and come to terms with her own painful past. Even if that means breaking her rules for survival and jeopardizing the secrets she’s worked so hard to keep.
This book was a quick read exploring a topic I haven’t seen too much in YA books, at least to this extreme. It followed Linden, a high school student who was homeless and living in the school as much as she could. She had a system down and if she didn’t follow it, it could mean the difference between sleeping somewhere in the school and getting stuck outside for the night. She had her two best friends, a notebook to keep track of her debts, and she was determined to graduate and go to college. Her life and the lives of her two best friends ended up getting tangled up with a trio of popular kids, which Linden feared would expose her secret.
Linden was a very determined, goal-oriented character. She didn’t want to be a burden on anyone so she kept a tally of anything she took and found ways to pay it back. She was always careful about how she presented herself so as not to draw attention so teachers or parents wouldn’t start asking questions. The riskiest thing she allowed herself was the friendship of her two best friends, Ham and Seung. Those three together were amazing. Seung was the more serious one and Ham was the comedian. The three of them had their differences at times but they were so clearly meant to be a group.
When her group started to clash with Bea’s group, it brought more attention to Linden and she kept trying to stay away from it. She was resistant to getting involved at first. Bea clearly didn’t want Linden around her, it broke so many of Linden’s rules that kept her safe, but they kept getting pushed together. It provided some interesting dynamics between the two groups.
Overall, I thought this book did a great job highlighting the issue of youth homelessness and how easily overlooked it can be. It had really interesting character dynamics, which I will always like, and it had growth for so many characters without distracting from the main character’s arc.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.