Monday, November 21, 2011

Forgotten: Seventeen and Homeless, by Melody Carlson

Adele thought her life might finally be on an upswing.  Her mom got a new job in a new town, along with a condo.  They move over the summer, and Adele starts off on the right foot at her new school.  She is hanging out with popular kids, making friends, perhaps even finding romance.  Then, in the blink of an eye, Adele finds herself abandoned by her mother, and homeless.  Will she be able to survive?

I really commend the author for taking on the topic of teen homelessness.  While the book itself was a little soft, the topic is one of real concern, and one we rarely see portrayed in young adult books.  The storyline makes it easy to see how good kids end up in bad situations.  Adele was not a runaway, or a drug user, nor was she suffering from mental illness, yet she ends up homeless.  A good kid, who makes decent grades, and has a part time job, ends up homeless.  Bravo to Melody Carson for breaking down stereotypes of the homeless.  While Adele's mom has mental healthy issues that contribute to the situation, Adele herself is a fairly well adjusted, normal kid.

The thing that bothered me about the book was it seemed to keep the reader at arms' length.  We never really get to know the characters, we are left with lots of unanswered questions, and we are only scratching the surface of the story and the issues at hand.  I think this could have easily been developed into a more detailed, longer novel, with more depth and character development.  As it is, I felt more like I was reading a blog of a homeless teen than a novel written about a homeless teen.

All in all, not a bad book.  This book would be a great way to open up a dialogue about homelessness with young adults.  Unfortunately, the book just left me wanting more.  More about the characters, more about the story, and more about the impact of Adele's homelessness on her life in the long run.

This book is from my personal library.

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