An award-winning novelist for young adults and older children turns her talents to a carefully researched novel about life on the streets that is, unfortunately, more convincing in its details than in its plot. In a sheltered area under a Los Angeles freeway, a motley group of society's throwaways meet for food, warmth, and whatever comfort they can give each other. There are the older ones (a feisty bag lady, two mutually dependent derelicts, a Vietnam veteran who has retired to the bottle) who have given up on life; and then the younger ones, teen-agers who are fleeing neglectful and abusive home situations and who want to fight for something better. They are led by Chancy, a teen-age girl who has fled a ""ranch for wayward young women"" in Texas and arrived with a gritty determination to find a home and family, even if she has to cobble it together herself. The experience of being homeless, the details of staying alive, fed and warm, are seen through her eyes. She learns quickly; and with the help of Joshua, who has run away from abusive stepparents, begins to take the steps that will make her dream come true. Though full of melodramatic incident, this is nonetheless well-written and powerful, and gives a realistic, sympathetic picture of the homeless. The ending is too pat, it is both satisfying and inspirational, dearly making Jones' point that the way to survive is to come together.