SHAKEDOWN STREET by Jonathan Nasaw


Age Range: 14 & up
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 Following the break-up of Guru Ganjaji's Paradise Village, 14-year-old Carolina (``Caro'') and her hippie mother end up homeless in San Francisco. Nasaw's first novel for young people moves from one contrived near-tragedy to the next, with Caro repeatedly rescued in the nick by one of the street people with whom she and her mother have bonded. Momma finds a part-time job and Caro panhandles; the group moves from under a freeway ramp to an abandoned house in Berkeley, where Caro's enrolled in high school and is conveniently reunited with a Paradise Village friend. Evicted, she and Momma get enough money (taken at gunpoint from a man who's ``hired'' Caro to provide sexual favors to older gentlemen) to move to Monterey and share an apartment. Through Caro's narration, the author calls all the shots. There's little character development, and, except for a couple of S.F. landmarks, the setting could be almost anywhere. Caro's voice doesn't ring true: she attempts to be savvy by describing how her mother's singing of ``Nothing could be finer...'' began to bother her at age four (``I think it was sort of a sex thing or something--nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina''), and while she's a good student, her narration is awkwardly ungrammatical. Fast paced, but unconvincing. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-31071-4
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1993