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STRAYS by Ron Koertge


by Ron Koertge

Age Range: 13 - 15

Pub Date: June 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7636-2705-8
Publisher: Candlewick

Sixteen-year-old Ted’s new to foster care, but not new to being unwanted. In his old high school, he was bullied, and his now-dead parents cared more about the animals they sold than they ever cared about their own son. At first, his new foster home seems like it will be just another terrible time in Ted’s life. Foster-father Mr. Rafter is mildly racist, while Mrs. Rafter likes to breast feed a plastic doll. There’s nobody Ted can communicate with, except the animals he’s always been able to speak with: dogs, cats, the giraffe at the zoo. But against all of his expectations, Ted starts to make friends with his foster brothers at the Rafter’s, and with a few girls at school. Ted’s life is far from perfect, but maybe he can rely on someone other than animals at last. The development of Ted, the slightly unreliable narrator—from sullen self-sufficient teen to tentative social animal—is heartwarmingly real, and the light magical touch adds a clever flavor to this appealing coming-of-age story. (Fiction. 13-15)