"Where would you like to be five years from now?" Dr. B. asks.
"Nowhere," America answers.
By age fifteen, America has already been nowhere. Been nobody. Separated from his foster mother, Mrs. Harper. A runaway living for weeks in a mall, then for months in Central Park. A patient at Applegate, the residential treatment facility north of New York City. And now at Ridgeway, a hospital.
America is a boy, he thinks to himself, who gets lost easy and is not worth the trouble of finding.
But Dr. B. takes the trouble. With abiding care, he nudges America's story from him. An against-the-odds story about America's shattered past with his mother and brothers. About Browning, a man in Mrs. Harper's house who saves America, then betrays him. About a bighearted, hardheaded girl named Liza, and Ty and Fish and Wick and Marshall and Ernie and Tom and Dr. B. himself who care more than America does about whether he lives or dies.
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At the discretion of the social welfare system, a 5-year-old boy named America trustingly leaves the safe haven of his foster home for a visit with his desperate, drug-addicted mother. And because of that one lapse in adult judgment, a child is lost within the system until almost 11 years later when he tries to end his own life. It is the patient therapist Dr. B. who must coax an embittered and damaged America into revisiting all the dark alleys of that lonely suicide road in order to face down his fears and dare to be found. "I'm not that little kid anymore.... I'm not white and I'm not black and I'm not anything, but I'm a little bit of everything.... I look down and it's just me." Searingly raw and so painfully honest it nearly draws blood, young-adult novelist E.R. Frank's powerful sophomore effort about a boy nearly broken by neglect and abuse will dampen every eye and brand every heart. Reminiscent of Han Nolan's Born Blue and Sapphire's Push, America is a similarly cathartic combination of brutal truth and brilliant writing. It is simply not to be missed. (Ages 13 and older) --Jennifer HubertAbout the Author:
E.R. Frank is the author of America, Friction, Wrecked, and Dime. Her first novel, Life Is Funny, won the Teen People Book Club NEXT Award for YA Fiction and was also a top-ten ALA 2001 Quick Pick. In addition to being writer, E.R. Frank is also a clinical social worker and psychotherapist. She works with adults and adolescents and specializes in trauma.
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