Stealing Home by Patsy Ann Taylor

If you ever wanted to know how a thirteen-year-old boy thinks, this book is a well-done primer and comprehensive example. Trevor, the protagonist, is the narrator and his voice is consistently age-correct. The book is also, by the way, terrific story telling. It’s a middle-grade novel, but it’s the kind of tale that will appeal to parents as well as their pre-teens.

When Trevor’s dad arranges for him to ride a bus from L.A. to his home in Napa, he expects him to arrive hours later after a boring bus ride. It doesn’t happen. Instead Trevor misses the bus and begins the kind of exciting adventure that knocks every pitch out of the park. I should mention that Taylor fills her story with appropriate kid-level metaphors, many of them about baseball, which happens to fit the plot perfectly.

The story includes Tracy, a high-energy girl that keeps Trevor on the move, Rug, her dog, King, a homeless hero of sorts, and Jesse, the mean obstacle. The book contains many life lessons for young Trevor that will apply to young readers. It’s also an introduction to homelessness an issue in our metropolitan areas that has grown out of control. What used to be a fringe issue has become a significant portion of our society, a portion that includes many children.

In my opinion this was a five-star MG novel. I loved Taylor’s excellent writing, her squeaky clean and expert use of language and (as I already said) her selection of metaphors. If there’s a fault, it’s the idealistic representation of the homeless landscape. But it’s nasty and dangerous and belongs in a Young Adult story.