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Fiction Ages 9-12
Pages: 128
Themes: Homelessness, friendship, responsibility
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 01/Oct/2011
Lexile Level: HL550L
Fry Reading Level: 2.6
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In most ways, Poe is like the other kids in his school.

He thinks about girls and tries to avoid too much contact with teachers. He has a loving father who helps him with his homework. But Poe has a secret, and almost every day some small act threatens to expose him. He doesn't have a phone number to give to friends. He doesn't have an address. Poe and his father are living in a tent on city land. When the city clears the land to build housing, Poe worries that they might not be able to find another site near his school. Will Poe have to expose his secret to get help for himself and his father?

CM Magazine
"Living Rough, which offers a real-life example of a student living a tough teenage life, was written for reluctant readers, and so it is both an easy read and a short book. The plot is well planned out, including the suspense of Poe's secret...A realistic novel that involves teen issues to which its intended audience can relate...The plot, dialogue, and characters make this book interesting and well worth the read for a broader audience than just reluctant readers."
Library Media Connection
"With its compassionate take on a contemporary issue and short chapters, the book will appeal to reluctant readers; it can also be used for supplemental reading in social studies classes."
Resource Links
"Once again, the Orca Currents series hits a topical and important issue. Too many teens are dealing with pressures unthinkable for an earlier generation, and these novels present sensitive issues deftly, without the taint of sentimentality."
"A short but nevertheless poignant novel...Watson's book is incredibly relevant to the plight of unemployed and homeless youth and families, and is also a testament to the human will to survive and protect. Poe learns about the value of friendship and the willingness of individuals to show compassion. This book is a valuable addition to the Orca Currents series of books...Watson has formulated some memorable and complex characters...[and] the novel is well-rounded and important. Young readers should find the story compelling, the plot fast-paced and the experience enlightening."
School Library Journal
"A fast read that delivers an important message about the complexities of homelessness."
Booklist Online
"The currency of the topic will resonant with teens of any reading ability, all of whom will be rooting for a happy ending. An excellent addition to the Orca Currents series."
The Horn Book Guide
"The story's themes are thought-provoking."
Tacoma Public School District
"Tackling the sensitive subject of poverty and homelessness, this book in the series is a gripping read and recommended for reluctant readers."


Resource Links "The Year's Best"  | 2011 | Commended
CCBC Best Books  | 2012 | Commended


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Middle-school fiction
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Contemporary stories

Compelling characters

Ideal for Lit Circles

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