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When fifteen-year-old Romeo's mother leaves one day and doesn't return, he finds himself homeless and trying to survive on the streets. Mute and terrified, his silence makes him vulnerable, and one night he is beaten by a gang of other kids, only to be rescued by a boy who pledges to take care of him.
Julian is barely two years older than Romeo. A runaway from an abusive home, he has had to make some difficult choices and sells himself on the street to survive. Taking care of Romeo changes him, gives him a purpose in life, gives him hope, and he tries to be strong and keep his troubles with drugs behind him. But living as they do is slowly destroying him, and he begins to doubt he can be strong enough.
This is the story of their struggle to find a way off the streets and stay together at all costs. But when events threaten to tear them apart, it is Romeo who must find the strength within himself to help Julian (and not let their love story turn into a Shakespearean tragedy).
This subject matter was hard and painful. I won’t focus as much on the plot, but instead I will highlight the issue of Homelessness. While this book featured two homeless youth, Romeo Danilov and Julian Lavelle, there are homeless families and war veterans out there too. Not every homeless person is an addict.
Romeo “Remee” was a deaf sixteen year old and his friend Julian was two years older. Romeo’s mother, a russian immigrant left to get groceries and never returned home. Julian was the victim repeated physical and sexual abuse before he ran away. Their plight to survive on the harsh streets of London made my stomach churn. The daily grind to find food, shelter from the weather and avoid being prey was enough to make my breath hitch. They are part of a growing population and this book was an eye opener.
According to US News & World Report, 46 million Americans live below the poverty line, that is 16% of the population. I will thank the Author Suki Fleet for not sugar coating the issue and not trying to “make it better”. Homelessness is a real issue and I encourage everyone to find ways to help, such as:
1) Volunteering at an established place like a shelter, food bank etc.
2) Show concern, kindness and respect as homeless people are humans too.
3) Donations are appreciated; blankets,clothes, shoes, food are always welcomed.
4) Advocate by encouraging others to join the fight against homelessness.