America started out in this world with a lotta strikes against him. Born to a drug-addicted mother and shuffled through foster home after foster home, America has been molested, abandoned and broken too many times to count. Now, after a botched suicide attempt, he has ended up in the office of Dr. B, a caring psychiatrist who has decided to help America no matter what, despite his potty mouth and huge attitude. Rock-star YA author Frank (who is my all-time fav., check out my rave for her first book on the Short Cuts list) avoids the notorious sophomore slump and scores another hit record with her awesome follow-up to Life is Funny. America is a smart, scared teen whose heart of gold can be glimpsed periodically under his nasty exterior. And Frank can write in both a convincing kid and teen voice. My favorite part of this book is when America is forced to go and visit his crack-head mom and she leaves him and his two half brothers (all under the age of eight) alone for days and America, in a confused, little boy way, keeps writing his foster mom’s phone number over and over on any surface he can reach, because he doesn’t want to forget it since there’s no working phone in the apartment. Both heartbreaking and amazing, America is so moving that Rosie O’Donnell has already bought the film rights. Which means America could be coming soon to a theatre near YOU! Keep your peepers peeled for it!
America by E.R. Frank