Robert "'Cali" Callahan is a teen runaway, living on the streets of Venice Beach, California. He's got a pretty sweet life: a treehouse to sleep in, a gang of surf bros, a regular basketball game...even a girl who's maybe-sorta interested in him.
What he doesn't have is a plan.
All that changes when a local cop recommends Cali to a private investigator who is looking for a missing teenager. After all, Cali knows everyone in Venice. But the streets are filled with people who don't want to be found, and when he's hired to find the beautiful Reese Abernathy, who would do anything to stay hidden, Cali must decide where his loyalties truly lie.
◆ A copy was provided by Little Brown for review ◆
At the age of fourteen, Cali ran away from the foster care system in Nebraska and, since then, has been making a life for himself off the grid. Now seventeen, lives in a treehouse in the backyard of Hope Stillwell, a Venice Beach resident and spends his time alternating between odd jobs and hanging out with his fellow homeless teen friends. Then Cali’s policeman friend Detective Mitchell refers him to a private investigator who needs help locating a wealthy young San Francisco runaway and is willing to pay for his assistance. Cali not only finds the boy, he learns that he really enjoys finding people and wants to be a private detective himself. Thus begins his journey of change.
I like how Cali grows throughout the book. He is smart, perceptive, and filled with a strong desire to help others. He only needs a little help in realizing that he can do something with his life. With each new case Cali takes on, he grows from his new life experiences and comes to realize the need to further his education and broaden his social connections. The secondary characters are also well drawn. They have their unique quirks, and I love the relationships they share with Cali.
They story is also well done. It is about a homeless teen's journey to setting himself up as a private detective on Venice Beach. The story provides remarkable insight into the world of homelessness, particularly that of homeless teens, and has the potential to spark discussion about the teenage homeless dilemma for educators, parents and teens. This is an excellent teen read that reluctant readers may be encouraged to pick up.