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Young Adult Fiction
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Independent Press Award

2024 Distinguished Favorite

Junkyard Boys

Hadley Vega

Zeke Marcus, who has always fantasized about life as a runaway, is found living under a bridge. Danny Winters had been living a reclusive and truant life with his agoraphobic mother. Their travelogues after being taken from the only lives they knew bring you front and center to their fight as they’re forced into an adult world they weren’t ready for. The boys, upon meeting at their first foster home, begin manifesting their own individual symptoms of surviving their situation and the complexities and paradoxes of being bastard and estranged adolescent boys. Shock, defiance, spiraling humiliation, and an incurable insanity all begin for Zeke and Danny when they realize the indefinite futures that wait for them. As impressionable teens full of rage, separation, and distrust, they continue their path to self-destruction. There are some comparisons to Sapphire’s PUSH, while this book tells a similar story that, for some, will heighten awareness and expose adults and youths today to the plight so many less fortunate kids face. Their sometimes humorous and other times heart-wrenching lives are unraveled through a series of vignettes narrated by Zeke and Danny, as they merge throughout the novel to become one story.

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