Being Henry David

Seventeen-year-old “Hank” has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything—who he is, where he came from, why he’s running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David—or “Hank”—and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of—Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.

Cal Armistead’s remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home.

No Ordinary Day

Even though Valli spends her days picking coal and fighting with her cousins, life in the coal town of Jharia, India, is the only life she knows. The only sight that fills her with terror is the monsters who live on the other side of the train tracks — the lepers. When Valli discovers that that her “aunt” is a stranger who was paid money to take Valli off her own family’s hands, she leaves Jharia and begins a series of adventures that takes her to Kolkata, the city of the gods. Valli finds that she really doesn’t need much to live and is very resourceful. But a chance encounter with a doctor reveals that she has leprosy. Unable to bear the thought that she is one of the monsters she has always feared, Valli rejects help and begins an uncertain life on the street.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 5, Issue 3.

Mr. Stink

Mr. Stink stank. He also stunk. And if it was correct English to say he stinked, then he stinked as well. . . .Ó Chloe sees Mr. Stink every day, but sheÕs never spoken to him. Which isnÕt surprising, because heÕs a tramp, and he stinks. But there’s more to Mr. Stink than meets the eye (or nose) and before she knows it, Chloe has an unusual new friend hiding in her garden shed. As Chloe struggles to keep Mr. Stink a secret, and her dad tries to hide a secret of his own, the stage is set for an epic family confrontation. But there’s one other person with an extraordinary secret Mr. Stink himself.

Theories of Relativity

Sixteen-year-old Dylan Wallace is living on the streets not through any choice of his own, unlike some of the teenagers he meets in the same situation. He’s been cut loose by his unstable mother, and lost most contact with his two younger brothers. He has nothing but his backpack stuffed with a few precious belongings and the homeless kids he meets. At least he has his theories. No one can take those away from him. Like how every fourth person throws him spare change; how no one does anything for anyone without a price; and how he just might be able to find a place in this complicated world.