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Strays Like Us by Cecilia Galante
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Strays Like Us (original 2018; edition 2018)

by Cecilia Galante (Author)

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1022214,940 (3.5)None
From the moment Fred (never Winifred!) spots a scruffy little mutt with sad eyes, she knows she's in big trouble. Toby's in bad shape, and Fred longs to rescue him from the old man with the mile-long mean streak who lives next door. But Margery -- the straight-talking woman who is fostering Fred -- says going over to their house is against the rules. And since Fred will only be around until her mother comes to grips with her dependence, Fred can't let herself care too deeply. Not about Toby or Margery or Delia, a new classmate whose insistent friendship surprises Fred at every turn. Because the more Fred lets this lovable band of misfits into her heart, the harder it'll be to leave them all behind. In this story of loss and love, acclaimed author Cecilia Galante examines life's difficult choices and how a girl plus the dog she loves can add up to finding family in the most unlikely places.… (more)
Member:Ella_reese
Title:Strays Like Us
Authors:Cecilia Galante (Author)
Info:scholastic (2018)
Collections:Your library, To read
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Strays Like Us by Cecilia Galante (2018)

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3.5 stars (rating may differ depending on whether site allows half star ratings)

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****

I think there are times that everyone feels alone or different (or like a stray to use this author's jargon). My guess is that different people respond differently to this feeling. Some become bullies/mean girls, putting others down to build themselves up. Some become followers, figuring that being in the orbit of someone else who is perceived as popular keeps them in the "in" crowd. Some embrace their differentness or find others who have similar interests and don't worry about being popular.

Winifred, who prefers to go by Fred, has more reasons to feel like a "stray" than most. She's placed with Margery after her mother is arrested for stealing from work. This also means changing schools. It's no wonder Fred is a hurting child. Unfortunately, instead of sharing her hurts and fears, she tends to bottle them up and then lash out at others. I was glad to see her grow--grow to the point where she's not afraid to tell the truth despite her mother asking her to keep secrets and to the point where she's able to identify that she's going to explode on someone else.

Ardelia Lark is a victim of bullying. Through a friendship with Fred, Delia learns to stand up for herself.

Margery is interesting--she cares but somehow she also knows when to let Fred work things out for herself and when to push or counsel her.

Toby (a dog) is another stray. He's the neighbor's dog but seems to be neglected. We do find out some of the why late in the book, but it is still heartbreaking. Fred takes an interest in Toby and the two sort of heal each other. Toby gets to experience freedom. ( )
  JenniferRobb | Dec 1, 2019 |
Literary Merit: Good
Characterization: Good
Recommended: Yes
Level: 7-12

Summary:
Strays Like Us tackles issues that impact more children than we’d like to think: parental drug abuse, poverty, foster care, and bullying. This novel does so in a realistic, yet hopeful way, which makes it believable and enjoyable. Winifred (“Fred”) has been placed into the emergency foster care system after her mom is arrested, and she ends up with a kind, yet tough woman named Margery. Fred befriends an abused dog from next door, and faces challenges trying to deal with his mean owner. In addition to her fear that she might never see her mom again, Fred gets in trouble at school and has to learn how to be brave and kind while facing all of this adversity.

I don’t normally enjoy middle school level literature, but this novel was engaging and I was able to connect with many of the characters. I classify this as primarily middle school because the protagonist is 12, and the reading level is simpler. However, I also think high school students would enjoy the book, especially if they can identify with any of the issues. ( )
  SWONroyal | Nov 11, 2018 |
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This one is for Judy, who always listens.
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I heard the barking right away, the noise of it carrying over the wind like a lost kite.
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From the moment Fred (never Winifred!) spots a scruffy little mutt with sad eyes, she knows she's in big trouble. Toby's in bad shape, and Fred longs to rescue him from the old man with the mile-long mean streak who lives next door. But Margery -- the straight-talking woman who is fostering Fred -- says going over to their house is against the rules. And since Fred will only be around until her mother comes to grips with her dependence, Fred can't let herself care too deeply. Not about Toby or Margery or Delia, a new classmate whose insistent friendship surprises Fred at every turn. Because the more Fred lets this lovable band of misfits into her heart, the harder it'll be to leave them all behind. In this story of loss and love, acclaimed author Cecilia Galante examines life's difficult choices and how a girl plus the dog she loves can add up to finding family in the most unlikely places.

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