WONDERS OF THE WORLD, by Brian Yansky, (Flux, 2007). Eric's father introduced him to the "wonders of the world"-- stories of (mostly) made-up adventure and world travel. But when Eric was twelve, his father left, never to return. His mother remarried, and they moved to Omaha.
At seventeen, Eric runs away, to escape his mother's new life and maybe find his father. Now, Eric is living on the streets of Riverton, a cesspool of gangs, junkies, murder, and sex for hire. He manages to eke out a miserable existence panhandling, along with a handful of other street kids. But then he and his ex-girlfriend attract the attention of Bluebeard, the thuggish and vicious crime boss who runs much of the vice in Riverton. Desperate to find a way out, Eric just may have a chance if only he can escape the evil Bluebeard.
Told with sardonic humor, WONDERS OF THE WORLD is quirky, gritty, and riveting, with a great voice and terrific story. Sometimes grim, sometimes hopeful, WONDERS OF THE WORLD is an amazing, compelling read. Highly recommended.
See an interview with Brian Yansky at Cynsations.