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The realistic fiction novel Shifty, by Lynn E. Hazen, illustrates how hard it is to accept change in your life. Shifty, the teen boy who stars in this book, has learned to survive on the streets even if it means stealing, driving illegally, and lying to police and social workers. When he finally lands in a foster family, he doesn’t know how to trust them.

Shifty’s experiences are sometimes tender and funny, sometimes sad. He’s put in some difficult situations, and he doesn’t always make good decisions. The foster family is supportive, but Shifty at first doesn’t understand how the four family members can believe in each other so strongly given what they have each been through.

This is a book about a boy on the edge of society, but it is not at all dark and edgy. The strength of family is an important theme, making it a great book for younger teens.

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