Based on the teenagers' own accounts, the book describes their experiences with working and seeking work, achievements in school and athletics, family life, and the positive influences of their peers and adult mentors. It also details the negative choices that tend to make poverty a life sentence: prostitution and street hustles, pregnancy and early parenthood, gang membership and criminal outlets, drugs and withdrawal into despair.
Still, hope is an unquenchable attribute of youth, and it bubbles up in this book as the authors show how much these teenagers seek to do for themselves in exercising their limited options.
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