TJ has lived with his drug addicted parents most of his life though he does remember better times before things got bad. Now his father has overdosed, his drug addicted mother sent to rehabilitation and TJ to a foster home. As it turns out, a good foster home. People don't give up on this kid with a tough bully exterior. TJ has become fast friends with some of his foster family then his mom gets him back. She is really only interested in the support money she gets supposedly for his care. So, he is on his own. He is recruited into a gang though never fully participates but then tragedy strikes the gang in the form of a shoot out with a rival gang resulting in the deaths of the leaders, folks start looking to him for leadership and he runs. The rest is the sort of happy ending we could mostly hope for. This a Saddleback book for teens not yet able to read well. There is a lot of action and emotion in the story. It has won awards and it has been asked for in our library. So, despite the sort of idealistic ending I think its worth reading, it does work as a whole, is realistic.