Free Lunch by Rex Ogle

Free Lunch: Ogle, Rex: 9781324003601: Books

Rex and his family live in poverty. His mother can’t find work, her live-in boyfriend is struggling to provide, and the Dad is just barely in the picture. There’s not enough food (hence the necessity of the school’s free lunch program), their few possessions are frequently in and out of pawn shops, bills aren’t being paid, and home life for Rex is…bad. Very bad. As in “call in DCFS” bad. What Rex had to go through in the story was absolutely heart-breaking. It also made me evaluate the “it’s-none-of-my-business” mentality that some outsiders tend to adopt when they see something wrong. You don’t want to be a busy-body, but…

If it was Rex Ogle’s intention to make me hate most of the adults (and some of the kids) in this book, he succeeded (a notable exception being Rex’s loving, hard-working abuela). Well, for about 3/4 of the book anyway. A change occurs later in the story to make some of the characters slightly less repulsive and more sympathetic. Although there is a thin veneer of a happy ending, you can tell that the deeper issues addressed have yet to be resolved.

I suppose that’s a reflection of real life (which is what YA literature is all about). Not everything gets wrapped up nice and neat.