Straydog by Kathe Koja

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A powerful debut novel

A female collie mix, so beautiful, all gold and white and dirty; she’s in the last cage on the aisle, curled up quiet, watching everything – but when I get too close she goes completely crazy, biting at the bars, herself, anything in reach, until I back off and away. Her growl’s like ripping metal, jagged, dangerous, and strong . . . Don’t mess with me, that growl says. I may be in a cage but I can still bite.

Rachel is happiest when she’s volunteering at the animal shelter, especially after she meets the feral collie she names Grrl: they’re both angry and alone. When a teacher encourages her to write about the dog, Rachel finds another outlet for her pain and frustration. Writing about Grrl is easy. But teaching Grrl to trust her is a much tougher task. And when Griffin, the new boy in school, devises a plan to bring Grrl home, Rachel finds that the dog isn’t the only one who must learn to trust.

Kathe Koja offers a raw and emotional tale about a girl who risks breaking out of her own cage to find the help she needs.

About Kathe Koja

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Kathe Koja is the author of several novels for adults. She lives in the Detroit area with her husband and teenage son.
Published April 12, 2002 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 112 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Young Adult, Nature & Wildlife, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Volunteering at an animal shelter, prickly loner Rachel finds a kindred spirit in the newly arrived, savagely feral dog she dubs “Grrl.” A compulsive writer, Rachel is inspired to work on a nightmarish, dog’s-eye view of street life that her creative-writing teacher urges her to finish and submit...

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Publishers Weekly

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Koja (Extremities), the author of novels for adults, enters the YA realm with a solid if sometimes familiar tale of a high school misfit: "What do you do when you're too smart for the freaks, but too much of a freak for the smart kids?

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