I write a wide range of sub-genres, but when presented with this topic, one story came to mind, or rather, two: The Angel of 13th Street, and the followup, Fallen Angel.
Some kids mark back to school with new clothes, a new backpack, and a bit of anxiety. But what about those who don’t have the support of a loving family?
Once foster-care children reach eighteen, they’re out of the system, whether they’ve graduated high school or not. No more support. Really? What child is ready to live on their own at eighteen, without even advice or encouragement, not to mention basic needs such as food, clothing, and housing?
While laws are changing and organizations exist to help, far too many of these kids fall through the cracks. At the time that I wrote The Angel of 13th Street, it was estimated that 80% of kids who’d aged out of the program would wind up homeless. In the story, Jeremy Kincaid was one of those kids.
Bright, with dreams of making something of himself, he lived in a deserted basement and did his best to stay in school and earn a scholarship, despite temptation to take “the easy way out.”
Instead of new clothes, Jeremy depended on thrift shops, instead of a home cooked dinner every night he existed on free lunch at school—one meal per day. Until he found himself a new family with an extraordinary man.
The Angel. That’s what the young hustlers call Noah Everett, the man who’ll help them get off the streets. Once a hustler himself, Noah doesn’t take his own good advice, which is, “Don’t let this ruin your life.” Haunted by the past and those he couldn’t save, Noah carefully keeps others at bay until his self-imposed loneliness is shattered by determined, ambitious, but homeless eighteen-year-old Jeremy Kincaid.
A ruthless pimp has targeted Jeremy, but if Noah will fight to get anonymous young men out of the life, he’ll fight harder to keep Jeremy from getting in, even if it means a return to old stomping grounds to make a deal with the devil. To save Jeremy, Noah risks more than just his body. He risks his soul as well, because Willie Carnell, pimp, was once Billy Cordell, Noah’s lover.
Ten years of rescuing lost youth from the streets wear a man out, and Noah Everett buckles under the pressure of being "The Angel." What began as a two-man mission is now going corporate, meaning rules, regulations and inexperienced volunteers needing guidance in a field Noah makes up as he goes along. On top of this, his latest prospective rescue doesn’t seem to go to plan. Is he losing his touch? Normally he’d turn to his mentor, Doc, in times of trouble, but the old man's strength isn't what it used to be. Noah’s lover would be the next most obvious choice to share this burden with, but Jeremy Kincaid is about to leave for college. After all Jeremy's endured to achieve this goal, Noah won’t stand in his way, even though he fears losing the man to the joys of student life.
Jeremy may be young and caught up in his own fights, but he's not blind to Noah’s plight, and now questions his own choices. Four years at State with a full ride will launch his future, but his present includes Noah--and a meth addict who’s become Jeremy’s own personal mission.
When a physical attack sends Noah spinning out of control, Jeremy must reevaluate his life and plans before the man he knows and loves disappears forever.
While most teens don’t face the level of adversity Jeremy faced, many do not finish high school. And of those who do, far too few can afford to make their college dreams come true, or are unaware of programs designed to help, such as state lottery money set aside for education. Here is advice on how students can get the financial assistance they need. Although from a university’s site, the information can be used for different schools.
Oh? And not exactly a teenager anymore? Well, it’s never too late to earn that degree.
Find The Angel of 13th Street here:
Find Fallen Angel here:
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