You know when you get a reader's advisory question from a kid who obviously knows what he wants and isn't afraid to tell you when a book is a "no," and you still have to pull about 15 books of the shelf to get him to articulate exactly what he wants?
Those are my favorite. I just had a kid come in and ask me if I had any books like the David Pelzer books. So I took him over to YA and laid 15 books on the table (OK, really it was only 11) and he picked out four and told me exactly what he liked about them.
Since kids come in all the time for that David Pelzer deliciousness, I thought it was worth mentioning which books were take-homes:
Going, K.L. Saint Iggy. "Because his mom is addicted to Meth."
Rapp, Adam. Under the Wolf, Under the Dog. "Because the kids live on the streets."
Mickaelsen, Ben. Touching Spirit Bear.* "Because it goes through the juvenile justice system process."
Shaw, Susan. The Boy in the Basement. "Because it sounds a lot like A Child Called It."
I should note that Breathing Underwater, by Alex Flinn, Rules of Survival, by Nancy Werlin, and You Don't Know Me, by David Klass, were checked out, so it's possible those would have tempted him.
I also really wanted to figure out a way to give him a Jake Coburn or Kevin Brooks book, because, well, I just love them, but unfortunately, neither of those authors has written specifically about child abuse or homelessness, which seem to be the fascinations.
*I feel a little guilty about this one, because the Native American lore in it is totally lore, as in 100% bonafide made-up nonsense. But the book is really popular, so I just tell kids that the Native American stuff is made-up by crazy white people.