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3.32  ·  Rating Details  ·  330 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Could life as a foster kid lead to unexpected benefits? A teenager’s link to animals gives way to human connection in a smart, incisive new novel.

Sixteen-year-old Ted O’Connor’s parents just died in a fiery car crash, and now he’s stuck with a set of semi-psycho foster parents, two foster brothers — Astin, the cocky gearhead, and C.W., the sometimes gangsta — and an inner-
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published May 8th 2007 by Candlewick Press
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Kids in Foster Care
45th out of 160 books — 99 voters
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Books to Read If You Like The Fosters
31st out of 37 books — 13 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 818)
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May 08, 2013 Betsy rated it liked it
Shelves: z-2013-apr
Strays was recommended by a friend of mine. I was not sure what to expect, and after reading it, I am actually not completely sure what to think. Ted's parents just died, and now he is in a foster home where he meets Astin and C. W. He shares a room with Astin who is older and has lived in the home for quite some time. Ted sees Astin as the cool guy. C.W. arrived at the home with Ted but is no stranger to the system. C.W. strives to feel at home with his gang-sta friends and yearns to be loved. ...more
Chad Tenhopen
Apr 18, 2016 Chad Tenhopen rated it really liked it
This good paced, not too long read was pretty enjoyable. Theodore, or Ted, parents pass away in a flaming car crash. But before anything else, you should know this family is not completely normal. They own a pet shop, and the house is covered in cat and dog hair considering they own, or take in, about any animal that talks to them and says he/she needs a home. That's right, Teds mom can talk to animals, she understands them. And so does Ted.
After their deaths, Ted must goes into the system. He
Jacob C
Mar 23, 2016 Jacob C rated it it was amazing
The book “Strays” by Ron Koertge is about Ted O’Connor who isn’t the usual teen, he has an unique ability and because of this ability he isn’t very popular, social or liked. He grew up in his parents pet shop, he is now in the foster care system after they died in a car crash. His new parents are the Rafters and his new “brothers” Austin and C.W. The Rafters Bob and Barbara are slightly insane.

I think Ron Koertge is a really good author who has gained a new fan. His books are very relatable to t
Ashley W.
Apr 01, 2014 Ashley W. rated it liked it

The book Strays is about a 16 year old boy named Ted who gets put into foster care after his parents die in a fiery car crash. He gets put into a foster home with two foster brothers Astin and C.W.. The author Ron Koertge writes about the problems Ted faces after he is put into foster care for example being a new school, living without his parents for the first time, and accepting his new family into his life. Once put into the foster home he realizes he has a special gift, he can talk to animal
Desiree.osman osman
This book was good but, had a very bad ending. It is about a boy that becomes a foster child and his life starts to change. He thinks the change is good at first but doesn't really know for sure, one major change is that he can now speak to animals. I would recommend this book to someone that wants a good easy reading book, wants a couple laughs, and does not mind a very horrible ending.
Feb 23, 2014 Ariel rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
I loved Stoner & Spaz very, very much so when I saw another title by Ron Koertge in the ebooks section of my library, I decided to go for it. This is funny, smart, original, and compulsively readable EVEN THOUGH once again all the adults in the book are pathological and I have been sick of that trope for months now. Reminds me of John Green and that is high praise. So, the story: A boy with a gift for communicating with animals finds a new lease on life when his horrible parents die and he g ...more
Apr 14, 2016 Brooke rated it really liked it
This nice, not too long read was pretty enjoyable. Theodore, or Ted, parents pass away in a flaming car crash. But before anything else, you should know this family is not completely normal. They own a pet shop, and the house is covered in cat and dog hair considering they own, or take in, about any animal that talks to them and says he/she needs a home. That's right, Teds mom can talk to animals, she understands them. And so does Ted.
After their deaths, Ted must goes into the system. He is in
4Q 3P MJ
Ted O’Connor is a teenager facing the death of his parents, and being thrust into the foster care system. Life has been challenging for Ted, as he has never “fit in” and has been made fun of his entire life. His parents had owned a pet store, and through this experience Ted developed his love of animals. He even communicates uniquely with animals, as he too feels he is a stray. At his new foster home he encounters his diverse foster brothers; Austin cocky and cool with his motorcycle, an
Apr 29, 2011 Lily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This book was surprisingly well-written. The structure was simple, but very effective. There was some things I liked in this book and some things, I thought could have been better.

One thing I liked was the fact that Ted (main character) had such a strong relationship with the animals around him. At first I was confused. But as the story progressed I realized that he could understand the animals. It was weird how not too many people noticed he was talking to the animals, or questioned him about
Riley Conway
Sep 14, 2011 Riley Conway rated it really liked it
In Strays, by Ron Koertge, Ted, a shy, mild sixteen-year-old, is thrust into the foster care system when his parents die suddenly in a car crash. He meets Astin—long time foster kid at the Rafters’ (Ted’s new foster home), who is about to graduate and “age out” of the system—and C.W., who arrives at the Rafters’ at the same time as Ted and is both a wannabe gangsta and, as it turns out, a kind-hearted dog-lover.

The book is about Ted letting go of his parents. They didn’t treat him very well, but
Feb 26, 2009 Tracy rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shea Li "Zai"
Sep 14, 2014 Shea Li "Zai" rated it really liked it
A realistic, humorous, and amazing tale of a boy after his parent's death. He finds himself, and changes, loses one half, and adds another. Even though I would disagree on the author about the ending I found the book a worthy read, and not a stereotypical 'boy coping with parent's death'. I felt as if I could get to know him, and yet not know his past, so I was only seeing some of him, the person he was then.
Jul 08, 2008 Bethany rated it really liked it
This was a nice short read that kept me turning pages long after I should have been asleep. The main character is Ted, a 16-year-old who has just lost both his parents in a car wreck. Ted is placed with a foster family where two other teen boys also reside as foster kids. Ted's parents owned a pet store and he was their employee for pretty much his whole life. The book starts out with Ted relating primarily to animals rather than other humans. Part of this seems to be a defense mechanism, as he ...more
Jan 07, 2012 Kaalomai rated it really liked it
this book is full of interesting stuff, the situation, the players, the character development and i loved the big twist. it was perfectly written and threads through the whole story linking it and adding depth and making sense of the it in a really interesting way that kept me reading to find out what we were going to find out next about his animal friends. in the end i wished we could have heard more from them but it did make sense for this story. his foster situation is realistic and i enjoyed ...more
May 08, 2011 Claire rated it really liked it
I am a fan of Mr. Koertge, I think his books are great for a high school guys read list.
In this book Ted (16 or so) is struggling with the deaths of his parents in a fiery car crash. They aren't the best parents, mom loved animals, dad loved money (and various women) Ted was their lackey. At school Ted was a mat for anyone to bully. Ted's crew were the animals that he can truly understand as mates at the mercy of the humans around them.
Now he is 'in the system' and in a foster home of the Rafte
Mar 29, 2016 Fogbitch rated it it was amazing
After his parents die in a car crash, Ted O' Connor is flung into the foster care system. He's going to his first home where he meets new friends C.W. and Astin. His foster parents are possibly completely insane, so how does he cope with it all? He talks to animals, of course. The funny thing is they talk back.
Dawn Vanniman
Oct 08, 2011 Dawn Vanniman rated it it was ok
Ted O'Connor is 16yo and new to the foster care system. His parents died in a car accident. They ran a pet store and had LOTS of animals living in their home. Ted was called "Litterbox Ted" on more than one occasion at school. His parents cared for many things, but not necessarily Ted first: his dad cared for money and women and his mom cared for the animals.

Ted has a weird ability to communicate with animals and I suppose he learns some lessons from their conversations. He figures out how to to
I did enjoy this book. Not in the way that carried me away and made me feel like it was my favorite.
I liked it more in a subtle way that completely distracted me from reality and made me realize that even though the book itself was relatively simple, it still spoke.
Steve Clark
Nov 13, 2011 Steve Clark rated it liked it
I probably could be talked into giving this four stars, but I'm tired of giving almost everything I read except the really exceptional works four stars. After all, I really liked this better than "Stoner & Spaz" by the same author. A quick read and I'd say about 80% on the mark with its depictions of contemporary teen life, with 20% sounding more like cliched observations of media cliches. The protaganist has a somewhat extraordinary ability to speak with animals that is interesting, but I'm ...more
Possibly one of the best animal books I've read. The main character, an orphan or a human stray, finds himself and more despite the loss of everything he knows. This is a short simple book that gets to the heart of the matter. Love this book! (view spoiler) ...more
Jul 31, 2009 Ozimandias rated it it was ok
A short read about a kid whose parents die and has to learn to become an independent person who can rely on others. The book is okay. I guess most of the weighty stuff is left to the reader to figure out. It's more about what is not said, or how to read what is said. The most interesting idea from this book is that the parents who died were not idyllic martyrs that Ted O'Connor has to find some way to live without. Rather, the parents were flawed people who weren't really that good to their son. ...more
Marley Harman
Feb 02, 2016 Marley Harman rated it it was ok
I thought that this book was a pretty easy read, it was short and simple. However, I found it lacked to describe what was happening in each situation. I felt like the book was jumping from one point to the next with very little flow to it, so unless you could follow along extremely well, you felt lost most of the time. Overall, I would not recommend this book as it lacked a lot of traits that I look for in many books.
Hope Baugh
Apr 07, 2009 Hope Baugh rated it it was amazing
A colleague suggested this when I was looking for something to read for our next departmental book discussion. The topic of the discussion was "bromances" - straight guy buddy stories. This book is actually about three guys who all end up in the same foster home and become friends in spite of their differences. But I loved it because it was so much more than a bromance. I loved that it was an "animal lover's story" in which no animals die. And I loved that although the author does a huge amount ...more
Aug 16, 2009 Terry rated it really liked it
Shelves: guy-books, thin-reads
This book was surprising and unexpected in a good way. It could easily have been a predictably dark YA coming of age tale: boy's parents die, foster care isn't good, alcohol, sex, violence, The End. While those elements are here, Koertge handles them with originality. Any kid who loves animals will feel kinship to Ted O'Connor, the orphan in foster care who not only talks to animals, but who hears them talk back. Ultimately, "Strays" is about what tribe we belong to - orphans, outcasts, friend, ...more
Jan 24, 2015 D.b. rated it it was amazing
The first time I've ever used the word heartwarming to describe something
Jan 23, 2009 Patrickdelaney rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: The 'outsiders' among us
Recommended to Patrickdelaney by: Found a rec in a review of his other one, Stoner and Spaz
Yeah, there's an image of a dog on the cover, but that's not representative of the "strays" that Koertge is writing about here. The hero of the story has a pretty chaotic past and, through no fault of his own, he winds up in the foster care system. It's not the usual horror story of foster care, though. The story is more about being different and slowly, tentatively finding a way to preserve that difference without making yourself a target or a complete anti-social weirdo. I really liked the aut ...more
Jan 30, 2014 Jocelyn rated it really liked it
this is a unique book. the characters are all different but honest. I wanna be friends with them:) plus Ted is really sweet. I'm jealous of his relationship with Wanda.
Jun 26, 2015 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quick read, but worth it.
Dec 15, 2015 Patty added it
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Ask Ron Koertge what he brings to the realm of young adult fiction, and the seasoned author responds matter-of-factly. "I write dialogue well, and I'm funny," he says--an assessment few would argue with. "I like iconoclasm and practice it in my fiction. I don't like pretense or hypocrisy. I'm almost always irreverent."

A faculty member for more than 35 years at Pasadena City College, where he has
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