Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Strays” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.33  ·  Rating Details ·  344 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
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-city high school full of delinquents. He’s having pretty much the worst year of his miserable life. Or so he thinks. Is it possible that becoming ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published May 8th 2007 by Candlewick Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 28, 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
Alec Pennings
Sep 29, 2016 Alec Pennings rated it really liked it
The strays is a well paced book and it's not too short but not too long at the same time. The character depth that the author went in was so well made and overall really unique. Strays was a unique book for me to read and I enjoyed it. The author really put the book together well but a little confusing at some points.
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 14, 2017 Blake added it
The book "Strays" by Ron Koertge is a good book that is about the struggles of C.W's life and how he over came them. The book starts off with C.W going to a foster home after losing his parents in a car crash. He soon is adopted and tries to make ends meet with his new family. Things that I enjoyed about this book is how it wasn't a hard and I was able to comprehend most of the book without any troubles. I also liked how the story was set up to where there's always something to continue reading ...more
Riley Conway
Sep 13, 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
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
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
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
Mar 02, 2015 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
Feb 26, 2009 Tracy rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 05, 2010 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
Ashley W.
Mar 31, 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Jan 22, 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
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
Feb 04, 2008 Lisa rated it liked it
This is a snapshot of a slice of life for Teddy, who grows into a real human boy after his parents are killed and he is thrust into foster care. He is fortunate to be in a mostly positive situation with two boys who are understanding and take him under their wing. I liked the characters and their development as well as the animal connection. The main character was rather stable with the other characters having worse living situations even though some of them still had parents. It's all relative.
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
Courtney Johnson
Jan 28, 2016 Courtney Johnson rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marley Harman
Jan 05, 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.
jenna nims
Dec 15, 2007 jenna nims rated it it was ok
interesting dialogue in this book, a bit quirky and i think thats why i kept reading, but i did think that more would happen... the book kind of leads you to believe this i think, also the story line - an orphan moves in to his new foster home with 2 other foster kids and he's unpopular in school and he can communicate with animals - with this story line you would think more would happen than it did. oh well - still an ok story.
Jan 24, 2016 Lynda rated it liked it
An MLA award winner.
This was about Ted, whose parents die in a auto accident and he is sent to foster care.
His parents ran a pet store and he is good with animals - in that he can talk to them. This helps him as he begins to develop friendships with his foster family and others and eventually comes to terms with his loss and his past life.
I liked it. It was a short read and the characters were believable and mostly likeable.
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.
Yvonne Powderly
Jun 24, 2009 Yvonne Powderly rated it liked it
Although the plot line is simple (boy finds acceptance/self-confidence)and the story is complicated, readers will enjoy the wit and hope filled account of a lost boy finding himself.
Recently orphaned Ted is placed in a foster home. The Rafters have two other foster children. Ted, who relates more to animals (he speaks to them and they speak back) slowly becomes more communicative. Nice quick read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Bone by Bone by Bone
  • Beige
  • Baby
  • I.D.
  • Dead High Yearbook
  • Converting Kate
  • Blood Brothers
  • How It Happened in Peach Hill
  • Quaking
  • Mistik Lake
  • Daughter of Winter
  • Claiming Georgia Tate
  • Buried
  • Diamonds in the Shadow
  • Touching Snow
  • What They Found: Love on 145th Street
  • All That's Missing
  • Spacer and Rat
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
More about Ron Koertge...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“I don’t know where I am.” 0 likes
“Summer school’s a drag.” 0 likes
More quotes…