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The Prince of Venice Beach

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3.49  ·  Rating details ·  881 ratings  ·  161 reviews
Robert "'Cali" Callahan is a teen runaway, living on the streets of Venice Beach, California. He's got a pretty sweet life: a treehouse to sleep in, a gang of surf bros, a regular basketball game...even a girl who's maybe-sorta interested in him.

What he doesn't have is a plan.

All that changes when a local cop recommends Cali to a private investigator who is looking for a m
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Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
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Renae
This is not a good book. This is a very, very terrible book. I honestly really hate it. Not only is it poorly written and unrealistic, it’s horrifyingly sexist. I don’t know who thought publishing The Prince of Venice Beach was a good idea, but I honestly question their judgment. This book was just awful, with not a single redeeming quality.

First off, let’s just discuss our main character, Cali, and his situation. He’s 17, and he ran away from his foster home in Nebraska to come to LA when he wa
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Jody
Aug 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
Being a homeless runaway teen is super fun! You get to surf and play basketball all day! And live in a treehouse! And even stuff that seems bad (like getting robbed) is really pretty ok! You will totally start a career as a private investigator! And then go surf!
Saleh MoonWalker
رابرت (کالی) کالاهان نبراسکا رو ترک تا بیاد توی سواحل وینز زندگی کنه. تقریبا بی خانمانه و توی ماشینش زندگی میکنه و توی یه خونه درختی میخوابه. از اونجا که بقیه میشناسنش، بهش اعتماد هم دارن. دوست داره که کارش رو به عنوان کارآگاه خصوصی ادامه بده، و برای مردم تحقیقاتی انجام میده هرچند از خودش میپرسه که آیا اینکار باعث نابودی زندگی بقیه میشه یا نه. متن کانسپت جالبی داره اما نویسنده واقعا شانس اینو داشت که مسائل مهمی رو دقیق تر بررسی کنه. فرار نوجوان ها، اعتیاد، خودکشی و غیره اما خب یه نوجوان به جاش ط ...more
Lynette
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was a good read. I liked how the main character, Robert aka Cali, developed throughout the novel. I also enjoyed meeting his friends Jojo, Diego, Jax, Ailis, and Strawberry. The only character that bothered me was Reese Abernathy, the runaway whom Cali falls for. I wish her character was better developed. After reading the novel, I understand why Cali was given the nickname "The Prince of Venice Beach." Like a prince in shining armor, or in this case, like a prince riding a s ...more
Kelly
Super enjoyable, fast-paced story about a "boy detective." It's not really about that but it is. Features a street teen who isn't in high school but chooses to go back to school for a GED.
This one is along the lines of Paranoid Park, more than it is, say, Recovery Road. Great appeal for reluctant readers.
Susane Colasanti
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Blake Nelson does it again with another spectacular literary adventure. The Prince of Venice Beach is a poignant, beautiful book about living life on your own terms and thinking outside the box. Like all of Blake Nelson's books, I absolutely adored this story.
Emily (Falling for YA)
Jan 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
Robert “Cali” Callahan ran away from the foster system in Nebraska and has cut out a life for himself in Venice Beach, California. He has a pretty sweet set up, a treehouse to live in, friends, and above average basketball skills. When a private investigator asks Cali to help find missing people, who are presumed to be in Venice, his sweet set up gets a little better funded. The problem is people that go to Venice don’t want to be found.

I loved the setting of this story. I’ve always liked Venic
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Nicole Perry
Jun 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-lit
This is one of the first books that came in my book box subscription. It is not one that I would have picked up on my own (which was the point of getting the subscription). I would not say that it is one of my favorites, but it's not too bad. The story kept me interested, and the characters are likable. This is a quick "mild" YA read. The story is nearly all dialogue and action without a whole lot of long descriptive passages, which speeds the story along. The language and content are very acces ...more
Alexa Hamilton
Jun 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teenbooks
Cali, a homeless kid in Venice, CA, turns out to have dreams of being a private investigator and it turns out he's good at it. An interesting portrayal of the homeless lifestyle. Does't make it sound glamorous though Cali's life is not rough all the time but he is stuck. Because Cali has a stable situation, we're able to see a broader picture of life for the many different people you've seen or heard about living on the streets in southern CA.
Lama El-Najdi
Jul 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book had the chance to touch on so many problems: Homeless youth, suicide, mental disorders, domestic abuse, stereotypes, bad parenting and violence, however the author disregarded all these problems mentioned within the book. Such an awful book. The diction is awful, the plot is cliche and boring, the characters have no character, and serve the wellness of the protagonist.
Denise
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book was just "ok" for me. I couldn't connect with any of the characters at all and the writing style was more a recitation of events than any true character building. As someone who has actually been a homeless teen, there just wasn't enough depth in the story to make me rate this book any higher. The idea and plot were good - but we had this whole gritty world and interesting main character and we got nothing about him.
Barbara
Robert (Cali) Callahan left Nebraska far behind him a couple of years ago and now lives in Venice Beach, California. While he is practically homeless, he is better off than most teens on the local streets. After all, he has a tree house where he sleeps, and because he knows the streets and its inhabitants pretty well, others trust him. Plus, Cali has ambitions of making something of himself once he is a little older. In Jay Gatsbyesque style, he makes lists of things he needs to do in order to i ...more
emma
Mar 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, 2014
(this review was published in School Library Journal on 4/13/14)

Robert 'Cali' Callahan, a 'rad' teenage runaway, knows everyone in Venice beach. Because of this, he becomes the go-to guy for private investigators searching the area. Cali succeeds- until he's hired to find a gorgeous teenage girl and he realizes he doesn't know who to trust.



This was alright! Very fun and interesting, with vibrant characters. Really crazy towards the end!

The characters! Loved the characters! They were vibrant and
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Taylor Ball
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
I started this book when I was in Santa Monica, California. It was interesting to be reading a book about the area I was visiting. The book had an interesting concept but the actual story was rather disappointing. The plot was slow. The characters were not dynamic and instead rather stereotypical. I was also disappointed with the narrative. The book was narrated by Cali, a homeless runaway teen, but it didn't have much personality. There were feeble attempts to give the book a bit of voice, but ...more
Rebecca Roi
Meh. The Prince of Venice is a novel that didn't really leave me feeling a lot of anything. It's not a bad book, it just didn't really hook me in any special way. I also found I felt some unresolve after finishing the novel. The last two chapters have a sudden twist in the plot and I don't feel that the aftermath of the situation was thoroughly handled. It was a life altering event for the main character and we need to see him deal with the consequences and involve as a character and human being ...more
Nick R
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book since I go to venice beach a lot and it is easy to see all the the things this book talked about. The book was spot-on with the description of Venice beach, California. The main character, Cali, was a great guy, and fit the role of a private detective in a way you would never imagine. My favorite character was actually Jojo, and my favorite scene was when Jojo gave away his fresh pair of $240 Jordans to another guy for a pair of spongebob shoes. This book was a really gr ...more
Avery
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
The ending of this was so unexpected I never thought she was lying. But overall, I liked this book. It wasn't very exciting or fast paced, but it was still good.
Jennifer
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult-teen
Read for review.
Savannah
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
“He finds people who don’t want to be found.” The Prince of Venice Beach was a great book, and I would give it 3 out of 5 stars. I would give it this because it has lots of action, emotion, and hard decisions that have to be made. When it talks about Cali’s life as a runaway it makes it seem like everything’s always fun, and you never have any problems. This isn’t very realistic, but it does make a very good story. It is also interesting, and surprising to see how the main character, Cali, turns ...more
Mandy
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Considering that I got it for $1 at the Dollar Tree, it wasn’t all that bad. Is it really well written and all the fancy stuff you would expect from some highly acclaimed book? No. But it was a light read that at least kept me interested. Life on the streets is tough, but he’s lucky enough to have a shelter to sleep in and friends that try to take care of each other no matter what (aren’t those what’s really important?). Certainly not a waste of money in my opinion. I wouldn’t have spent the lis ...more
Sarah Bonhage
Dec 04, 2018 rated it liked it
This book showed an interesting twist on what many people tend to overlook- homeless teenagers. Cali, the main character goes into the private investagator buisness, and I believe he is the best person for the job, since no one ever expects Cali to have that job. There are various parts to the job that was seen through Blake Nelson's writing. I think the author showed an interesting twist and creative idea in his writing. I would reccommend this book to those who like a straight plot, not many t ...more
Celeste_pewter
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Two-second recap:

In The Prince of Venice Beach, Blake Nelson crafts an elegantly written teenaged noir story that will have readers wishing they too were also living on the streets of Venice, exploring with Cali and his friends.

***
Intro:
Confession time: I was initially drawn to The Prince of Venice Beach because the cover and the setting intrigued me.

However, once I began reading, I realized that Blake Nelson - a writer I had actually been unfamiliar with - had crafted an intriguing, thoug
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Joanna Dean
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another Dollar Tree book, and I liked it alot. It's sort of YA (which I like), but I don't believe that's intentional, just that most of the characters are teenagers. The main character is very likable; I'd red more about him if I could. His friends are also interesting characters, and they're all completely believable. The twist at the end was excellent, and I wasn't expecting a twist at all. I recommend this book.
Allison B.
Mar 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a pretty good book. The ending was surprising for sure. Did not see that coming! A homeless kid basically wants to become a private investigator. His name has spread around, and he is hired for some jobs. He doesn't ask what for, or why, he just does the job for money. The ending of it kind of drags on, but otherwise a decent book.
Evan
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
What start's with a story line that is both unique and intriguing, it slowly turns into what would seem more like a rough copy than anything. The characters are cool and fun, but for me, the writing just wasn't up to parr to make this a book I would recommend.
Alex Lin
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shelley
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really good storyine. Would love to see it become a series, especially since it would appeal to ages 12 and up.
Stephanie
Sep 16, 2017 rated it liked it
The ending was rushed
CALEB HARTMAN
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It was a book that I could relate to.
Sonali
Oct 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Prince of Venice Beach left me wanting more and more. Written by critically acclaimed author of Recovery Road, Girl, and Paranoid Park, Blake Nelson is a pro when it comes to young fiction adults novels. Tackling more mature topics such as sex, death, and addiction, he has proved to be a favorite among late teens. The Prince of Venice Beach is aimed towards a relaxed lifestyle when centered around teen Robert “Cali” Callahan who is homeless teen runaway and spends his days roaming the crowde ...more
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Blake Nelson grew up in Portland, Oregon. He began his career writing short humor pieces for Details Magazine.

His first novel GIRL was originally serialized in SASSY magazine and was made into a film staring Selma Blaire and Portia De Rossi.

His novel PARANOID PARK won the prestigious International Grinzane Literary Award and was made into a film by Gus Van Sant.

His most recent Young Adult novel
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