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


4.18  ·  Rating details ·  71 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Sometimes, life becomes unleashed...

Sixteen-year-old Iris Moody has a problem controlling her temper—but then, she has a lot to be angry about. Dead mother. Workaholic father. Dumped by her boyfriend. Failing English.

When a note in Iris’s journal is mistaken as a threat against her English teacher, she finds herself in trouble not only with school authorities but with the
Paperback, 232 pages
Published May 1st 2015 by Ashland Creek Press (first published April 16th 2015)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

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

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Strays, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Strays

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  71 ratings  ·  27 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Strays
Alice-Elizabeth (Prolific Reader Alice)
So, I would like to use this review to let you all know something. Strays had a part of me represented within the story that I had generally never seen before in a book (particularly a YA one) and that is Cynophobia. Cynophobia means fear of dogs and yes, this may be childish but I do have a serious fear of them and have done so for over a decade. We follow a young Californian teen called Iris who has lots of struggles on her plate. Her mum passed away, her dad doesn't care for her or have the t ...more
Susan Barton
Iris Moody is a California high school junior, living with her emotionally distant dad. Things haven’t been easy for Iris. Her mom was killed in a drunk driving accident and her dad’s response to the loss was to rid himself of all traces of his departed wife, while uprooting Iris from her home, friends and school. Iris is dealing with all of these changes the best way she can, which unfortunately includes some violent bursts of anger. When a confrontation with a rigid and unsympathetic English t ...more
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-sent-to-me
The Short of It:

A sweet story with a lot of heart.

The Rest of It:

Iris Moody is sixteen-years-old and angry. Angry over her mother’s death, the fact that her dad doesn’t have time for her and to top it off she’s failing English. It doesn’t seem like things could get much worse, But when an entry in her journal is mistaken for a threat against a teacher, she lands herself a summer of community service. Community service which involves dogs. Of which, she’s been afraid of for as long as she can rem
Anne Martin
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Okay, you can tell me anything, it won't change my mind.
I know fighting dogs are not as sweet as Roman, I understand her father is very, very far from perfect and won't change, I know the author plays with our sentimental side (by making Roman a disabled dog, I am conscious that those tricks should work on 15 year old and not on adults. I do realize the group gathered for the summer with dog camp is totally unrealistic and such a band of nice kids, no violence, no drugs, etc.
Stephanie Fitzgerald
A beautiful story of a troubled teen girl, who is very dogphobic, and an abused rescue dog learning to trust each other in a training program.
Memorable Quotes:
“The walls of the gymnasium felt as though they were closing in on me.The whole world was closing in on me.”(pg.35)
“If I believed animals could emote like humans, I could have sworn Roman was actually smiling at me.”(pg.209)
Literary Classics Book Awards & Reviews
Iris Moody is tired of acting as though everything is fine in her world; because in reality, it's just not. Her mom died in a tragic accident and her dad has moved her away from everything familiar. Her father has his own way of dealing with the loss of his wife as he focuses all his time and attention on work, chasing after a big promotion. Her girlfriends at school never seem to have anything real to say, and while they are patient with Iris, they're beginning to grow tired of her aloofness.

Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Iris has had a rough life. Her Mom was killed in a car accident and her Dad decides to move to another city where Iris has to start in a new school with no friends. Her Dad is working a lot because he is hoping for a promotion so he is spending less time with Iris. She has her moods where she wants to be left alone and watch her favorite TV shows. She is frustrated and writes in a journal daily which got her in trouble at school when before a test she wrote about a teacher she doesn't like. She ...more
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
** I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway. **

This was a lovely story showing the importance of second chances, both for humans and for four-legged people. The interaction between the main character and her 3-legged charge, an abused dog with serious trust issues is wonderful and watching the two of them learn to interact with and trust others was a beautiful thing. I would have liked to see more of Roman (the pit bull the main character is charged with training) but the
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
To atone for various misdeeds and some felonies, the heroine is sentenced to do community service, which in her case turned out to be dog training. Not only does she have to overcome her fear of dogs but she has to learn to control her anger as it is her anger that has gotten her in trouble with the Law. Instead of punching on people, she uses a hammer to mash down her clothes closet; one way to do it. It is the developing relation with Roman, the three-legged stray dog that she must bring to a ...more
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
This book was recommended as a monthly selection for a Goodreads Book Club group. I really enjoyed it! It was emotionally intense, but with a satisfying depth to the emotions. There were no easy, tear-jerking cries. It was very well-done. I also was pleasantly surprised to find discussion of literature and literary theory. I would suggest this book for adults or for young adults. Perhaps a mature 8th Grade student would enjoy it, but I really seeing it geared more toward High School or even a fu ...more
Rachel Bea
I'm not crying... no, I'm totally crying.

What a wonderful, moving, and relatable story. If you love dogs, it's a must read.

I've been blogging this book on my site, and so I've been reading it chapter by chapter quite slowly. I decided to finish the book all at once today during Dewey's 24 hour readathon. The chapters I read during the readathon will be discussed on my blog over the next week. I will also be publishing a more detailed review on my blog, a link which will be added to my review onc
Stephanie Naomi
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This story follows a teen who has just lost a parent and moved to a new city with her father- a very moving story about a girl who finds herself after a great loss through losing herself in the love of an "unloveable" stray dog. Left me weeping at the end! beautiful! ...more
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. Predictably cute YA novel with teen issues thrown in in the setting of dogs. Think: who rescues who?
mad mags
May 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Team Roman

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic copy of this book for review through Library Thing's Early Reviewers program.)

"I wondered if the dogs were thinking the same thing about us – that we were all a bunch of strays."

"[E]tched on the inside of the collar, where no one else could see, were the words I am loved."

Sixteen-year-old Iris Moody is what you might call a "troubled" kid. After her mother was killed by a drunk driver, her father beat a hasty retreat from Los Angeles, pack
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
As an adult reading a book that is clearly for younger readers, I wasn't expecting to enjoy this story in the same way a young teen would. I was surprised to find myself caught up in it right away. The storytelling was compelling and the plot was not at all as juvenile as I expected. Of course, it is a serious subject matter, so it should be dealt with in a fitting way, but this went far beyond what I anticipated as far as storytelling.

The main character is going through a struggle in her life,
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Santa Cruz, California

Iris Moody is a sixteen-year-old that has trouble controlling her temper. With the death of her mother, a father that is a workaholic, failing English and being dumped by her boyfriend she has a lot in her life to be angry about.

Then a single note that Iris made in her journal is taken as a threat against her English teacher Iris quickly finds herself in a lot of trouble not just with the school authorities but now with the law.

Iris not only has to deal with summer school
After her mother dies, 16-year-old Iris is forced to grieve by herself when her workaholic father moves the two of them from LA to Santa Cruz, away from friends and familiarity. Like many teens, Iris uses words to vent her frustrations. Instead of journaling, however, she makes lists. When a teacher who is on her list of People I Want To Kill finds the notebook, Iris accidentally shoves the teacher while trying to get her notebook back. Though the list was just Iris venting, and the shove was un ...more
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Strays is an emotionally moving story about Iris Moody, a teen having all sorts of problems, from failing Junior English to depression after her mother’s death and father’s decision to move to a new, smaller city, and her interaction with a stray, three-legged Pit Bull, as damaged and hurting as much as she is. At first, Iris is not happy to be volunteering at Ruff Rehabilitation as her court mandated community service sentence because, unknown to her lawyer who snags the spot for her, Iris is d ...more
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Strays is a book about a sixteen-year-old human girl named Iris who doesn’t know how to handle her emotions. Her mom passed away, and her dad is not around much because he is working all the time to deal with the loss of his wife. Needless to say, she has had a very rough time. Her way of dealing with her problems is to get upset and mad which has led to her getting into BIG trouble at her school and with the police. For example, she sort of threatened her English teacher, which the school didn’
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dogs
Strays is an engrossing YA novel about a teen with anger issues after the death of her mom who has to take summer school and do community service in a shelter dog training program. Even though she's a nature channel junkie, she is terrified of dogs, so it's horrifying when she's assigned a tripod pit bull. Will she learn to care for and ultimately save the dog? Though this is ostensibly the focus, there is a lot of the book that happens out of the dog training sessions. Interesting setting: Sant ...more
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a great read! I'm really not a "dog person." so I wondered if this book would capture my attention, but it absolutely did. The characters really draw you in, even the dog characters! When we first meet Iris, she's really withdrawn and suffering. We get to look inside her head as she goes through her days in high school and at home with her dad. We being to understand who she is and why she's such having a hard time. And then she makes a small, almost inconsequential mistake that puts her fu ...more
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a heart warming read. It was about a teenage girl named Iris and her journey of discovering herself.She has a lot of anger and pent up resentment. She is assigned to a dog training program as part of her therapy. Iris gets paired with a 3 legged pit bull, who is also misunderstood and gets a bad rep. Parts of the story were a little unrealistic, but sometimes you just need to read a book where things fall into place.
I am a school librarian, and I think my High School kids could really
Shelby Ann
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it
A wonderful read that will help you realize the positive outcomes of each tough situation. The problems of Iris Moody becomes your own experience as you immerse yourself in this beautiful book. A great view on the problems that affect everyone's life at sometime. This book also supplies an outlook on the harsh reality of animal abuse and will have you running to the nearest animal shelter to help our furry friends! I would highly suggest this book to any animal lover or anyone who is stuck in a ...more
Sandy Harris
Oct 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
In Jennifer Caloyeras’s YA novel, STRAYS, high school age Iris has a lot on her plate -– her mother’s death, her father’s distant nature, school and legal troubles. While the plot is predictable, it is an interesting read as Iris comes to grips with her issues with the help of Roman, the troubled dog she has to rehabilitate.
Carpe Librum Bookstore and Art Gallery
Get free shipping with promo code Stan Lee at checkout.
Steve King
rated it liked it
Apr 11, 2020
rated it really liked it
Sep 21, 2015
John Brannock
rated it liked it
May 09, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Mar 04, 2018
rated it really liked it
Feb 08, 2016
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Noel Letters
  • The Mistletoe Secret
  • The Mistletoe Inn
  • The Christmas Town (Christmas Hope #8)
  • The Christmas Table (Christmas Hope, #10)
  • The Christmas Secret (Christmas Hope, #5)
  • The Christmas List
  • The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires
  • No Angel (The Spoils of Time, #1)
  • The Book of Lost Names
  • Sold on a Monday
  • Last Argument of Kings (The First Law, #3)
  • One of Us Is Next (One of Us Is Lying, #2)
  • The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1-5)
  • Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2)
  • Oliver Twist
  • Snow Crash
  • The November Girl
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Jennifer Caloyeras is a novelist and short fiction writer living in Los Angeles. She holds a M.A. in English Literature from California State University Los Angeles and an M.F.A. In Creative Writing through the University of British Columbia.

She is the author of the short fiction collection, UNRULY CREATURES (October 2017) and two young adult novels, most recently, STRAYS (2015). Her short storie

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
39 likes · 2 comments