The esteemed guru of YA services scores again in his latest YA novel, CHASING TAIL LIGHTS. The narrative timeline is as jagged as the life Christy leads. One brother is in jail, another is dealing drugs. Mom is passed out drunk most of the time. Somehow Christy has managed to cling to some semblance of sanity. She cooks and cleans and takes care of her niece, Bree. When she can get away, she and her friend Anne and they dream of finding a way out of Flint and out of their lives. But can Christy truly escape?
Patrick once again captures the harsh reality of the lives of teens. Here are their hopes and dreams, generally unrealized because they do not have any PLAN or any way to make a plan work. They need to find and learn to trust others, not an easy feat when those they should be able to trust constantly seem to betray them or, even worse, ignore their pain. Patrick allows his characters to face the terrible but never without HOPE reminiscent of the late Robert Cormier whose uncompromising novels forced us all to take a look at the monsters among us and learn true courage from those rare individuals who can rally against evil and somehow triumph. No happy endings but always hope.