Ashland Creek Press (2015) - Available Now!
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 law.
In addition to summer school, dog-phobic Iris is sentenced to an entire summer of community service, rehabilitating troubled dogs. Iris believes she is nothing like Roman, the three-legged pit bull who is struggling to overcome his own dark past, not to mention the other humans in the program. But when Roman's life is on the line, Iris learns that counting on the help of others may be the only way to save him.
"Strays tells what happens when two wandering creatures find one another, overcoming their fears to make friends and rise above their dark reputations...Young adults who want a story of more than an animal rescue or a sixteen-year-old's angst will find Strays a compelling saga."
"In this novel, Jennifer Caloyeras reminds us that healing can be found in the most unexpected places. STRAYS will find its way into your heart."
- Gayle Brandeis, author of The Book of Live Wires
“Stray offers readers a winning portrait of Iris, a teen confronting a summer weighted with counseling sessions, re-taking the English course she failed, and compulsory community service training a pit bull. Jennifer Caloyeras deftly weaves strands that explore not only anger management and dog training but fear and loss—and fairy tales!”
- Glen Huser, author of The Runaway
"More than a coming-of-age story, STRAYS captures the essence of a young woman's struggle to stay balanced and sane when her entire world has toppled and none of the landmarks remain true. Drawing beautiful (and unexpected) comparisons with the dark side of fairy tales, Jennifer Caloyeras weaves a compelling story that remains emotionally honest throughout. I couldn't put it down. A "must-read!"
- Davida Wills Hurwin, author of Freaks and Revelations
"...a source of comfort for angry teens."
- Kirkus Reviews
"...an engaging book about a journey of self-discovery that should inspire readers of all ages"
"Strays is a quietly moving story about starting over, and the powerful bond that can form between animals and humans. Caloyeras’ prose is instantly captivating, and readers will feel for Iris’s agony and her pain. Iris is a multi-faceted character — as are the others we are introduced to throughout the story. These fully-realized individuals — both people and dogs — who populate the story are what really bring Strays to life."
- Novel Novice (read the full review here)
"Strays is so much more than a story about a young, angry girl who learns to trust others and accept their help. It’s about grief, compassion, understanding and forgiveness....Strays touched my heart and I would be willing to bet it will do the same for most people who read it."
- Susan Barton, eBook Review Gal (read the full review here)
"... the reader can see the human-animal bond grow and enjoy Iris’s growth and turning points as well…a well-written story and a very enjoyable read."
- Dianne Rich, Seattle pi (read the full review here)
"This is a sweet story about a girl and a dog and how hard it is to let go of the past in order to get on with the future. It’s a story about trust, redemption and acceptance [...] Readers young and old will appreciate this one.
- Book Chatter (read the full review here)
"...the author did a great job capturing the human animal bond and this would be a great book to share with the young adults in your life."
- Preston Speaks (read the full review here)
"Over the course of the book, Iris comes to terms with her mother’s death, learns how to reconnect with her father (thanks to court-appointed therapy), realizes that the quiet troublemaking boy in her new high school isn’t as much of a loser as her friends made him out to be and learns that facing your problems head-on is always better than ignoring them. I really enjoyed reading Straysand look forward to more novels by Jennifer Caloyeras."
- Leigh-Ann Brodber at The Young Folks (read the full review here)
"I wholeheartedly recommend this book. Caloyeras captures the angst and discomfort of teenage years, especially for kids who have had a rough childhood. And she weaves into the story some very real dogs, each of whom has come from a punishing life. They are all strays of sorts. And there is hope for all of them."
- Robin Lamont at The Hen House (read the full review here)
"Strays is a coming of age story that is as original as it is revealing with a heroine who is highly relatable. Author Jennifer Caloyeras' depiction of a young girl's struggles to find a way to move beyond her angst is a refreshingly honest tale which will appeal to readers of all ages. Caloyeras' comfortable writing style makes reading this book feel a bit like curling up with a fuzzy blanket. - This book is highly recommended and has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval."
- Literary Classics (read the full review here)